Information about mint: Melbourne Mint

Melbourne Mint (1872 - 1970)

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.

Coins struck by: Melbourne Mint (346)
CountryYearNameMintageMint Mark
United Kingdom 1872 Sovereign 1872 Shield 16,049,708 Letter M
United Kingdom 1872 Sovereign 1872 St George 16,049,708 Letter M
United Kingdom 1873 Sovereign 1873 St George 4,598,215 Letter M
United Kingdom 1873 Half Sovereign 1873 2,092,084 Letter M
United Kingdom 1874 Sovereign 1874 Shield 1,893,713 Letter M
United Kingdom 1874 Sovereign 1874 St George 3,792,713 Letter M
United Kingdom 1875 Sovereign 1875 St George 4,010,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1876 Sovereign 1876 St George 7,055,866 Letter M
United Kingdom 1877 Sovereign 1877 St George 1,487,002 Letter M
United Kingdom 1877 Half Sovereign 1877 2,337,482 Letter M
United Kingdom 1878 Sovereign 1878 St George 3,262,275 Letter M
United Kingdom 1879 Sovereign 1879 St George 4,126,013 Letter M
United Kingdom 1880 Sovereign 1880 Shield 4,511,800 Letter M
United Kingdom 1880 Sovereign 1880 St George 8,161,880 Letter M
United Kingdom 1881 Sovereign 1881 Shield 3,684,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1881 Sovereign 1881 St George 3,684,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1881 Half Sovereign 1881 104,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1882 Sovereign 1882 Shield 3,764,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1882 Sovereign 1882 St George 3,764,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1882 Half Sovereign 1882 158,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1883 Sovereign 1883 Shield 1,535,450 Letter M
United Kingdom 1883 Sovereign 1883 St George 3,158,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1884 Sovereign 1884 Shield 4,537,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1884 Sovereign 1884 St George 6,306,635 Letter M
United Kingdom 1884 Half Sovereign 1884 1,181,756 Letter M
United Kingdom 1885 Sovereign 1885 Shield 4,442,500 Letter M
United Kingdom 1885 Sovereign 1885 St George 5,160,223 Letter M
United Kingdom 1885 Half Sovereign 1885 4,479,871 Letter M
United Kingdom 1886 Sovereign 1886 Shield 4,568,500 Letter M
United Kingdom 1886 Sovereign 1886 St George 4,568,500 Letter M
United Kingdom 1886 Half Sovereign 1886 120,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1887 Sovereign 1887 Shield 2,915,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1887 Sovereign 1887 St George, Jubilee head 3,054,077 Letter M
United Kingdom 1887 Sovereign 1887 St George, Young head 2,915,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1887 Half Sovereign 1887 Young head 198,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1887 Half Sovereign 1887 Jubilee head 1,070,567 Letter M
United Kingdom 1888 Sovereign 1888 7,294,424 Letter M
United Kingdom 1888 Half Sovereign 1888 (Proof only) unknown Letter M
United Kingdom 1889 Sovereign 1889 13,251,455 Letter M
United Kingdom 1889 Half Sovereign 1889 64,000 Letter M
United Kingdom 1890 Sovereign 1890 11,811,424 Letter M
United Kingdom 1890 Half Sovereign 1890 2,266,023 Letter M
United Kingdom 1891 Sovereign 1891 11,675,068 Letter M
United Kingdom 1891 Half Sovereign 1891 1,233,286 Letter M
United Kingdom 1892 Sovereign 1892 13,430,470 Letter M
