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Information about mint: Melbourne Mint

Mint nameMelbourne Mint
LocationMelbourne, VIictoria
CountryAustralia
Dates1872 - 1970
Description

The Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint began operation on 12 June 1872. It was the second branch to be opened in Australia, the Sydney Branch having opened in 1855.

The Melbourne Mint had two main functions: purifying and assaying gold and striking gold coins. A minor function was the production of medals, particularly prize medals such as those awarded by agricultural societies or exhibition authorities.

The Melbourne Mint was financed entirely by the government of the Colony (later State) of Victoria. However, its employees were British civil servants and could, and did, apply for jobs in other branches of the Royal Mint; there was a particularly large movement of staff when the Ottawa branch opened in 1908.

In 1916 the Melbourne Mint was the first Australian mint to undertake production of silver coins for the Australian Commonwealth, in 1919 it began production of bronze coins and in 1964 it was the first Australian mint to strike decimal currency.

All work on Commonwealth of Australia coinage was undertaken by the mint as a contractor to the Treasury. With the opening of the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra in 1965, once the immense task of preparing the first years of decimal coins had been achieved, no further contracts were available, nor was there sufficient call for purifying and assaying gold. By Royal Proclamation the Melbourne Mint ceased to be a Branch of the Royal Mint on 1 July 1970.

The building of the former Royal Mint is located on the corner of William and Latrobe Streets (280-318 William Street and 387-429 Latrobe Street) and is of architectural significance as one of the most impressive 19th century government buildings in Victoria, and one of few Australian buildings in the true Renaissance revival style, and a virtual copy of the Palazzo Vidoni-Caffarelli, attributed to Raphael, in Rome (1515).

The mint was built between 1869 and 1872 to the designs of architect J.J Clark whose other notable works included the Old Treasury Building, Melbourne. It was opened 12 June 1872.

The colourful coat of arms placed on the front gates in mid-twentieth century were by the Melbourne woodcarver Walter Langcake. The original design, based on Queen Victoria's coat of arms, is adapted especially for a British Royal Mint branch office in colonial Victoria. The supporting animals are not crowned and a maned horse replaces the usual unicorn.

A private company, Melbourne Mint Pty Ltd, is the current tenant on the ground level and level one of the Melbourne Mint building. Melbourne Mint Pty Ltd belongs to a group of Australian precious metals companies which include Australian Bullion Company (ABC), Gold Merchants International (GMI) and Universal Coin Co. It has no historical relationship to the original Royal Mint.

The Annual Reports of the Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint were published as appendices to the Royal Mint Annual Reports from 1872 to 1970. The records of the Melbourne Mint are now held by the Public Record Office Victoria.

References:

Alston Pearl, S. (1941). 'Melbourne's Royal Mint', Walkabout, 1 March, 9-12.

Batchelor, Patricia (1977). 'Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint (William-Street)', Australian Numismatist. Vol 31, No.2, 3-4

Kenyon, A.S. (1935). 'The Royal Mint and Its Australian Branches' , Vic. Hist. Mag. May

Ward, E.W. Chrystos (1874). 'The Melbourne Mint' Argus, 5 November 1874.

Webb, L.A. (1958). 'The Victorian Mint', Australian Numismatic Journal (S.A. Numismatic Society), Vol.9, No.3.

Known mint marks of Melbourne Mint:
Letter M

Letter M, located:
- under the monarch's effigy on the obverse of gold Sovereigns of the older St George type
- on the obverse of gold Sovereigns of the St George type: on the ground, below the horse's hoof and above the centre of the date
- under the shield on the reverse of gold Sovereigns of the Shield type (below the wreath but above the rose)
- under the date on Australian silver coins (Florin, Shilling, Sixpence and Threepence)

No mint mark

On some coins, the Melbourne Mint did not have a mint mark.

