Coins of the Australian dollar were introduced on 14 February 1966, although they did not at that time include a one-dollar coin. The dollar was equivalent in value to 10 shillings in the former currency (half of a pound).

Regular coinageEdit

The circular 1966 50 cent coin. Produced by the Royal Australian Mint, all current coins portray Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, like most other English-conquered regions, with the present effigy having been designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. This is matched with designs by the Australian-born artist Stuart Devlin on the reverse. They now comprise 50¢, 20¢, 10¢ and 5¢ coins – all still referred to as 'silver' though actually 75% copper and 25% nickel, and for many years there were also "bronze" 2¢ and 1¢ coins.

The 50¢ coin originally had a circular shape, and contained 80% silver and 20% copper, so that the material of the coin was worth more than 50¢. It was made to almost identical dimensional specifications as the British 2'6 pence half crown. However, to avoid confusion among the round coins, and because of its excess value, it was only produced for one year then withdrawn from circulation; there were no 50 cent coins minted for 1967 or 1968. It was changed to a 12-sided shape for 1969 and all following years, but the 12 sided issue was minted as a specimen piece in 1966-67 to test the design. It has since been issued in both standard and commemorative designs.

The standard designs on both versions of the coin are the same: the obverse carries the effigy of the sovereign, and the reverse shows the Coat of Arms of Australia. The dodecagonal version has a mass of 15.55 g and a diameter of 31.5 mm, and the round silver version has a mass of 13.28 g and diameter of 31.5 mm. 94.13 Australian 1966 round 50¢ coins make up a fine kilogram of silver.

Many Australians mistakenly believe that the 1966 round 50¢ piece is quite rare, when in fact Royal Australian Mint records indicate that some 36 million examples were struck, and 14 million were released into circulation. Nearly all the Australian round 50-cent coins from 1966 that remain in existence are now only traded for their bullion value. They are often confused with the round 50¢ coin from New Zealand with the date 1967-2006, which has a maritime scene on the reverse.

"Gold" two-dollar and one-dollar coins were introduced in the 1980s. The one-dollar coin was introduced in 1984, to replace the banknote of the same value. The two-dollar coin, also replacing a banknote, was introduced in 1988. These have content of 2% nickel, 6% aluminium and 92% copper. Thus, all Australian coins in use currently are composed of more than half copper. The two-dollar coin is smaller than the one-dollar coin, but the two-dollar is slightly thicker

The one- and two-cent coins were discontinued in 1991 due to the metal exceeding face value and withdrawn from circulation.

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