United Kingdom 1892 Half Sovereign 1892 13,680,486 Letter M
United Kingdom 1893 Sovereign 1893 Veiled head 10,159,433 Letter M
United Kingdom 1893 Sovereign 1893 Jubilee head 3,147,352 Letter M
United Kingdom 1893 Half Sovereign 1893 Shield 4,536,649 Letter M
United Kingdom 1893 Half Sovereign 1893 St George 4,677,398 Letter M
United Kingdom 1894 Sovereign 1894 11,016,485 Letter M
United Kingdom 1894 Half Sovereign 1894 3,794,591 Letter M
United Kingdom 1895 Sovereign 1895 9,209,186 Letter M
United Kingdom 1895 Half Sovereign 1895 2,869,183 Letter M
United Kingdom 1896 Sovereign 1896 10,334,997 Letter M
United Kingdom 1896 Half Sovereign 1896 3,165,551 Letter M
United Kingdom 1897 Sovereign 1897 7,662,565 Letter M
United Kingdom 1897 Half Sovereign 1897 3,798,156 Letter M
United Kingdom 1898 Sovereign 1898 12,418,485 Letter M
United Kingdom 1898 Half Sovereign 1898 2,878,527 Letter M
United Kingdom 1899 Sovereign 1899 17,045,127 Letter M
United Kingdom 1899 Half Sovereign 1899 3,459,103 Letter M
United Kingdom 1900 Sovereign 1900 20,604,734 Letter M
United Kingdom 1900 Half Sovereign 1900 4,799,668 Letter M
United Kingdom 1901 Sovereign 1901 11,467,982 Letter M
United Kingdom 1901 Half Sovereign 1901 2,037,664 Letter M
United Kingdom 1902 Sovereign 1902 16,122,198 Letter M
United Kingdom 1903 Sovereign 1903 19,891,190 Letter M
United Kingdom 1904 Sovereign 1904 21,278,022 Letter M
United Kingdom 1905 Sovereign 1905 17,198,434 Letter M
United Kingdom 1906 Sovereign 1906 21,746,651 Letter M
United Kingdom 1906 Half Sovereign 1906 4,635,482 Letter M
United Kingdom 1907 Sovereign 1907 29,302,643 Letter M
United Kingdom 1907 Half Sovereign 1907 4,233,421 Letter M
United Kingdom 1908 Sovereign 1908 21,702,207 Letter M
United Kingdom 1908 Half Sovereign 1908 4,964,622 Letter M
United Kingdom 1909 Sovereign 1909 21,784,151 Letter M
United Kingdom 1909 Half Sovereign 1909 4,240,831 Letter M
United Kingdom 1910 Sovereign 1910 32,287,808 Letter M
United Kingdom 1911 Sovereign 1911 40,048,431 Letter M
United Kingdom 1912 Sovereign 1912 39,292,322 Letter M
United Kingdom 1913 Sovereign 1913 33,750,854 Letter M
United Kingdom 1914 Sovereign 1914 20,118,033 Letter M
United Kingdom 1915 Sovereign 1915 27,652,715 Letter M
United Kingdom 1915 Half Sovereign 1915 3,196,630 Letter M
Australia 1916 Florin 1916 2,752,025 Letter M
Australia 1916 Shilling 1916 5,141,025 Letter M
Australia 1916 Sixpence 1916 1,769,025 Letter M
Australia 1916 Threepence 1916 1,913,525 Letter M
United Kingdom 1916 Sovereign 1916 8,171,636 Letter M
Australia 1917 Florin 1917 4,305,000 Letter M
Australia 1917 Shilling 1917 5,274,000 Letter M
Australia 1917 Sixpence 1917 1,632,000 Letter M
Australia 1917 Threepence 1917 3,808,500 Letter M
United Kingdom 1917 Sovereign 1917 7,741,314 Letter M
Australia 1918 Florin 1918 2,095,000 Letter M
Australia 1918 Shilling 1918 3,761,000 Letter M
Australia 1918 Sixpence 1918 915,000 Letter M
Australia 1918 Threepence 1918 3,119,500 Letter M
United Kingdom 1918 Sovereign 1918 13,900,265 Letter M
Showing 1 to 100 of 346 coins.
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Melbourne Mint: Details
From Year1872
To Year1970
CountryAustralia
LocationMelbourne, VIictoria
Mint Marks used by: 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.