1938 Melbourne Proof Penny PCGS PR63RB
Obverse: Bust of George VI to left, legend around
Reverse: Kangaroo to right, date; denomination and legend around
This historic and rare Australian penny has wonderful colour across the obverse.
The pending coronation of King Edward VIII, scheduled for May 12th 1937, was deemed to be a perfect opportunity to also revise the reverse designs.
Although Australia's national coinage was popularly-received when it was first introduced across 1910 and 1911, opinion within official and numismatic circles had shifted considerably across the 3 decades that had passed since then.
A few of the more prominent quotes on the designs on Australia's circulating coins from this period were:
"The design of the Australian coinage is not one of which Australians should feel proud" - Commonwealth Treasurer Richard Casey
"...the reverse side of the penny and halfpenny was 'frightful,' and the coat-of-arms on the other coins was out-of-date." - South Australian numismatist James Hunt Deacon
"...inartistic, poorly-drawn, and inaccurate representation of the Australian Coat-of-Arms..." - Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint, Ernest Clucas
"Australia has the worst collection of stamps, coins, and notes in the world..." - Director of the National Gallery, James MacDonald
Reading the above, we can see that by the time King Edward VII's coronation was scheduled, there was a clear appetite for a comprehensive review of the designs seen on our circulating coinage.
Warm Reception for the Revised Designs
When the new designs were each unveiled in turn, the reception could not have been better. The Deputy Master of the Melbourne Mint stated "...he would not be surprised if the public does not like the new coins at first..." but was "...confident that once they have learned to look at them they will approve."
The Mintage Figure for the Proof Penny
In his research into Australia's pre-decimal proof coins, published in the Numismatic Association of Australia Journal (Volume 5, page 21), John Sharples stated that each of the proof coins was sold individually (as opposed to being in a complete set of 6). The mintage limit for each of the 1938 proof coins was 100. Of the 100 proof pennies struck for 1938, only 80 are recorded as having been sold.
As the article on the right-hand side shows, the 1938 proof pennies were struck on Saturday, February 5th at the Melbourne Mint.
The PCGS designation of PR 63RB for this coin confirms that it has been certified by them as being a genuine proof, one with original surfaces. Our images unfortunately don't do the surfaces of this coin justice - it retains a lot of mirroring across the obverse.
Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.
PCGS Certificate Number: 2229921
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