Australia Sixpence: 1938-1952 George VI


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1938-1952
Composition: 0.925 silver, 0.075 copper (1938-45), 0.50 silver (1946-1952) 
Diameter Type: 19.5  mm
Weight: 2.82 grams
0.0839 ounces of silver (1938-45)
0.0453 ounces of silver (1946-52) 
Total Series Mintage: 117,816,000
Obverse Design: Bust Design
Reverse Design: Coat of Arms
Unique Features: Reeded


Most King George VI silver coinage received new reverse designs in addition to a new effigy obverse with the exception of sixpence coinage. The sixpence was the only silver coin to retain the same obverse used on both Edward VII & George V coinage.

Most coins in the series were minted at the Melbourne Mint. But, from 1942 to 1944 some coins were minted by the United States San Francisco & Denver Mints to meet coinage demands of U.S. servicemen based in Australia during Word War II who spent their military pay freely in the Australian markets.

By 1951 Australia was facing another coin shortage and a request was sent to the Royal Mint of London to produce sixpence coinage in addition to what was already being produced by the Melbourne Mint.


The obverse, designed & engraved by T.H. Paget, features the bust of George the VI facing left.  At the bottom of  George's neck are the designer’s initials “HP”. On the outer periphery are the words "GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX F.D. IND : IMP" (latin for "George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India").

The reverse, designed by W.H.J. Blakemore, features the original Australian Coat of Arms (also referred to as the Commonwealth Coat of Arms) based on the design granted by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908. The coat of arms features an emu and kangaroo flanking a shield under a seven pointed star all over a banner with the legend “ADVANCE AUSTRALIA”. On the outer periphery is the denomination “SIXPENCE” and year of issue. Located just below legend “ADVANCE AUSTRALIA” and just above the date is the mint mark “S” (San Francisco), “D” (Denver), or “PL” (London), coins minted in Melbourne did not have a mint mark.

Obverse Reverse
Mint Mark

Major Varities

Over the course of the series there were two major changes that created major varieties. The first change occurred in 1946 when silver content was reduced to 0.0908 ounces of silver.
The second variety occurred when India became an independent country in 1947 which caused a change in the obverse legend in 1951 to remove “IND:IMP”.

Variety 1 – 1938-1945 92.5% Silver
Variety 2 – 1946-1948 50% Silver
Variety 3 - 1950-1952 New Legend

Old Legend New Legend

General Market Notes

Excluding proofs, the key to the series is the 1939 issue and the semi-key is the 1940 issue.

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