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Fiji Penny, Coins From The Island Colony #2: 1 Penny (Fiji, 1965)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This coin is a 9th year Fijian Penny (Elizabeth II), dated 1965. 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 Queen Elizabeth II Fijian penny first entered circulation in 1954 and was lasted issued in 1968. 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 Percy Metcalfe.

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 ("65"), 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 Percy Metcalfe.
Fijian Penny observe by Percy Metcalfe.

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, "Queen Elizabeth The Second".

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 1965 Fijian Penny (Elizabeth II), had a large production of 1,440,000 coins. The largest of all Fijian Penny variants.

  • This coin was designed by English artist Percy Metcalfe (1895-1970). Best known for designing the "Barnyard Collection" coin series, for the Irish Free State.

  • Percy Metcalfe designed the infamous 1936 Fijian Penny (King Edward VIII). This is the only brief exception of the George Kruger Gray designed Fijian Penny run (1934-1936/1936-1945).

  • 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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