Australian coins

Australian coins refers to the coins which are or were in use as Australian currency. During the early days of the colonies that formed Australia, foreign currency was used, but in 1910, a decade after federation, Australian coins were introduced. Australia used pounds, shillings and pence until 1966, when it adopted the decimal system with the Australian dollar divided into 100 cents. With the exception of the first Proclamation Coinage and the holey dollars, all Australian coins remain legal tender despite being withdrawn from circulation.


Before 1966 Australia used pounds, shillings and pence. The principal currency unit was the pound (£) which was divided into twenty shillings each comprising 12 pence.

For many years after the first Australian colony, New South Wales, was founded in 1788, it did not have its own currency and had to rely on the coins of other countries. During the early days of the colony, commodities such as wheat were sometimes used as a currency because of the shortage of coins.

Spanish dollars were sometimes cut into "pieces of eight", quarters, and then into 2/3 and 1/3 segments, with the 2/3 segments (1/6 of original coin) being "shillings" and the 1/3 segments (1/12 of original coin) "sixpences". In 1791 Governor Phillip of New South Wales fixed the value of the Spanish dollar to equal five shillings.

Federation in 1901 gave the Commonwealth a constitutional power to issue coins and removed this power from the States. British coins continued in use until 1910, when Australian silver coins were introduced. These included florins, shillings, sixpences and threepences. They had a portrait of King Edward VII on one side. Australian pennies and half-pennies were introduced into circulation the following year. In 1931 gold sovereigns stopped being minted in Australia. A crown or five-shilling coin was minted in 1937 and 1938.

The Australian dollar replaced the Australian pound on 14 February 1966 as part of the decimalisation process. At this time, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins were issued. $1 coins were first issued in 1984, and $2 coins soon followed in 1988. The one-cent and two-cent coins were discontinued in 1990 and withdrawn from circulation in February 1992.


Australian Crowns, halfcrowns, florins, shillings sixpences, silver threepences were all minted in sterling silver. Pennies, halfpence, farthings were minted in bronze. On the eBay for sale listings in addition to the above you will also find Australian Gold Sovereigns, and the older Australian silver coins, Victorian, Edwardian and George V Australian coins.

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