1930s KGVI Aussie florins

Australia Florin KGVI 1939 KM# 40

There were only two Australian florins with the KGVI obverse which made it into general circulation, the 1938 and the 1939 (pictured above in PCGS AU 53 which is equivalent to aEF).


The mintage of the later coin ended up being much reduced – I don’t know the exact details, but it’s safe to say that came about as a result of the Second World War kicking off, which would have put silver on the strategic asset list. Accordingly, what silver Australia possessed was likely earmarked for, say, industrial use vital to the war effort and the usual quantities were not made available for currency.

Unlike Great Britain which had devalued its coins in 1920 by dropping the precious metal content to a measly 500 fine Ag, people in the Great Southern Land still dealt in 92.5% fine, meaning more of the white metal was required to produce dot amount of florins – so that could have been another factor. [It was only after WWII ended that the Aussie politicians fell for the temptation of diluting the worth of everyone’s hard earned when, in 1946, the first step on the road to today’s cupro-nickel tokens was taken.]

Anyway… the 1939 florin is a well known ‘harder to get’ date – its book value is in the thousands in the highest grades and it is arguably hard to beat as the ‘collector preferred’ type set representative for 1938-1945.

Interestingly, the ’38 florin compares well when you look at mintages for that period (1938-45). It actually has the second lowest production numbers and half of the number three, which is the US made 1942s (6MM mintage). Given that it’s also the first of the series, you might think it would be worth a reasonable premium over the war year coins, yet its catalogue value is not really all that much higher, just a little bit.

Is there anything in that? I have no idea, and anyone chasing these KGVI florins does need to bear in mind what happened with the 1945, apparently churned out in large quantities – but that’s a tale for another time.

Happy Collecting!

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