Apr 172014
 

In an exciting development, a host of Disney cartoon characters will be immortalised on gold and silver commemorative coins over the next two years.

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From hilarious figures like Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto, to the stars of classics including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, the coin program is set to delight all who have been touched by the magic of Disney.

Naturally, a series of such magnitude could not begin without gold and silver coins dedicated to Mickey Mouse.  So fittingly, the most famous Disney character of them all appears on the inaugural releases in a design that depicts Mickey in 1928.

Mickey Mouse

In 1927, Walt Disney conceived a character with a round white face, big button nose and floppy black ears. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, however, was a hit for Universal, which owned the rights to the character.

Disney’s setback proved to be a watershed, for it inspired him to create an even more engaging character to which he indisputably laid claim.

Walt thought of a mouse character that would incidentally bear resemblance to Oswald. An early change to the new character was his proposed name. According to legend, Walt Disney had originally wanted to name the mouse Mortimer, but his wife, Lillian, objected and suggested Mickey instead. Mickey Mouse began his rise to mega-stardom with the release of Steamboat Willie in November 1928.

Steamboat Willie


Even though it was the third of Mickey’s films to be produced, Steamboat Willie was the first Mickey cartoon to be released. Consequently, it marks his on-screen debut, as well as that of his girlfriend, Minnie.

The film is notable for being the first cartoon with synchronized sound. It was also the first cartoon to feature a post-produced soundtrack using a fifteen-piece band and the voice of Walt Disney himself as Mickey.

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Produced from 1/4oz of gold and 1oz of silver, the stunning new coins feature a still frame from an early scene where Mickey Mouse is seen cheerfully standing at the boat’s wheel.

Fans will want to act fast, for with just 1,000 gold coins and 10,000 silver coins available for release worldwide, this Disney series is off to a fantastic start!

Disney – Steamboat Willie 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Disney – Steamboat Willie 2014 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin

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Apr 152014
 

WavyBaseline20cThe 1966 wavy baseline 20 cent coin is counted among Australia’s rarest decimal coins issued for circulation. Although 58.2 million 20 cent coins were struck dated 1966, very, very few of these feature what collector’s describe as a ‘wavy baseline’.

The way to identify the wavy baseline 20 cent coin is to look at the bottom section of the “2″ on the tails side. The top and bottom edges of the base of the “2″ on all standard 20 cent coins are straight, while on the 1966 wavy baseline 20 cent coin, the upper edge of the base of the “2″ has an obvious wave to it.

This seemingly minor, yet quite distinct difference really sets this coin aside from all of the other coins injected into the Australian economy following the introduction of decimal currency on February 14th, 1966. Well-circulated coins dated 1966 can still be found in change nearly half a century later, whereas the 1966 20 cent with the wavy baseline is very seldom seen in any condition at numismatic auctions.

Wavy_Baseline_comparison

Coins relating to the introduction of decimal currency are hugely popular with the general public – scores of the round 50 cent coins have been hoarded, many thousands of proof and mint sets from 1966 were sold also. Very few collectors will have such an exclusive and intriguing memento relating to the introduction of decimal currency as this however.

Just what the cause of this design difference is not yet clear – debate is still underway as to whether the wave is due to one or two dies being engraved slightly differently to all others, or whether another explanation might be appropriate.

It is interesting to note online discussions of a design anomaly on several coins in the USA that may or may not be relevant to the 1966 wavy baseline – those coins are known as having “wavy steps” or “trails”.

US numismatists that have studied these coins in great detail advise that such errors come about when dies are being created:

“When a blank, conical die is placed in the hubbing press a huge amount of pressure is applied to it. This effectively transfers the image that is on the hub (either master hub or working hub), through compression, to the die. Without atypical conditions occurring horizontal movement between the hub and the die is not produced and the result is a normal image being transferred to the die. However, at times faults do occur and the results lead to an imperfect image transfer.”

The trail die and wavy step errors seen on US coins are far, far less obvious than the wavy baseline seen on the 1966 20 cent, so this explanation may well be a red herring. Regardless, I expect that there will be a lot more investigation in the coming months into the technical cause of the design difference on this exclusive and fascinating memento from the heady days of the introduction of decimal currency to Australia.

First published by Sterling & Currency
For sale: TWENTY CENT 1966 Wavy Baseline Choice Unc

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Apr 112014
 

The first two coins in this absolutely gorgeous 1/2oz silver proof coin series have now been released.The Lioness and Asian Elephant releases will be joined in forthcoming months by coins portraying the love been a mother and baby Giraffe, Bear and Orangutan.MothersLovex2

While each coin is available individually, there is also a subscription option  suitable for those determined to complete the series without fear of missing a release.

