100 Years of Kookaburra Trail Coins

24 Aug 2019  Sat

Royal Australian Mint released a square-shaped 1/4oz Silver Proof coin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country’s iconic Kookaburra trail coins. Kookaburra penny designs that were used between 1919 and 1921 are the inspiration behind the new coin’s reverse design that’s created by Stokes & Sons along with Royal Australian Mint. The obverse side depicts Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait design of Queen Elizabeth II. The 7.087 grams .999 pure Silver coin has a diameter of 22 millimetres and a mintage limit of 3,000 Sets. They have a face value of 25 cents (AUD) and are considered to be Australian legal tender coins. Each coin is encased along with a certificate of authenticity.

The Australian government had decided to replace old bronze pennies and halfpennies with new coins in 1919. The idea was to introduce a lighter coin with designs that would symbolise Australian identity. As many as 13 trial versions were produced by the Royal Mint from 1919 to 1921. All of them were square in shape and featured a kookaburra on the reverse side. These were minted in new alloys such as nickel, copper, and tin. 200 such coins were produced but none were accepted. Some didn’t like the small size while others were having difficulty in processing them through vending machines that were calibrated to read round coins exclusively. Apart from that, people were hesitant to accept any kind of a change in those days and the alloys were costly as well. Production stopped as soon as the treasurer resigned in 1921. Kookaburra trial pieces are extremely rare and have a very impressive market value today.

Image Courtesy: Royal Australian Mint

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