Jan 252013

With Australia Day celebrations almost upon us, it’s timely to examine this 1888 medallion marking the centenary of the arrival of British settlers in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.

Housed in our historic collection, it was sent to Perth from Sydney on the closure of the Mint there in 1926. Struck in bronze, silver and gold, these medallions were made on behalf of the Government of New South Wales which distributed them to “prominent citizens”.

Contrary to assumption, however, it was not the Sydney Mint that created them.

Die engraver William Joseph Amor founded his company in George Street, Sydney in 1888. Learning his craft under English medallists J.S. and A.B. Wyon and later working in Paris, he was en route to America when he was persuaded by Robert Hunt, Deputy-Master of the Sydney Mint, to stay and start his own business.

Marrying the daughter of the Chief Engineer of the Sydney Mint, his association clearly ran deep.

The medal’s obverse portrays a familiar Australia/Britannia seated with a sailing ship and lighthouse in the background. The word ‘Australia’ appears above the main image; beneath it can be seen the initials GR (George III – reigned 1760-1820) separated by a crown, and the historic date of the settlers’ arrival.

The reverse depicts the Arms of New South Wales within a wreath of native flora headed by a crown and the monogram VR. The motto ORTA RECENS QUAM PURA NITES translates to recently risen how bright thou shineth.

Confirmation of the medal’s maker can be found on close inspection of the obverse rim at approximately 7 o’clock.

This medallion was one of the very first to be crafted by Amor’s company, which became Sydney’s major medallist and die-sinker for over a century thanks to its ability to meet demand for locally produced, high-quality commemoratives and insignia such as this.


Jan 182013

An Australian amateur prospector has made world headlines after unearthing a gold nugget weighing 5.5kg (177 troy oz) near Ballarat in the State of Victoria.

The 5.5kg natural nugget discovered near Ballarat.

Said to be worth around A$300,000, it was found using a handheld metal detector.

The area surrounding Ballarat has been extensively explored since the Victorian gold rush began in the 1850s – making a find of this size absolutely extraordinary.

Big, bigger, biggest

Despite its impressive dimensions, however, the hunk of gold is a mere tiddler in Australia’s league of giant nugget discoveries. Around 245 gold nuggets found in Australia are known to have been bigger.

The granddaddy of them all was found 100km further north at Moliagul in 1869. The whopping nugget, known as Welcome Stranger, weighed approximately 72kg (2,315 troy oz). It remains the largest gold nugget ever discovered.

Gold nuggets in Perth

The Normandy nugget is on display at The Perth Mint.

Prospectors frequently bring small gold nuggets they’ve discovered into the Mint for an estimate of their value. We are also a regular buyer.

If you want to see a really spectacular example, Newmont’s Normandy nugget is on display in our Gold Exhibition.

Found near Kalgoorlie in 1995, the 25.5kg (819 troy oz) specimen is the second largest nugget in the world today having escaped being melted down, and is the 26th largest gold nugget ever discovered.


Jan 172013

Lunar New Year celebrations arrived early at The Perth Mint today with a surprise visit by Chinese Olympic swimming sensation Ye Shiwen.

The 16 year-old won gold at London 2012 in the 400 metres and 200 metres individual medley, setting a new world record in the 400m event and an Olympic record in the 200m event.

No stranger to Australia, the young Chinese swimmer trains regularly in Brisbane. She’s currently on this side of the continent competing in the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series.

Ye, who was born in the Year of the Mouse, was delighted to meet Ing Ing Jong, the designer of our 2013 Year of the Snake coin program, which is proving extremely popular in the run up to New Year festivities on 10 February.


Jan 162013

Limited to mintage of just 1,000 sets, World Famous Squares comprises four square-shaped 1oz silver proof coins portraying superbly coloured renditions of St Peter’s Square, Trafalgar Square, Red Square and Tiananmen Square.

Selling extremely quickly off the website, we’ve reserved one of these stunning sets – valued at $428 – as the prize in our latest competition.

Enter now for your chance to win this set!

Answer the following question correctly to go into the free draw for the 2013 World Famous Squares 1oz silver proof four-coin set.

QUESTION: In which cities are these four famous city squares located?

Send us your answer via Twitter.

To ensure entry into the draw, direct message your answer to @perthmint on Twitter before the official closing date, 31 January 2013.

If you already have a Twitter account (you can create one here), make sure you’re following @perthmint for news, shares and exclusive competitions from The Perth Mint. We will follow you back so that you can direct message us your answer.

The lucky winner will be announced on Twitter, so keep following us to find out whether it’s you!

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Jan 152013

The designs of the latest Australian Lunar coins from The Perth Mint are the work of talented illustrator Ing Ing Jong.

Ing graduated from Perth’s Central TAFE School of Art and Design in 2006 with an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design, having specialized in illustration and multimedia. She promptly enrolled for a Bachelor of Multimedia at Curtin University in order to undertake advanced studies in animation, web design, illustration and video editing.

As somebody who loves to draw and create her own characters, one of Ing’s biggest inspirations is Disney

“I have long admired how Disney animators are able to convey the essence of the character’s emotions through their sketches… I decided to study both graphic design and multimedia to add to my portfolio and learn more about the craft that I love.”

Her flair and dedication paid off in 2011 with an invitation to join The Perth Mint as a coin designer.

After several successful projects, Ing was asked to design the 2013 Lunar series. Feeling both excited and intrigued, she headed to a local zoo for some genuine ‘hands on’ research – and was delighted to be given the chance to handle a large python! “I was surprised by how silky it felt to touch and how calm it behaved,” she said.

“I reflected my experience by portraying the patience and charming nature of the snake. I particularly enjoyed showing the calmness and control of the animal. The design best reflects a traditional Chinese style of painting where the snake blends in to its natural environment.”

Outside of work, Ing’s creativity remains her driving force. Another thing she loves to do is design and make soft toys, which ties in with her love of bringing things to life.

With her innately creative personality and a line-up of so many outstanding skills, Ing has proven herself to be the perfect complement to the Mint’s ever resourceful Studio team.

Adapted from an article by coin writer Dr Kerry Rodgers.


Jan 142013

We’re delighted to present a wonderful choice of coins celebrating The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey released recently by New Zealand Post.

More information:

© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc.       (s13)