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Australia’s Dollar Coin Marks 30th Anniversary
By Kerry Rodgers, World Coin News
February 03, 2014

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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In May 1984 Australia replaced its dollar note with an aluminum-bronze coin. The reverse design by Stuart Devlin featured a group of kangaroos.

Australians tend to be somewhat offhand and irreverent of their government and its activities. It was just a matter of time before the coin was dubbed the “Mob of ’Roos,” shortened to MoR in catalogs.

To mark the coin’s 30th anniversary the Royal Australian Mint has titivated the dollars that appear in its 2014 collectors’ BU and proof sets.

For the first time, an Aussie dollar has been struck in cupronickel. It is featured in the proof set with three of the Mob of ’Roos selectively gilded.

The BU coin comes partially colorized. Three of the kangaroos are grey-brown and the words “1 DOLLAR” are in green. Buying the sets appears to be the only way of getting either coin.

Since its introduction the dollar coin has been a favorite collector’s piece Down Under. Starting in 1986 the reverse design has been used to mark many Australian commemorations. There are now some five dozen of the celebratory pieces. These include The First Fleet Bicentenary in 1988, the Centenary of Waltzing Matilda in 1995, Women’s Suffrage in 2003, and the President’s Cup - played in Australia in 2011.

But it is Devlin’s Mob of ’Roos that proves the perennial favorite. Collecting just this coin provides challenges as can be seen from its many variations cataloged in the Standard Catalog of World Coins. Some of these varieties are worth noting.

That 1984 dollar (KM#77) is a one year type. It is the only one to have the Arnold Machin effigy of Queen Elizabeth on the obverse. However, 185,985,000 were struck and there is no hassle in picking up a BU example for under $5.

2013 Frilled Neck Lizard Silver Proof
2013 Tuvalu Frilled Neck Lizard Silver Proof

This Remarkable Reptile is displayed in all its glory on a colorized proof silver dollar from the Perth Mint. Mintage is limited, so get yours before they’re gone!

In 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991 the coin was issued in mint sets only (KM#84).

In 1991 the RAM allowed visitors to strike their own dollar using a converted press. It cost $2 to do so. A plastic sachet was supplied to hold the freshly minted coin. Today such 1991-dated items are rare and catalog at $50 each.

The Mob has figured in at least a couple of mules. In 2000 obverse 10-cent dies were used to strike dollars. The result yielded a doubly thick obverse rim. High grade examples will set you back several thousand dollars.

And 2006 coins are known with 2005 obverses. The best known example occurs in some 2006 proof sets that contain 2005-dated dollars.

In 2009 a special Mob of ’Roos dollar was used to mark a significant upgrade in the mint facilities. It appeared with a master mintmark showing another ’roo bounding through the usual “C” mintmark of the Canberra Mint. Some of these dollars carry an additional “C” by way of a counterstamp applied by the RAM’s mobile press. There are some 10,000 of the latter but obtaining one is not easy.

Getting started in this series is straight-forward. Completing it, however, poses a major collecting challenge.

More Coin Collecting Resources:

• Strike it rich with this U.S. coins value pack.

• Collect specialized issues? Get the new Standard Catalog of World Paper Money value pack!

• Build an impressive collection with Coin Collecting 101.


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