The 1923 Halfpenny, like the 1930 Penny, is a coin shrouded in mystery. Exactly why it is so scarce is difficult to establish, but the fact remains that this copper icon must indeed have been struck in the tiniest of numbers. The key to Australia’s 1911-64 Halfpenny Series, the 1923 Halfpenny is rightly considered to be a great Australian rarity.

Official records of Australian mints, especially during the early days of Australia’s first national currency system, are both frequently confusing and often incomplete. The 1923 Halfpenny is a prime example of this phenomenon, with records showing that 1,113,600 coins were struck in this year. The unquestionable rarity of halfpence dated 1923 undermines the efficacy of this figure, but why is this so? As with the 1930 Penny, it was only at the changeover to decimal currency in the 1960s that people began to recognise the scarcity of this date. Desperately trying to assemble complete collections before Australia’s first national coins disappeared from circulation forever, people found that certain dates were difficult to locate – including the 1923 Halfpenny. Missing from most collections, numismatists began exploring, and speculating upon, possible explanations as to its absence. The most likely explanation for the rarity of the date is difficulties experienced by the Melbourne Mint with its 1923 dies.

Three pairs of dies were created to strike the 1923 Halfpenny following an order for halfpence from the Commonwealth in July of that year. One pair was faulty and was immediately rejected. The other two pairs of dies used by the mint also exhibited faults – as evidenced by the huge percentage of 1923-dated halfpence bearing die-cracks. It is thought that the dies failed early in the piece, and were used to strike only a limited number of coins in fulfilment of the Commonwealth order. The technical inadequacies of the dies also suggest that they would not have been used to strike coins dated 1923 into the next year. For the first time using its own workshop to finalise the dates on dies provided by the Royal Mint, the Melbourne Mint was particularly proud of its 1924 coinage, and would have quickly moved into production of coins of that date.

Although the actual mintage of the 1923 Halfpenny will never be known, most authorities estimate that no more than 15,000 were struck, with significantly less in existence today. Whatever the actual figure, it seems certain that only a tiny percentage of the coins delivered to Treasury by the Melbourne Mint would have carried the date 1923. The rest is history. The rarity of the 1923 Halfpenny has been established by the great difficulty in finding the coin, and the market price has risen inexorably over the years. Valued at around $2,000 in 1989, a 1923 Halfpenny in Extremely Fine is now worth approximately $11,000. Over the same period, an Uncirculated example has soared from $7,500 to approximately $50,000! The 1923 Halfpenny is truly a great Australian rarity.

Sure to be of interest to predecimal and decimal collectors alike, this eye-catching precious metal Proof is – like the original 1923 Halfpenny – to be enjoyed by the privileged few. A mere 999 coins have been struck! With this meagre mintage sure to sell-out at super speed, you must not miss this opportunity. Act now!


SKU 15663
Barcode # 9350659005507
Brand Downies

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