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Australian Silver Sixpence

Issued From:1910 - 1963

Dates Not Issued:

1913, 1915, 1929, 1930, 1931,

1932, 1933, 1937, 1947, 1949.

The sixpence series seems to second only to the florins in popularity, with the coins being large enough to show good detail but generally are less expensive to acquire in high grade than the florins. The series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII. and was the the only denomination with the reverse to remain unchanged during its 53 years.

From 1910 to 1914 all the coins were struck at the Royal Mint in London and do not carry any distinguishing mint marks. In 1915 both the Royal Mint and the Birmingham Mint at Heaton struck sixpence, the Birmingham coins may be distinguished by the mintmark "H" on the reverse just under the date.
From 1916 to 1920 all issues were struck at the Melbourne Mint and carry a small "M" under the date. From 1921 to 1926 they were struck at both the Melbourne and Sydney mints although there is no distinguishing mint marks. After 1927 all sixpence were struck at Melbourne Mint except during WWII.
In 1942 Melbourne Denver and San Francisco Mints all produced sixpence and are distinguished by a small "S" or "D" just above the date. In 1943 only the US mints produced them and in 1944 only the San Francisco Mint produced sixpence.
There are two types of 1951 sixpence, due to a request to the Royal Mint to help out with a shortage, these where the only English coins in sixpence to have a mintmark, being a small "PL" found over the date. As with most of the 1951 coins struck at London that year, these are generally very well struck coins.
In 1954 the mint started to use steel dies which often gave early strikes the appearance of being a proof coin. This situation is not helped by the crudeness of the proof coins and is often exploited by unscrupulous or ignorant dealers especially on eBay.

Edward VII


The series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII the florin, sixpence and threepence arriving 1st October 1910, nearly five months after King Edward VII died.
Year Mint Mintage
1910 London 3,064,000

George V

1911 - 1936

King Edward VII died on 6th May 1910 and George V assumed the British throne. Australian Sixpence bearing George V's effigy were minted in London, Melbourne and Sydney during the years 1911 to 1936 with the legend:
Year Mint Mintmark Mintage
1911 London 1,000,000
1912 London 1,600,000
1914 London 1,800,000
1916M Melbourne M 1,769,000
1917M Melbourne M 1,632,000
1918M Melbourne M Rare 915,000
1919M Melbourne M 1,512,000
1920M Melbourne M 1,476,000
1921 Melb / Sydney 3,795,000
1922 Melb / Sydney Scarce 1,488,000
1923 Melb / Sydney 1,453,000
1924 Melb / Sydney Scarce 1,038,000
1925 Melb / Sydney 3,266,000
1926 Melb / Sydney 3,609,000
1927 Melbourne 3,952,000
1928 Melbourne 2,721,000
1934 Melbourne 1,024,000
1935 Melbourne 392,000
1936 Melbourne 1,800,000

George VI

1938 - 1952

During World War II, the quality of striking for most coins deteriorated. There were a number of reasons for this. Less care was taken in the preparation of the dies, the dies were used in longer production runs before being replaced, and quality controls were relaxed as more pressing matters of war took precedence.
George VI oversaw many changes to our coinage during his reign,the Arms of Australia which had adorned the reverse of all the silver issues since 1910 had been obsolete since 1912 and was being replaced. Sixpence were the only coins to remain unchanged.
In 1946 the silver content on all Australian coins was reduced from 92.5% to 50% to help in paying back the massive war debt and India became an independent nation in 1947, prompting a change to the legend on the obverse from 1950 onwards.
For the years 1938 to 1948, the obverse legend was:
Year Mint Mintmark Mintage
1938 Melbourne 2,864,000
1939 Melbourne Scarce 1,600,000
1940 Melbourne 1,600,000
1941 Melbourne 2,912,000
1942 Melbourne 8,968,000
1942S San Francisco S 4,000,000
1942D Denver D 12,000,000
1943S San Francisco S 4,000,000
1943D Denver D 8,000,000
1944S San Francisco S 4,000,000
1945 Melbourne 10,096,000
1946 Melbourne First 50% Silver 10,024,000
1948 Melbourne 1,594,000
From 1950 onwards IND IMP was eliminated from the legend, (necessary because India became an independent nation in 1947) and F.D. was expanded to:
1950 Melbourne 10,272,000
1951 Melbourne 13,750,000
1951PL London PL 20,024,000
1952 Melbourne Scarce 2,112,000

Elizabeth II

1953 - 1963

With George VI's death, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1953. The obverse design for subsequent sixpence was by Mary Gillick and depicted Elizabeth II facing to the right. The reverse design introduced in 1938 continued in use until the cessation of minting in 1963. For the years 1953 and 1954, the obverse legend was:
Year Mint Mintage
1953 Melbourne Scarce 1,512,000
1954 Melbourne 7,672,000
The deletion of the religious title F:D: ( Defender of the Faith) caused such controversy that for the years 1955 to 1963, the obverse legend was:
1955 Melbourne 14,248,000
1956 Melbourne 7,904,000
1957 Melbourne 13,752,000
1958 Melbourne 17,944,000
1959 Melbourne 11,728,000
1960 Melbourne 18,592,000
1961 Melbourne 9,152,000
1962 Melbourne 44,816,000
1963 Melbourne 25,056,000