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Although no official square pattern Crowns for Australia exist, a number of square Pennies and Halfpennies were produced during the reign of George V. This and the following lots have modern designs which were inspired by those of the smaller denominations.
Some time after the First World War the Australian government considered a revolutionary proposal to replace the existing large round Pennies and Halfpennies with smaller square coins. It was determined that were only two presses in Australia suitable for the job, and these were both at the Melbourne Mint. Several private persons and companies submitted designs and sketches, including some from the Royal Mint in London, and by the end of 1918 the Australian Commonwealth Treasury had forwarded various sketches of the proposed square coins to the Melbourne Mint. All featured the kookaburra.
Among those submitting designs were Stokes and Sons of Melbourne, Douglas Richardson and Bertram MacKennal. Officials from the Melbourne Mint formally applied to the Colonial Office in England for permission to use an uncrowned portrait of King George V on the new square coins and they were informed that the king had personally approved the request. Both crowned and uncrowned portraits of the king were furnished, and the two types of effigy featured on the patterns. At least twelve designs were produced, ten of which were for pennies. Dies made at the Melbourne Mint were made from plaster casts produced by Richardson, and the Royal Mint despatched some dies from London to Melbourne.
The original patterns were struck in small numbers between 1919 and 1921, and supplied to bankers, political figures, vending machine manufacturers, and some members of the public. The reaction to the 'new' coins was not favourable. Many thought that they were too small, others did not like the kookaburra design. And they seemed inappropriate for use in vending machines. The idea seemed to lose favour with the Treasury and with the public, and a change of government in Australia sealed its fate.
The adoption of a square Crown was never discussed, but it is interesting with modern hindsight to consider the possibility that a larger square coin with a slightly more adventurous reverse design may have received a more favourable response than the small Pennies and Halfpennies.