The Australian Round Fifty Cent Silver Coins are a bit of an anomaly when it comes to the coins of the Commonwealth of Australia. They were first introduced in 1966 alongside several other coins that made their debut that year as part of the decimalization of the Australian currency, but were rather short-lived in their production.
In fact, only 1966-dated Round Fifty Cent Silver Coins were minted, although some of those coins were actually struck in 1967 (but dated 1966). Each was struck from 80% silver and 20% copper with a diameter of 31.51 millimeters and a total weight of 13.28 grams. The silver content of the strike came in at 0.3416 ounces.
Australian Round Fifty Cent Silver Coin History
The history of the Australian Round Fifty Cent Silver Coin really dates back to the founding of the colonies of Australia. At that time, no official currency existed so the colonies used the currencies of other countries to conduct commerce transactions. That changed in 1825 when British currency was adopted as the official currency of the region.
More changes occurred after the federation of the colonies in 1901 as the new federal government was given the power to mint its own coins. The government started doing exactly that in 1910 (although production of the new Australian coins was actually completed overseas). These new coins were based on the Australian Pound fixed to the British Pound.
Then, in 1966, Australia adopted the Australian Dollar as its official currency and along with that, several denominations of coinage. Following the principle of a decimal currency, one of those new coins was the Australian Round Fifty Cent Silver Coin struck at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.
As the name of the strike indicates, the new coin was round in nature, featured a face value of fifty cents and was struck from a silver composition. The new fifty cent silver coins were not widely accepted, however, and their production was stopped. They were replaced a few years later by a dodecagonal 50 cent coin which was struck from a copper-nickel composition.
The obverse of the Round Fifty Cent Silver Coin contains the Arnold Machin effigy of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Obverse inscriptions include "ELIZABETH II," "AUSTRALIA" and 1966.
Shown on the reverse of the strike is a design by Stuart Devlin. It is a version of the Australian Coat of Arms and contained the face value of the coin "50."