Own Any Australian Coins? They Could Be Worth up to $1.3 Million

Coins close-up.

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Because the first British settlement in Australia was a penal colony, there wasn’t much need for coins or currency. As The Perth Mint noted in a blog, authorities envisioned a “self-sufficient settlement” where convicts worked for free and everyone (including jailers) got food and supplies from the government store. Australia eventually adopted its own currency, and now some of its rare coins can make you very rich.

Australian currency was originally based on British pounds, shillings and pence. That changed in 1966, when the country converted to Australian dollars and cents, similar to the U.S. system. The majority of Australia’s most valuable coins were minted before the change.

Rare (and Valuable) Australian Coins

Here’s a look at six coins that fetch the highest prices on the collectibles market, according to the CoinValueLookup site.

  • 1930 Proof Penny: Only six of these proof coins were struck at the Melbourne Mint, and three are in museums, which means the three others are highly valued by collectors. One sold at auction in 2009 for an estimated $2 million Australian, which equals about $1.3 million U.S. dollars.
  • 1852 Type 1 Adelaide Pound: These pounds were the first Australian gold coins, which makes them very attractive to collectors and dealers. The 1852 Type 1 version is even more valuable because of a flaw in the die that created a crack in the coin. One version sold for the equivalent of $410,000 USD in 2021.
  • 1813 Holey Dollar: Here’s another old coin that ranks as one of the first to be used in Australia, back when British settlers still used it as a penal colony. In 2022, a version sold for the equivalent of about $360,000 USD.
  • 1923 Proof Halfpenny: Only about 15,000 halfpennies were struck for circulation at the Melbourne Mint in 1923, down from well more than 1 million the previous year. The rarity of this coin has pushed its value to more than $340,000 USD.
  • 1920 Square Penny Type 9: The Type 9 version of this coin was unusual because of some of its details as well as the quality of the strike, which was much better than other 1920 specimens. One version sold for $135,000 AUS ($88,000 USD) in 2018.
  • 1813 15-Pence “Dump Struckwith D/2 dies: These coins were made from the silver cut out of the middle of Spanish dollars and became known as “Dumps.” The D/2 dies account for about 20% of the coin’s minted population. The most valuable versions can fetch about $115,000 USD.

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