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Fiji Penny, Coins From The Island Colony #1: 1 Penny (Fiji, 1936)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This coin is a 3rd year Fijian Penny (George V), dated 1936. The Fijian penny represented the 2nd smallest denomination coin, of the Fijian Pound. The Fijian Pound was a non-decimal currency, which included coins in the 1/2 Pence, 1 Pence (Penny), 3 Pence, 6 Pence, 1 Shilling, and 1 Florin denominations. A single Fijian Pound was equal to 240 Pence.

The King George V Fijian penny first entered circulation in 1934 and was lasted issued in 1936. It was briefly replaced by the 1936 Fijian Penny (King Edward VIII). King Edward VIII was infamously forced to abdicate on December of the same year. These coins were seceded by the King George VI Penny series (1937-1952) and the Queen Elizabeth II series (1954-1968). The Queen Elizabeth II series represented the final non-decimal Fijian penny.

On 20 November 1967, the British Pound Sterling was devalued. Causing Australia and New Zealand to consider pursuing their respective currencies, Fiji followed suit. The Fijian pound ceased being legal tender on 30 June 1972, replaced by the decimal Fijian Dollar. The Fijian Pound was replaced at rate of 2 Fijian Dollars per Pound. Making it equal value to its Australian and New Zealand counterparts.

The coin is a smooth-edged design made of a copper-nickel alloy and weighs 6.5 g. Its dimensions are 26mm (1.023 in) wide and 2.01mm (0.079) in thick. Making it roughly similar in size to a US Quarter (24.3/0.957 in), in that respect. This coin will be reviewed reverse first, as homage to its home nation.


Fijian Penny reverse designed by George Kruger Gray
Fijian Penny reverse by George Kruger Gray

The reverse utilizes a a fairly simple and practical design. The reverse's artwork is designed around a central hole. This hole features a raised rim with squared serrations, running along it's outer edge. The coin's issue date is divided left ("19") and right ("36"), of the center axis. The coin lists its issuing nation ("Fiji") above and the coin type ("Penny") below. Both sides of the coin feature a raised rim, with squared serrations, running along it's inner edge.


Fijian Penny observe designed by George Kruger Gray.
Fijian Penny observe by George Kruger Gray.

The observe's central hole features only a smooth raised rim, without squared serrations. Immediately above is the Imperial State Crown, representing the British monarchy. The remainder of the the coin's surface is wreathed by the text, "George*V*King*Emperor".

Pre-Decimal Fijian Pound Guide

10 Florin=1 Fijian Pound

20 Shilling=1 Fijian Pound

240 Pence=1 Fijian Pound

40 Pence=1 Fijian Pound

20 Pence= 1Fijian Shilling

Size Comparison

A Fiji Penny with US Quarter for comparison.
A Fiji Penny with US Quarter for comparison.

Additional Notes

  • The 1936 Fijian Penny (King George V), had a relatively small production of 240,000 coins.

  • This coin was designed by English artist George Kruger Gray (1880-1943). Who also engraved the reverse of the famous pre-decimal Australian (Kangaroo) Penny.

  • With the exception of the infamous of the 1936 Fijian Penny (King Edward VIII), George Kruger Gray designed all Fijian Pennies from 1934-1945.

  • In general, George Kruger Gray's work primarily focused on designing the reverse of Commonwealth coins.

  • George Kruger Gray designed the majority of the Australian 2nd Series, up till the decimalization of 1966.

  • Coins with a central hole are often referred to as "cash coins" or "cash-type" coins.

  • Cash coins were a type of Chinese currency, used throughout East Asia, from the 4th century BC and early 20th century AD.

  • In 1970, Fiji transitioned a British colony to a self-governing commonwealth lead by a Governor-General.

  • In 1987, Fiji transitioned to a republic after establishing the Office of the Fijian Presidency.

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