Counterfeit Australian 1928 Shilling

posted in: Numismatics | 0

At the NSSA meeting held on 16 July 2015 a member showed the above counterfeit 1928 shilling.

This 1928 shilling is actually a forgery. The type was imported in large numbers by three Chinese merchants into Sydney in the early 1930’s. It was die struck and minted from good silver that was at least or sometimes better than Sterling. The coins were imported by ship and then exchanged with low denomination notes for larger denomination notes at various banks around NSW. They were only discovered because the tally of silver shillings in banks exceeded the amount that should have been present given coin mintages at the time. The counterfeiters were discovered through some excellent detective work carried out in Sydney that involved Frank Fahy, Australia’s first official undercover policeman and subject of the book “The Shadow” by Vince Kelly. The three Chinese were deported in short order. The actual location where the coins were minted was never discovered but it is suspected that they came from Swatow in Kwangtung Province in China. This same city was well known at the time for producing excellent forgeries of other silver coins such as US quarters, Dutch ½ guilders and French francs.

The coins can be identified by the spur on the back leg of the emu and the poor representation of the grass at the base of the coat of arms. The coins may also be upset by about 10 degrees but it’s hard to say as we’ve only ever seen two.