An Aussie ugly duckling!

Australia Crown KGVI 1938

For collectors of large sterling silver coins the field is very limited when it comes to the Australian Commonwealth. It only produced crowns in two years – 1937 and 1938.

‘Nice’ design ?

Personally I’m not really a fan of the design chosen for the reverse, somehow it falls a bit flat when I compare it with the contemporary UK crown and next to other similar sized stuff like a US Morgan dollar or Spanish piece of eight it seems, well, a bit bland. Those 18th century eight reales without a royal portrait are just beautiful.

But that’s just me – what I mean is, as a late comer to the game, it’s not like the Aussie designers had a lack of things to look at when considering what to do – maybe they were influenced by whatever inspired the English to go for the stripped down form follows function ‘Art Deco’ feel on their 1935 effort, aka the “Rocking Horse Crown”;… and ‘yes’ that’s ugly, too – but let me get back on track here…


Fairly recently the R&D department came up trumps by publishing pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about 1938 crowns in an article in ‘Coin & Banknote Magazine’. Here is the reference: “The Australian 1937 and 1938 Crowns, from treasured coronation mementoes to “Casey’s Cartwheels” by A Crettin, in ‘The Australian Coin & Banknote Magazine’, Vol 22 #1, Feb 2019.

This informative article goes into why, despite the 1937 version being loved by virtually everyone, practically no-one went for the 1938 at the time, resulting in very low release numbers and the series being discontinued, or if you like, rejected in its infancy.

Those involved back then must have been disappointed with that reception, but I reckon they would be pleased to know that with the passage of time, the 1938 has matured into a significant Australian coin – worth a pretty penny, especially in the higher grades.

If you’re lucky enough to be sitting on an ‘Uncirculated’ one, it could be worth as much as AUD 1,000 and even though the value will cycle up and down a bit, there’s every reason to believe that in the future the price will only get higher.

Happy collecting!

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