Nov 272015

Bruce Jun Fan Lee was born in the hour and the year of the Dragon, on 27 November 1940 in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Bruce was the fourth child born to Lee Hoi Chuen and his wife Grace Ho. Lee Hoi Chuen was a comedian in the Chinese opera, and an actor in Cantonese films. At the time Bruce was born, Mr. and Mrs. Lee were on tour with the opera company in the United States.

At the age of three months, Lee Hoi Chuen, his wife Grace, and baby Bruce returned to Hong Kong where Bruce would be raised until the age of 18. Bruce was not a strong child, something that would change when he took up the study of gung fu at the age of 13. It was at this time that Bruce was introduced to Master Yip Man, a teacher of the Wing Chun style of gung fu, with whom Bruce trained for the next five years.


A natural showman, Bruce was always quick and agile on his feet, also proving to be a talented dancer, winning the Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship in 1958.

In addition to his studies, gung fu, and dancing, Bruce was a child actor under the tutelage of his father who recognized at an early age that Bruce had a streak of showmanship. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in 20 films.

At the age of 18, with $100 in his pocket, Bruce boarded a steamship and began his voyage to San Francisco, and then Seattle, where he enrolled at the University of Washington.

During the three years that Bruce studied at the university, he supported himself by teaching gung fu in parking lots, garages, and any other open space he could find. In 1963, Bruce opened his first gung fu school in Seattle, the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.

One of his students in 1963 was a freshman at the University of Washington, Linda Emery. Bruce and Linda soon fell in love and married in 1964, before moving to Oakland where Bruce opened his second school.

Having now been in the United States for five years, Bruce had left behind any thought 
of acting as a career, and devoted himself completely to martial arts as a profession.

In 1964, just as Bruce was cementing his plans to expand his martial arts schools, he made a guest appearance at the inaugural Long Beach International Karate Championship in Long Beach, California. This exhibition resulted in Bruce meeting Hollywood producer William Dozier, who subsequently cast him as ‘Kato’ in The Green Hornet, a television series produced in 1966. Later that same year, Bruce and his family moved to Los Angeles, where he opened his third gung fu school. However, soon after, Bruce realised his love for martial arts was not something he wanted to turn into a business, leading him to turn his attention to acting full time.

In 1970, Bruce travelled to Hong Kong and was surprised to find he was widely recognized for his role in The Green Hornet. His popularity in Hong Kong led producer Raymond Chow to ask Bruce to join the cast of two upcoming film projects. The first of these two projects, The Big Boss, was released in 1971 and was a smash hit at the box office.


75th Anniversary of Bruce Lee
2015 1oz Silver Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 5,000
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75th Anniversary of Bruce Lee
2015 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 1,000
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This taste of success prompted Bruce to move his family, which then included a son, Brandon, and a daughter, Shannon, to Hong Kong to focus on his acting career. His second film, Fist of Fury, released in 1972, was an even bigger hit than the first.

Following the tidal wave of success created by these first two films, Bruce was able to write, produce, direct, and star in Way of the Dragon, released in 1972. Once again, the film broke records, earning Bruce recognition and fame not only in Hong Kong, but also in Hollywood.

Bruce’s growing popularity and success resulted in the first ever Hong Kong-American co-production which came about from Bruce’s relationship with Warner Bros. president Ted Ashley. Filming of Enter the Dragon commenced in 1972 and the film premiered in August 1973.

Unfortunately, Bruce would not live to see the opening of his film. On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee passed away at the age of 32. His legacy as a martial arts actor enabled broader depictions of Asian Americans in cinema and created a whole new breed of action hero. His talents as a martial artist and instructor continue to be revered, and his spirit remains an inspiration to untold numbers of people around the world.

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Nov 262015

Today marks 150 years since Lewis Carroll wrote the enchanting story of a girl named Alice and her marvellous adventures in Wonderland. With a unique bunch of characters such as the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter, this revolutionary tale changed the landscape of children’s literature forever, leaving a long lasting cultural impact on the world!

Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole has inspired countless theatrical performances, film adaptions, television shows and even video games, adding to its ground-breaking appeal.

Here is a list of five interesting things you may not know about the beloved children’s classic….

  1. The story was based on a real girl called Alice Liddell. She was the daughter of Henry Liddell, the dean of the Christ Church College at Oxford where Carroll taught mathematics.
  2. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson chose the pen name Lewis Carroll by using a play on the Latin translation of his real first and middle names.
  3. Dodgson modelled the Dodo character in the book after himself. Legend has it that the author had a tendency to stammer and that he would often introduce himself as ‘Do-do-dogson’.
  4. Queen Victoria was a fan of the book and suggested that Carroll dedicate his next work to her.
  5. The book has never been out of print since it was published in 1865 and has been translated into over 170 languages.


The Perth Mint has paid homage to this classic by releasing a beautiful 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 2015 1oz Silver Proof Coin. The coin’s reverse design portrays Aleysha Howarth’s interpretation of John Tenniel’s original illustrations of Alice, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. Issued as legal tender of Tuvalu, no more than 5,000 of these coins will be released in individual presentation packaging.


Nov 252015

Congratulations to Jeanette Stampone, winner of our Christmas Competition Week 5

Your Christmas Wish List on Pinterest impressed our panel of judges who have awarded you this week’s prize of five beautiful gold-plated Christmas decorations.

Thank you to everyone who entered the Pinterest competition. Along with Jeanette and all our previous winners, your names have automatically been entered into Week 10’s Grand Draw in December for a stunning gold Koala coin.

With four more weekly Christmas Competitions before the Grand Draw, be sure to check the blog or our Facebook page soon for your chance to win another superb prize!


Nov 242015

Nov 192015

The Great Exhibition, the world’s first ‘expo’, took place in 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park. Australia’s first expo opened 28 years later when the Sydney International Exhibition 1879-80 was held in the purpose-built Garden Palace. Among the million and more visitors who flocked through it’s gates were Europeans, Americans and Asians, all well aware of Australia’s emerging significance as a result of rich gold discoveries.

The Garden Palace was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet, whose work included the Macquarie Lighthouse, a new wing for the Australian Museum, as well as countless government and civic projects. Dominated by a 210 feet high dome, it was constructed in only nine months, a feat made possible by night-shifts working under Australia’s first electric lights.


Hailed a triumph for New South Wales, the Exhibition ran for seven months from 17 September 1879 with the aim of promoting commerce, industry, science, art, education, and population growth. Unfortunately, the Garden Palace that housed many star exhibits, suffered the same fate as the Crystal Palace when it was destroyed by fire just two years after the event.

A portrayal of the building, however, lives forever on the Exhibition prize medals, including this bronze version which forms part of The Perth Mint’s historic coin collection. Struck in London from dies made by J.S. and A.B. Wyon to a design by Samuel Begg, the medal’s obverse displays the personification of New South Wales and the colony’s shield surrounded by exhibits. The cause of much dismay when it burnt to the ground, the Sydney International Exhibition Garden Palace’s grandeur is revealed in the background.


Nov 172015