Numismatic Item of Interest
This numismatic item of interest is a one penny coin from New Guinea.
With an area of 815 000 km2,
The first coins struck for the mandated Territory were small quantities of cupro‑nickel pennies and halfpennies, both dated 1929. Larger quantities of bronze pennies were struck in 1936, 1938 and 1944. Cupro‑nickel theepences (1935 and 1944), sixpences (1935 and 1943) and silver shillings (1935, 1936, 1938, and 1945) were also struck. All of these coins have a hole through the centre for the practical reason that the majority of the people who would use these coins did not have pockets or purses to put them in; instead they would string them onto a cord and wear them around their neck.
Because of the hole in the coins, they do
not have a portrait of the ruling British monarch; instead they have either his
name and titles in Latin (on the 1929 coins and all the shillings) or their abbreviation
(on the rest of the coins). The first
coins were struck during the reign of King George V and the last ones
during the reign of King George VI.
In between these two reigns was that of King Edward VIII who
reigned for only 10½ months during 1936.
The coin shown above is one of only a few coins that were issued in his
name (others were issued by British West Africa, East Africa,
The obverse of the 1936 penny depicts a
native ornament either side of the hole, with a crown above and the cypher E R I below. These initials stand for Edwardvs
Rex Imperator Latin for Edward King Emperor.
The reverse depicts another native design with the English legend
This bronze coin was designed by
George Kruger Gray (whose initials (KG) are on both the obverse and
reverse) and was struck by the
Prior to the issue of these coins,
Australian coins had been used in the Territory. After World War II, Australian
coins were again used until independence in 1975 when the new nation of