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Australian Pre-Decimal Proofs

1960 Melbourne Mint

Florin, Shilling, Sixpence, Threepence.

The collector proofs were released as part of a 4 coin set running from 3d up to 2/-. 1960 was the year Melbourne Mint changed from the greaseproof paper to a 4 section sealed plastic packaging for their proof sets, unfortunately very few survive today
Unlike modern times, each mint was reponsible for selling their own proof coins, thus explaining the difference in mintage figures for each year.
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.