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  • Australia’s first ever penny dated 1797 and portraying King George III

  • Nicknamed “cartwheel” due to its size

  • Limited time to own your own original piece of Australian numismatic history​

Australia's First Penny of 1797

El Cazador Shipwreck Coin
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The King George III 1797 penny, nicknamed a ‘Cartwheel’ because of its large size and thick rim, is a remarkable coin on its own. However, it has a very special connection with Australia being the very first coin to be minted especially for shipping to early New South Wales to relieve a coin shortage, as such it is Australia’s first penny.

The ‘Cartwheel’ penny was a huge coin. Minted from new steam-powered presses it was able to be minted to a much higher standard of design than those coins that had come before it. Measuring 36mm in diameter and weighing in at 28gm it was actually the first copper penny in British history!

It was also the first coin to figure in Australian history. In November 1800 HMS Porpoise brought to New South Wales a consignment of 1797-dated penny’s for the Governor to use as payment for supplies and therefore put into circulation. 

The year before, The Duke of Portland had written to Governor Hunter:
"Sir, You will receive by the Porpoise near four tons of a new copper coinage of a penny each. The total value of the above coinage is £550, which you will take care to carry to the credit of Government, and to account for it in making such payments therewith for the public service as you shall from time to time judge most advisable.”

The consignment brought 132,000 penny coins into the early economy of New South Wales, earning for it a special place in the history of our nation. Now you can own an original of that 1797 dated coin.


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