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Australian Fifty Cent Coins

1969 50c


In December 1968, the then Federal Treasurer, (Later Sir) William McMahon announced an replacement for the silver half-dollar, stating that the new half-dollar would be 12 sided and be cupro-nickel, it was hoped the new shape would help overcome confusion between it and the 20c coin.
Within numismatic circles the announcement to continue with the Coat of Arms reverse was met with disappointment, they had hoped the new shape would bring a new design more in line with the Fauna theme depicted on the other denominations, claiming that the coins in their role as mini Ambassadors to the world the Coat of Arms would not be instantly recognizable, claiming instead that a large "Australia" would be all that was needed on our coins to identify it.
There was still pressure to abandon the "half-dollar" altogether and strike $1 coins, but the government pressed on regardless.

1969 Australian 50c
Image Courtesy of Downies-Australian Coin Auctions

The Currency Act 1965 was amended on 8 April 1969, by Act No 4 of 1969 to vary the standard composition of the 50 cent coin from 80% fine silver to to copper nickel.
Statutory Rules 1969 No 137 were promulgated on 2 September 1969 to prescribe the new shape of the 50c coin and an amended Schedule of Specifications.
It was not until October 1969 that the new coin began to be released into circulation.

Nominal Specifications

Denomination: 50 cents
Metal: 75% Copper
25% Nickel
Mass: 15.55 grams
Diameter: 31.50 mm
Reverse: Stuart Devlin
Obverse: Arnold Machin