Coin Curiosity

Exploring and Researching Old and New Coins of the British Commonwealth

Australian Low and High Echidna 5c 1972 - 1973

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The Australian 5c piece echidna reverse design has changed a number of times since 1966. The first change was part-way through 1972 when the echidna was positioned higher on the coin part-way through production of 1972 5c pieces. The easiest way to spot the difference is to look at the gap between the bottom of the echidna and rim of the coin. The reason for the change is not known but a suggestion is that the original master die had become unusable so a new master was produced (Andrews,

Low echidna reverse
Low echidna reverse
High echidna reverse
High echidna reverse

Among 1972 5c pieces the original low echidna design is less common than the new high echidna design according to both a survey by Andrews (p50, Andrews, A Survey of Australian Five Cent Die Varieties in Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine, October 2016) and the author's own limited research. On circulating coins the use of both reverses appears to be restricted to 1972, but proof 1973 5c pieces have been sighted with the original low echidna design as well.

Survey of circulating variety break-downs
YearLow (Andrews)High (Andrews)Low (author)High (author)

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