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Unofficial Pattern Crown 1936

By CAA    |   Friday, 23 September 2022

Unofficial Pattern Crown 1936

A major change in Australia's coinage followed the death of George V in 1936. It was decided to introduce all new designs for the reverse of the circulating coins with the exception of the sixpence. Originally the new coins were scheduled to coincide with the crowning of Edward VIII. Edward's portrait had been appearing on the watermark of our notes since the Legal Tender issues of 1933, while he was still the Prince of Wales.

A number of countries managed to release issues of Edward VIII in 1936, although Australia had earmarked 1937 to release the all-new coins. Reverse patterns, dated 1937, were prepared but work on the obverse ended abruptly on 11th December, 1936 when the king abdicated. No official coins bearing the portrait of Edward VIII were issued in Australia, although there has been an unofficial crown-sized coin produced especially for collectors since then.

The Australian version of this coin (which was also issued in a number of other countries) shows Edward VIII on the obverse and a squatting kangaroo on the reverse. The portrait on this unofficial coin shows something of the character of Edward VIII in getting his own way - the king is facing left - breaking from the tradition of each new monarch facing a different way. Apparently Edward felt designs of him facing right were not flattering. This objection was the most probable cause of delays for a number of countries which did not issue coins of his reign.

Thomas Humphrey Paget was quickly commissioned to produce the obverse design of Edward's younger brother who was destined to become George VI. A number of uniface pattern coins of 1937 were produced and also a few complete coins showning the new likeness of George VI. These coins are extremely rare and fetch high prices at auction.

Unofficial Pattern Crown 1936

The unofficial pattern Edward VIII 1936 crown was produced in two metals - Nickel-Silver and Gilded (Golden) Bronze.

During 1965, unofficial crown size patterns of Edward VIII were offered for sale in the United Kingdom and the United States. The obverse of these patterns bore the effigy of Edward VIII and were available with four different motifs. These were: Australia - Kangaroo, United Kingdom - St. George and Dragon, Ceylon - Elephant and Bermuda - Sailing ship. All these patterns were dated 1936 and had a plain edge. These would appear to be restrikes of the patterns issued soon after the accession of Edward VIII. Originally they were struck in very limited numbers, but owing to the popularity of crown size pieces, it appears that these have now been re-struck in larger numbers.

In 1996, the Tower Mint in London released a further two unofficial Edward VIII crowns dated 1936. The coins, one struck in Copper-Nickel and the other in Gilding, each have a privy mark date below the bust on the obverse which reads '20.1.36 - 11.12.36' representing the short period of the monarch's reign before abdicating.

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