7 main coin types minted predominantly or exclusively at Melbourne Mint:
Australia / Halfpenny (1911 - 1964) New Guinea, Territory of / Penny (1929 - 1944) New Guinea, Territory of / Half Penny (1929 - 1929) New Guinea, Territory of / Shilling (1935 - 1945)
New Guinea, Territory of / Sixpence (1935 - 1943) New Guinea, Territory of / Threepence (1935 - 1944) Australia / Crown (1937 - 1938)
345 coins minted at Melbourne Mint:
CountryCoinMintageMint mark
United Kingdom Sovereign 1872 Shield 748,000 (748000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1872 St George 748,000 (748000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1873 St George 752,000 (752000) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1873 165,034 (165034) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1874 Shield 1,373,000 (1.4 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1874 St George 1,373,000 (1.4 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1875 St George 1,888,000 (1.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1876 St George 2,124,000 (2.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1877 St George 1,487,000 (1.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1877 140,000 (140000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1878 St George 2,171,000 (2.2 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1879 St George 2,740,000 (2.7 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1880 Shield 3,052,800 (3.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1880 St George 3,052,800 (3.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1881 Shield 2,324,000 (2.3 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1881 St George 2,324,000 (2.3 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1881 42,000 (42000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1882 Shield 2,466,000 (2.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1882 St George 2,466,000 (2.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1882 106,000 (106000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1883 Shield 2,050,000 (2.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1883 St George 2,050,000 (2.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1884 Shield 2,942,000 (2.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1884 St George 2,942,000 (2.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1884 48,000 (48000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1885 Shield 2,956,500 (3.0 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1885 St George 2,956,500 (3.0 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1885 11,000 (11000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1886 Shield 2,901,500 (2.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1886 St George 2,901,500 (2.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1886 38,000 (38000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1887 St George, Young head 1,915,000 (1.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1887 Shield 1,915,000 (1.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1887 St George, Jubilee head 940,000 (940000) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1887 Jubilee head 64,000 (64000) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1887 Young head 64,000 (64000) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1888 2,830,000 (2.8 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1888 (Proof only) unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1889 2,732,000 (2.7 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1889 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1890 2,473,537 (2.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1890 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1891 2,749,592 (2.7 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1891 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1892 3,488,750 (3.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1892 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1893 Jubilee head 1,649,352 (1.6 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1893 Veiled head 1,914,400 (1.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1893 Shield 110,024 (110024) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1893 St George unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1894 4,166,874 (4.2 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1894 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1895 4,165,869 (4.2 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1895 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1896 4,456,932 (4.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1896 218,946 (218946) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1897 5,130,565 (5.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1897 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1898 5,509,138 (5.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1898 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1899 5,579,157 (5.6 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1899 97,221 (97221) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1900 4,305,904 (4.3 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1900 112,920 (112920) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1901 3,987,701 (4.0 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1901 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1902 4,267,157 (4.3 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1903 3,521,780 (3.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1904 3,743,897 (3.7 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1905 3,633,838 (3.6 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1906 3,657,853 (3.7 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1906 82,043 (82043) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1907 3,332,691 (3.3 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1907 unknown Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1908 3,080,148 (3.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1908 405,034 (405034) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1909 3,029,538 (3.0 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1909 186,094 (186094) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1910 3,054,547 (3.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1911 2,851,451 (2.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1912 2,469,257 (2.5 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1913 2,323,180 (2.3 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1914 2,012,029 (2.0 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1915 1,637,839 (1.6 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Half Sovereign 1915 125,664 (125664) Letter M
Australia Florin 1916 2,752,025 (2.8 million) Letter M
Australia Shilling 1916 5,141,025 (5.1 million) Letter M
Australia Sixpence 1916 1,769,025 (1.8 million) Letter M
Australia Threepence 1916 1,913,525 (1.9 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1916 1,272,634 (1.3 million) Letter M
Australia Florin 1917 4,305,000 (4.3 million) Letter M
Australia Shilling 1917 5,274,000 (5.3 million) Letter M
Australia Sixpence 1917 1,632,000 (1.6 million) Letter M
Australia Threepence 1917 3,808,500 (3.8 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1917 934,469 (934469) Letter M
Australia Florin 1918 2,095,000 (2.1 million) Letter M
Australia Shilling 1918 3,761,000 (3.8 million) Letter M
Australia Sixpence 1918 915,000 (915000) Letter M
Australia Threepence 1918 3,119,500 (3.1 million) Letter M
United Kingdom Sovereign 1918 4,969,493 (5.0 million) Letter M
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