I've got a handful of Australian 1 and 2 cent coins, which are no longer regularly used (unlike the scenario in How to get rid of spare change). Much as I like feathertail gliders and frilled neck lizards, what can I do with them?

Coins: What you can and can’t do says you are legally able to use them up to 20 cents of them in a single transaction:

Well, if you still have them, then they too are still legal tender, despite being withdrawn from circulation in 1992, but they cannot exceed 20 cents. In other words, you can only use 20 1 cent pieces for a transaction.

however, I'm worried that the average retailer will refuse to accept them. Are any retailers' staff fully trained on the Currency Act and therefore more likely to accept them without any hesitation?

Is it possible to sell coins that have undergone normal wear and tear to coin collectors? Cash to be made by taking leave of your cents claims dealers sell them for 50 cents each.

I'd ask about selling them for scrap metal, but I don't think I have enough for that to be worthwhile.

Also, is it legal to throw them out in the garbage?

  • 4
    Just found a 1966 1c coin of circulation condition selling on eBay for $2.20.
    – Victor
    Oct 11, 2015 at 9:10

2 Answers 2


Check with your local bank - you're likely to be able to either deposit it to your account or exchange into more useful form of currency.

Otherwise, you can also check eBay. I'm not familiar with the Australian law, and it may be illegal to do that, but I know that coins from other countries that went out of circulation become quite popular with collectors and you can sell them for more than their face value (recently I've seen this happening to the Canadian 1 cent coin).

  • 1
    Yes the quickest way would be to take them to your bank the next time you're going there if you don't want to waste much time on them.
    – Victor
    Oct 11, 2015 at 9:05
  • US pennies used to be popular as blanks for enamel-jewelry workers even when that was technically illegal; you might want to check whether anyone's using you copper coins for crafts.
    – keshlam
    Oct 11, 2015 at 14:24

I don't think anyone will take it as scrap metal, because it is not allowed by the Australian law:


Defacing or destroying current coins or current paper money

A person shall not, without the consent, in writing, of an authorized person, intentionally deface, disfigure, mutilate or destroy any coin or paper money that is lawfully current in Australia.

Melting it would thus be illegal and can be punished with a fine of $5000 or 2 years of imprisonment, or both. If you try to sell it for that then you might be accessory, so don't do it.

I suppose that throwing them at the garbage will count as destroying or disfiguring it, since it will most likely happen in the process. So that may be illegal, so you shouldn't do it.

Note: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice

  • 1
    depends on what 'lawfully current' means. Out of circulation and only able to use 20 at a time might not trigger the 'current' part of the law. Would be interesting to see a lawyer comment on this.
    – Ross
    Oct 12, 2015 at 17:02
  • @Ross I'm not a lawyer, but this also applies to $0.05, $0.10, $0.50 coins, in fact, stores may refuse payment larger than $5 done with only coins worth less than $1, so technically you can only use 10 $0.50 coins at one time.
    – wythagoras
    Oct 12, 2015 at 18:05
  • "throwing them at the garbage will count as destroying or disfiguring it" If it's going into a dump or frankly even being incinerated its just gonna sit there somewhere, not be destroyed or defaced.
    – Sam
    Oct 21, 2015 at 22:50

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