This silver Shilling has some honest wear from circulation. There is wear on King George’s hair & the sheep on the reverse is looking a bit shorn, so I would grade this Fine (F16).
On the obverse, the shilling has a leftward facing bust of George the 6th of England. He is shown bareheaded, and looks quite youthful. The legend reads “GEORGIVS VI : D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP”. The British love their abbreviation, right? Note that some of the letters we would normally use are replaced with others – ie; V instead of U because the Roman alphabet did not have those letters. This stands for George the Sixth, Dei Gratia (by the grace of god), Britanniarum Omnium Rex (King of all the Brittons), Fidei Defensor (defender of the faith), India Imperator (Emperor of India). Credit for the design belongs to Thomas Hugh Paget.
The reverse shows a very warm looking Merino ram, and this coin is often called a Ram Shilling. This particular sheep was named Uadry, and you can apparently buy the sheep station that raised it. The legend on the coin reads “AUSTRALIA – SHILLING 1943” with the mint mark below the ram’s head. The pattern was designed by George Kruger Gray.
Identification code: Australia KM-39
Mint Mark: S (San Francisco)
Mintage: 16,000,000 (so many were made that this is generally traded at bullion value)
Country of origin: United States (minted for an allied power during World War II)
Composition: 92.5% silver
Size: 23.5 mm diameter
Weight: 5.65g (0.1680 oz ASW)
Other details: A LOT of these came back to the United States along with GI’s coming back at the tail end of World War II.
The ram shown was named Uadry and was exhibited by Charles Mills of Hay, in the NSW Riverina District. Uadry was the champion of the under 3 years class and also won the strong wool ram category before being chosen as the grand champion of the 37th Annual Sydney Sheep Show of 1932. The Australian’s apparently take their sheep very seriously.
Estimated Value: $5-7 with silver around $30/oz