Australian Fifty Cents
In 1966, a round, silver fifty cent coin was issued showing a young profile of Queen Elizabeth designed by Arnold Machin. Between 1969 and 1984, the same portrait was used on 12 sided (dodecagonal) copper-nickel issues. In 1985, this was replaced by a new effigy with a more pronounced crown, designed by Raphael Maklouf. A mature portrait of the Queen, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, was introduced in 1999.
Notes:See the Australian Decimal Coinage article for more information.
The 1966 circular, .800 fine silver Australian 50 cent coin is a one year type. It was replaced with a copper-nickel dodecagonal (12 sided) issue in 1969, no fifty cent coins having been minted in 1967 or 1968. A number of 1966 and 1967 dated patterns exist in both the round and dodecagonal format.
Mint Rolls contain 20 coins. In later years, strong plastic bags containing $200 (400 coins) were more commonly used for transport.
Despite the large mintages, it is estimated that less than a quarter of all copper-nickel fifty cents that have been struck are actually in circulation. For some reason the coin invokes a bower-bird instinct in many Australians, most are hidden away in money boxes, vegemite jars and sock drawers. This means that of all Australia's circulation denominations, the fifty cent is the one least likely to suffer from a shortage of coins in top condition.