Kookaburra Patterns centenary - Royal Australian Mint celebrates the coins that were never actually issued

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27 August 2019
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The centenary of one of Australia's most distinctive and unusual coins - which was never actually released - is to be marked with the release of a Fine Proof Silver set from Royal Australian Mint.

The 25c Fine Silver Proof Set remembers the Kookaburra coins, valued for their distinctive designs and rarity.

In 1919, Australia's government, championed by the Treasurer, proposed exchanging the country's old bronze pennies and halfpennies with new coins that would be lighter and more uniquely Australian in their design.

Between 1919 and 1921 13 designs were trialled, each based on a square shape and bearing a reverse image of a kookaburra.

The coins that were never released

New alloys were used for the trial pieces, using metals such as nickel, copper and tin. Although 200 of the trial pieces were produced, the coins never actually reached circulation. The small size of the coin was unpopular with some, whilst the square shape would have proved a headache for use in vending machines.

Thanks to their rarity and unique design, the remaining kookaburra trial pieces are highly collectable. 

The new coins

The new coins are Australian legal tender and feature reverse designs inspired by the Kookaburra pennies. The obverse features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.

For more information, visit the Mint's website.

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(image copyright Royal Australian Mint)