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Australian Silver Shillings

Issued From: 1910 - 1963

Dates Not Issued:

1919, 1923,1929, 1930, 1932,

1937, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1951

The Australian Silver Shilling series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII. The shillings arrived in Australia in May 1910 making them the very first Commonwealth coins to be circulated in Australia.
From 1910 to 1915 the series were all minted in London but some of the 1915 issue was sub-contracted to Heaton & Sons of Birmingham. The Birmingham coins can be identified by the mintmark H under the date on the reverse.
By 1916 the Melbourne mint assumed the manufacture of most shillings. Sydney assisted with the minting of shillings from 1922 to 1926 when the Sydney Mint then closed down.
In 1921 shillings were struck in Sydney. These coins have a star above the date but it is not a mintmark. The star was intended to signify a change in silver content but the change never eventuated. The Melbourne mint did strike 1,122,000 shillings in 1921 but they were all dated 1920.
Melbourne took over sole minting of shillings from 1927 to 1941.
As a result of the influx of US servicemen in WWII, Melbourne could not cope with the demand for coinage from the "Over-paid, Over-sexed and Over-here" Americans. So large numbers of shillings for the years 1942, 1943 and 1944 were struck at the San Francisco mint. These shillings carry an 'S' mintmark above the date. The Royal Mint had been broken up to several locations because of the Blitz and as a result was more or less unable to help.
The coins were debased to 50% silver in 1946 and the Perth mint struck some shillings with that date although it was over a period of a few years. These can be identified by a dot before the word SHILLING. This was the only pre-decimal silver coin struck at Perth.
In the shilling series, the scarcest dates are 1915H, 1921 star and 1933.
Well struck-up examples of the dates 1924, 1926 and 1927 are also difficult to find.

Edward VII


The series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII, the new shillings were first to arrive in Australia in March, with the florins, sixpence and threepence arriving 1st October 1910, nearly five months after King Edward VII died.
Year Mint Mintage
1910 London 2,536,000

George V

1911 - 1936

King Edward VII died on 6th May 1910 and George V assumed the British throne. Australian shillings bearing George V's effigy were minted in London, Birmingham, Melbourne and Sydney during the years 1911 to 1936.
Year Mint Mintmark Mintage
1911 London Scarce 1,000,000
1912 London Scarce 1,000,000
1913 London 1,200,000
1914 London Scarce 3,300,000
1915 London Rare 800,000
1915H Birmingham H Rare 500,000
1916M Melbourne M 5,141,000
1917M Melbourne M 5,274,000
1918M Melbourne M 3,761,000
1920 Melbourne 1,642,000
1921* Sydney Star Rare 522,000
1922 Melb / Sydney 2,039,000
1924 Melb / Sydney Scarce 673,000
1925/23 Melb / Sydney Overdate 1,449,000
1926 Melb / Sydney 2,352,000
1927 Melbourne 1,416,000
1928 Melbourne 664,000
1931 Melbourne 1,000,000
1933 Melbourne Rare 220,000
1934 Melbourne 480,000
1935 Melbourne 500,000
1936 Melbourne 1,424,000

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, in 1938 the Coat of Arms was replaced by a ram's head , 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 1937 to 1948, the obverse legend was:
Year Mint Mintmark Mintage
1938 Melbourne 1,484,000
1939 Melbourne Scarce 1,520,000
1940 Melbourne Scarce 780,000
1941 Melbourne 2,500,000
1942 Melbourne 2,920,000
1942S San Francisco S 4,000,000
1943 Melbourne 1,580,000
1943S San Francisco S 16,000,000
1944 Melbourne 14,576,000
1944S San Francisco S 8,000,000
1946 Melbourne 10,072,000
1946 Perth Dot before Shilling Scarce 1,316,000
1948 Melbourne 4,132,000

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 FIDEI DEF
1950 Melbourne 7,188,000
1952 Melbourne 19,644,000

Elizabeth II

1953 - 1963

With George VI's death, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1953. The obverse design for subsequent shillings 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 12,204,000
1954 Melbourne 16,188,000

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 7,492,000
1956 Melbourne 6,064,000
1957 Melbourne 12,668,000
1958 Melbourne 8,132,000
1959 Melbourne 10,156,000
1960 Melbourne 16,408,000
1961 Melbourne 10,104,000
1962 Melbourne 6,592,000
1963 Melbourne 10,072,000