Summary

Proof 1/2 Cent, Issued by, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1861
Minted by Royal Mint, London

Obverse Description

Laureate bust of the Queen facing left; around, VICTORIA D:G: BRIT: REG: F:D:

Reverse Description

Within a wreath of roses and mayflowers, a beaded circle around a crown above the date 1861; around above, HALF CENT; below, NOVA SCOTIA

Edge Description

Plain

Significance

In 1859 Nova Scotia adopted the decimal system. Their dollar would equal 1/5 th of a pound sterling. In Nova Scotia therefore the British 6 pence, a coin in circulation in Nova Scotia, equaled 12 1/2 cents so Nova Scotia needed a 1/2 cent denomination so that change couuld be given for a 6 pence. In 1860 New Brunswick also adopted a decimal system but based on the gold dollar of the United States of America. The outcome of this was that the British 6 pence was worth 12 cents in New Brunswick but 12 1/2 cents in Nova Scotia. Both colonies ordered new decimal coins from the Royal Mint dated 1861. New Brunswick did not need the 1/2 cent denomination but the Royal Mint prepared 1/2 cent coins for both colonies. The mistake was soon noted and most of the New Brunswick 1/2 cents were melted. A few hundred from the 220,800 pieces struck are thought to have survived by being mixed with the Nova Scotia 1/2 cents and then shipped to Halifax. They did not circulate in New Brunswick, but in Nova Scotia.

This coin formed part of the Mint's exhibit at both Melbourne International Exhibitions

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