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Australian Pre-Decimal Proofs

1957 Melbourne Mint

Florin, Shilling, Sixpence, Threepence.

The collector proofs were released as part of a 4 coin set running from 3d up to 2/-. They are extremely difficult to obtain in a fully brilliant condition as most of these have toned as the sets were sold loose to collectors , wrapped only in cellophane allowing eager collectors to handle them.
In 1957 the Melbourne Mint had a lot of unsold and broken sets still in stock and officials at the mint were considering abandoning the series altogether when a dealer, Ray Jewell, promised to buy all unsold stock at the end of each year. This was enough to convince the mint to continue. In the following years the series gathered momentum as reflected in the increased mintages.

Some of the general pointers to look for to distinguish Melbourne proofs from the normal circulation strikes are:
  • The fields are flat with little of the light detraction caused by the normal rolled unpolished planchet for circulation strikes.
  • The rim is sharp and flat, with a definite right angle on the edge, - the Melbourne mint proofs often have a rim extrusion
  • The rim is sharp and flat, with a definite right angle on the edge, the circulation strikes are slightly rounded.
  • Examine the rim carefully as some Melbourne mint silver was struck with chrome plated dies so that they have reflective fields and can be confused with proofs, the circulation strikes are slightly rounded and often the extrusion is not all the way around.
  • The detail of the Queen's hair is always well struck and clearly defined.
  • The beads around the obverse are almost always perfect.