"Coins make ideal collectibles. They are robust and permanent..."

This 164-page book with quality photographs reveals the diversity of collecting Australian coins. The country’s history itself divides official coinage into colony, pre-decimal, and decimal. There are also various mints—Royal Australian Mint (RAM) in Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney with production dates. For those unfamiliar with coin collecting, the author explains the correct terms for heads (obverse) and tails (reverse). He points out that coins of the British Empire always have an image of royalty on the obverse side. Any events or series are commemorated on the reverse, and if someone notices that a royal’s head looks left or right, this signifies the line of succession. Queen Elizabeth looks right, while George V, her father, looked left. Various coin designers are sought after. There are also mint marks, privy marks, and counterstamps to search out. Coins circulated or in mint condition can define a collection. The book makes clear the enormity of possible collection categories.

With tongue-in-cheek, Miller addresses an audience of avid coin collectors guilty of “wanting to have them all.” The author started collecting as a child and clearly remains passionate about his coins. He hopes his book will attract more people to the hobby of numismatics: collecting of coins, paper money, and medals, especially Australian. He recommends that, as in any hobby, one should start small. One needs a good magnifying glass, an album or coin cases for storage, and the listings at the end of this book. Hobbyists should also be wary of leaving fingerprint marks on mint coins and have a pair of gloves for careful handling. This book is organized in a series of short topics, quickly referenced, rather than the typical book layout with dense chapters. Helpful resources are a glossary, photographs, and two appendices with comprehensive guides and lists. The Australian-specific list of coins is, alone, worth the price of the book.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home