More details.

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Apr 042014
 

Joining the Daleks and Weeping Angels, the Cybermen are the latest monsters to appear on the Doctor Who Monsters series of 1/2oz silver proof coins.

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Early form of Cyberman, as seen in The Tenth Planet in 1966.

Evil marauders of the Whoniverse, Cybermen were once humanoids from Mondas, the Earth’s twin planet, which drifted out of the solar system and into the abyss of space. In its harsh environment, the inhabitants of Mondas gradually replaced their weak mortal flesh with metal and plastic as a means of self-preservation. In the process, they also lost their compassion.

Cold, harsh and cruelly logical, these cyborgs decided everybody should be like them – or be “deleted”. So when Mondas was destroyed, they embarked on a galactic mission to free other beings from the shackles of thoughts, feelings and useless emotion.

Cybermen first appeared in the 1966 Doctor Who series, The Tenth Planet, when their physical appearance retained some human elements. Beneath cloth masks, the outline of their faces remained tangibly earthly, while their hands were still clearly flesh and blood.

The transition to an almost total robotic state has continued to unfold, and in 2006’s Rise of the Cybermen new generations of muscled-up metal megalomaniacs emerged with even more murderous intent!

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Collect all five coins in this series

The five coins in the Doctor Who Monsters series are available individually or on subscription: Daleks, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Silurians (released May),
Sontarans (released June)

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Apr 022014
 

RAN_submarineOn 24 May 1914, the Royal Australian Navy took delivery of its first submarines in Sydney, the two British-built E-class vessels HMAS AE1 and HMAS AE2, as part of a substantial upgrade of Australia’s fledgling naval fleet.

Following the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, just three months after they arrived in Sydney, both submarines were sent to New Guinea with the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, tasked to attack the German Pacific Fleet and to capture the colony of German New Guinea.

On 14 September, a day after Germany surrendered the colony, the HMAS AE1 was mysteriously lost off the coast of Rabaul. It is assumed that the submarine struck an unchartered reef and sunk. Over the last 100 years there have been many attempts to locate the submarine and the remains of her 35 crew, which consisted of 15 Australian and 20 British submariners, but the site of this underwater military grave remains unknown.

The HMAS AE2 remained in the South Pacific until December 1914, when she was sent to the Mediterranean to support the British-led operations off the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The HMAS AE2 played a pivotal role in the Gallipoli campaign, becoming the first Allied submarine to penetrate the heavily guarded narrow passage through the Dardanelles on 25 April 1915, entering the Sea of Marmara.

Animation: Blow-by-blow account HMAS AE2′s perilous passage through the heavily protected Dardanelles at Gallipoli between 24-29 April 1915. Click graphic.

The HMAS AE2’s extraordinary accomplishment at Gallipoli is believed to be the first successful submarine campaign to deny an opponent use of the sea. The submarine also relieved the pressure on the Allied troops who were engaged in combat on the beach.

Despite her success, the HMAS AE2 was abandoned just days after the Gallipoli campaign began, after falling victim to enemy fire and losing power. Lieutenant Commander Henry Stoker ordered all hands on deck before scuttling his craft. The wreck of the HMAS AE2 remains where she sank, in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey, as a protected relic.

2014 Centenary of Australian Submarines
1oz Silver Proof Coin & Replica Badge Set

The Perth Mint is pleased to celebrate 100 years of Australian submarines with this pure silver commemorative coin featuring a design representing  a modern-day Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarine.

The coin is accompanied by a replica Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service badge featuring a dolphin and crown emblem with the inscription SUBMARINE FORCE AUSTRALIA SILENT SERVICE.

SubmarineCoinBadge

No more than 3,000 sets will be released.

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Apr 012014
 

For more than a billion years, Argyle pink diamonds were hidden kilometres beneath the Earth’s surface. First sighted glinting in an anthill in the mid-1980’s, the discovery was just a hint of the treasure waiting to be unearthed from what was to become the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

Following on from the highly successful 2013 release, the second Limited Edition Argyle Pink Diamond Rose Gold Ingot bears a unique design paying homage to the extraordinary discovery of these precious gems.


Go behind the scenes during the production of this rare pink gold ingot featuring hand-set Argyle pink diamonds.

Minted from 1oz of 22-carat pink gold and hand-set with approximately 0.11 carats of Argyle pink diamonds, just 200 of these individually numbered ingots will be released. Each ingot comes in stylish display case and branded shipper, accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

For further information or to order immediately, click here.

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