You can’t cook your coin and eat it too

The introduction of decimal currency in February 1966 had the latent, and somewhat un-Christmassy knock-on effect of inadvertently taking the gloss off one of the great Yuletide customs – coins in the Christmas pud!

Why? According to this News Release and the accompanying photograph, the new 5 and 10 cent coins were made of cupro-nickel, not silver alloy. And they would turn green when cooked.

But for those who wanted to continue hiding coins in the Christmas pudding, the recommendation was simply to insert the new currency immediately prior to serving … after all, who would know?

Some of us were lucky enough to have grandmothers who kept their superseded threepences and sixpences for the express purpose of feeding the Christmas pudding, thereby ensuring the tradition continued and the thrill of discovery lived on for many a year.

  • read caption below
    Media release from the Copper and Brass Information Centre with a warning on the effects of pudding on the new coins
  • read caption below
    Scientific demonstration of the effects of Christmas pudding on the new decimal coins
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019