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Australian Shillings

1946 Australian Silver Shilling

.500 Silver

1946 was the first year for the new 50% silver shillings. Many experiments were carried out to find a alloy suitable for coinage by the Royal Mint in the 1920's when they finally settled on the quaternary alloy, known as Q-metal, it is only natural that Australia adopted this 20 years later. Since the coins had a much higher copper content the coins (blanks) were pickled in a light acid solution to provide a thin layer of silver in order to provide the same look as the old alloy. When this layer wears off through circulation the rather unattractive yellowish alloy is exposed.
In order to compensate for the lighter metals used in the new alloy the coins are minutely thicker.


Collectors should consider acquiring most of the King George VI series in Choice Uncirculated or better coins, these are still affordable with the greatest possible upside.
The George VI obverse is very difficult to grade, the rounded features, lower relief and the large variation to the degree in which this design is struck all add up to quite a challenge.
When looking at the Thomas Paget obverse the points to look at are:
  • The definition in the King's hair,
  • The King's cheek,
  • The top of the ear and at the top of the brow
  • Overall lustre, the fields, denticles and rim condition,
  • A weak strike shows in lack of definition of the hair, eye, mouth and nose.


Composition: .500 silver
.400 copper
.050 zinc
.050 nickel
Silver Content: 0.0908 oz
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 5.65 grams
Size: 23.5 mm
Obverse: Thomas H Paget
Reverse: George Kruger Gray