The Brisbane Courier-Mail Wednesday 28th February 1934 Page 9
CHARGE OF UTTERING
Ivan Edwards (23) was charged that at Brisbane about November 2, he uttered five counterfeit silver coins apparently intended to pass for florins and he knew that they were counterfeit. [….] certain dockets were found on the defendant including one dated November 2, 1933, relating to the purchase in Brisbane, on the lay-by system, of a gold watch. A deposit of 10/- mostly in two shilling pieces, was paid on the watch.[…] Later (Detective) Curry went with the defendant to a house in Highgate Hill […] In the kitchen sink they found a hammer and five files to which were attached some white substance which, on analysis, was found to be an alloy of tin and antimony similar in composition to the counterfeit coins. […] Curry also discovered a bottle holding a white substance in liquid shaped like a ball and this, he submitted, was commercial cyanide. But the defendant explained that he used it for killing cockroaches.
The judge, Mr Justice Macrossan, heavily criticised the police for arresting Edwards‘ wife on trumped up charges of vagrancy. He said that on this basis, judges on holiday could be arrested as vagrants. The police took the key to the house from Mrs Edwards in order to search it. The jury were instructed to ignore that part of the evidence relating to items found in the house and found Edwards not guilty. It was suggested that an accomplice of Edwards got off by bribing the police.
In the 1930s, many counterfeit coins circulated in Australia, but usually of a much higher standard than those of the hapless Edwards. At that time, the face value of silver coins was much higher than the value of the silver used, making counterfeiting very profitable.The florin, or two shilling piece, had a face value equivalent to today’s 20 cent piece. However today’s value of the silver content of the coin, which made up 92.5% of the total, is around $6.00. A florin at that time would purchase 4 loaves of bread or around 3 litres of milk.