South Australia: Coins Issued and Used

Showing only circulating coin types (regular coinage plus circulating commemoratives).

South Australia (1836 - 1901)
Information about what currencies were issued by South Australia, with lists of coinage, as well as periods when foreign-issued currencies were used.
Currency: Pound Sterling (pre-decimal). Used in South Australia: (1836 - 1901)
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
PeriodPound Sterling
Used1836 - 1901
Description

In 1834 the South Australian Association, with the aid of such figures as George Grote, William Molesworth and the Duke of Wellington persuaded British Parliament to pass the South Australia Colonisation Act 1834. The Act stated that 802,511 square kilometres would be allotted to the colony and to be convict-free. The plan for the colony to be the ideal embodiment of the best qualities of British society, that is, no religious discrimination or unemployment. The province and its capital were named prior to settlement.

On 1 January 1901, following a proclamation by Queen Victoria, South Australia ceased to be a self-governing colony and became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Currency: Adelaide Pound. Used in South Australia: (1852 - 1853)
CurrencyAdelaide Pound
PeriodAdelaide Pound
Used1852 - 1853
Description

Due to shortage of coinage, the colony of South Australia was experiencing a financial crisis, with merchants being forced to accept payments in gold dust or nuggets. After intense lobbying on their part, the colonial government decided to act in a way which would ease the cash circulation problem. At that time, colony governors were expressly "prohibited assenting in Her Majesty’s name to any bill affecting the currency of the colony” which meant that establishing a local mint and striking local coins was out of the question. However, a further condition was “unless urgent necessity exists requiring that such be brought into immediate operation”, which allowed the Lieutenant Governor to propose and speedily get approved the Bullion Act, which passed the Legislative Council on 28 January 1852.

The first Act - providing for gold ingots (stamped with their weight by the Adelaide Assay Office) to be used as legal tender was accepted by the Imperial government in London. However, the ingots proved to be impractical so the Act was amended on 23 November 1852 to allow the issue of gold coins (although technically they were actually tokens) valued at £5, £2, £1 and 10 shillings (half pound). Even though all existing coins are dated 1852, most of them (with the exception of only four) were minted in 1853. This second version of the Act was seen to breach the Royal Prerogative for the minting of coins, and the Imperial government duly order the colony to repeal it. Due to slow communications though, it turned out that the colony (having solved the crisis) had already repealed the Act by its own accord when the dispatch from London arrived.

Although the Act had called for several denominations to be issued, in fact only the one pound coins were minted at the time. Dies were prepared for five pound pieces, but not used so no five pound coins were produced. These dies were however preserved, and used by the Melbourne Mint to produce restrikes in 1921. One pound coins are excessively valued today due to their low mintage and to the fact that most of them were melted soon after they entered circulation, when it was found that their bullion value exceeds their face value.