Dec 282011

The British province of South Australia was formally established 175 years ago on 28 December 1836.

click for larger image

Celebrating South Australia, which with five other colonies formed the independent Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, this silver proof coin from our 2010 catalogue portrays three of the State’s most famous symbols.

The Hairy-Nosed or Plains Wombat is South Australia’s faunal emblem. It is a marsupial mammal indigenous to Australia and totally protected in South Australia. The generic name, Lasiorhinus, means hairy-nosed and the specific name, latifrons, means broad-fronted. Most abundant on Eyre Peninsula, the Gawler Ranges and the Nullarbor Plain, it’s a powerful digger that excavates deep cool, humid burrows for survival in the hot, waterless environment.

Sturt’s Desert Pea is South Australia’s floral emblem. Captain Charles Sturt noted it in 1844 while exploring the colony’s interior. In his journal, Sturt referred several times to the beauty of the red desert pea and the harsh nature of its habitat. Protected in South Australia, it bears the genus name Swainsona honouring botanical garden owner Isaac Swainson, and its specific name formosa is Latin for ‘beautiful’.

The South Australian capital was named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV. Otherwise known as the ‘City of Churches’, one of the city’s most famous landmarks is St Peter’s Cathedral. The historic building, which is said to share similarities with Notre Dame in Paris, was consecrated on 1 January 1878.

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Dec 222011

These extremely limited Chinese Astrological coins celebrating the Year of the Dragon have just become available on our collector site.

Struck from 1/5oz of 99.99% pure gold, each coin features a caricature design of a dragon and the Chinese word for either Prosperity, Longevity or Success.

We have very limited stocks available.

Visit the website for full details: Three-Coin Set; Two-Coin Set; Individual Coin

Dec 202011

The first monthly product launch of 2012 is coming early for Perth Mint coin collectors.

Set for launch on 3 January, the latest coin releases will be available for purchase via our collector website at one minute past midnight Western Standard time. (12.01am WST Tuesday 3 January 2012).

“Traditionally we announce details of new products around 9.00am Perth time every launch day. Recently, this has resulted in a stampede of online and telephone orders from within Australia, putting pressure on internal sales and administration systems,” Ron Currie, Sales & Marketing Director explained.

“We think this change is in the interest of our customers because we’ll be able to process some orders overnight before the busiest part of the day begins. By smoothing demand, we are hopeful of avoiding glitches which have proved frustrating to clients.”

Ron Currie said exceptionally strong demand for The Perth Mint’s Year of the Dragon suite of gold and silver coins in 2011 had highlighted the problems. As a result, the Mint is involved in a comprehensive review of its telephone, IT and customer support resources.

“Changes will take time to implement fully,” he said. “In the meantime, it is prudent to trial this kind of move to improve our customer service capability.”

Dec 152011

The British Museum has announced the discovery of a hugely significant hoard of silver artefacts in Lancashire.

Buried in a lead container 1,100 years ago, it includes 27 silver coins from Britain’s Anglo-Saxon and Viking eras.

One coin is of a type that none of the Museum’s experts has seen before.

“One side of it reads DNS (Dominus) REX, the letters arranged in the form of a cross (many Vikings had converted to Christianity within a generation of settling in Britain),” Ian Richardson, Portable Antiquities and Treasure, wrote on the Museum’s blog.

A previously unrecorded coin type, probably carrying the name of an otherwise unknown Viking ruler in northern England.

“On the other side, the inscription reads AIRDECONUT, which appears to be an attempt to represent the Scandinavian name Harthacnut, a ruler not previously known.”

The hoard was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast. It follows a similar find in April of a 10th century hoard comprising 92 silver coins in nearby Cumbria.

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Dec 142011

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has acquired a rare 1813 New South Wales ‘Holey dollar’ – the first currency minted in Australia.

In the early days of New South Wales, the colony faced a shortage of currency and in 1812 Governor Lachlan Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish dollars, called ‘pieces of eight’, and had William Hensell, a convicted forger, cut the centre out of each coin.

The outer ring became known as a ‘Holey dollar’ and the centre was called a dump. Governor Macquarie set their value at five shillings for the Holey dollar and 15 pence for the dump. The coins went into circulation in 1814 and, in doing so, Macquarie created the first currency minted in Australia.

“Holey dollars speak eloquently of the creative and improvisatory attempts to create an orderly administration in colonial Australia. The holey dollar we have acquired for the National Museum is a finely preserved example of this iconic object from the era of Macquarie,” said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

Pcture courtesy of National Museum of Australia

The Holey dollars were recalled from 1822 and replaced with sterling coinage. By 1829 most of the 40,000 coins in circulation had been exchanged for legal tender. The coins were then melted down into bullion. Experts estimate that around 300 Holey dollars and just over 1,000 dumps remain in circulation today.

The National Museum of Australia acquired the Holey dollar at auction for a total price of $129,315. It will go on display in the National Museum’s Landmarks gallery.

Dec 132011

An ultra-rare 1787 gold Brasher doubloon has been sold for US$7.395 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a gold coin.

Minted in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, the coin portrays an eagle with an ‘EB’ counterstamp on the breast.

Image coutesy of American Numismatic Association. Click image for more info.

New Orleans numismatic firm Blanchard said recent research has established that it is the first American-made gold coin denominated in dollars and that it was struck to the same standard that was later adopted for all U.S. gold coins making it what is today considered the first truly American gold coin.

The coin is reported to have been purchased by an unnamed a Wall Street investment firm.

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