…and all day long, you’ll have good luck!
The other day I was browsing through a local collectable shop and I found something quite special!
These are two bronze half pennies, dated 1883 and 1889. They have the young head of Queen Victoria on one side, with the inscription “VICTORIA D:G: BRITT:REG:F:D:”. The other side has a picture of Brittania with the inscription, “HALF PENNY”, and the year they were minted.
A quick search on the internet confirmed that there is nothing really rare about these coins, yet whilst they may be relatively easy to find in Britain or America, finding them in my local store in Australia surprised me!
These coins are older than the Australian nation, which came into being in 1901, with Federation. Australia did not begin making its own coinage, under The Commonwealth of Australia, until 1910.
Prior to this, British coinage (gold sovereigns and half sovereigns) were made in the first Australian mint in Sydney during the gold rush era in the 1850’s. So, these two coins were minted in Britain, and must have travelled here somehow… maybe in the pocket of a free settler… or an immigrant… or any number of ways.
These coins could have arrived in this country at any time, really. Even last week, in the luggage of a collector coming home from an overseas trip! Even so, I still find it amazing to think about the number of hands these coins have had reason to pass through during that time. And the amount of history they may have seen through the passage of the last 130 years!
I am not the owner of an extensive number of antiques or collectable items. I only own a few oldish books and some china passed down to me by my great-grandparents, but these little coins are a welcome addition to my meagre collection.
What is your favourite antique item in your collection?
The Language of the Fan – another item in my collection.
Sources and Relevant Links
British Half Penny Coinage in the reign of Queen Victoria