Jul 302013
 

This video tells the story of how Australia’s very first Kangaroo gold “coins” came to be produced in Melbourne during the 1850s. Extraordinarily rare, the historic gold pieces have been re-created by The Perth Mint in association with the Smithsonian Institution in America, where one of the original issues now resides.

For more information see:

Port Phillip Kangaroo Gold Proof Four-Medallion Replica Collection
Port Phillip Kangaroo1/4oz Gold Proof Replica

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Jul 232013
 

Australia’s Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce, has warmly congratulated the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of a baby boy.

The royal baby was born at 4.24pm weighing 8lbs 6oz, according to the official announcement posted on a gold-coloured easel outside Buckingham Palace in London. The Prince is third in line to the throne.

“The birth of a baby is an experience to celebrate and cherish. We wish the new parents every happiness and send warm greetings of welcome to the little Prince,” the Governor-General said.

With Royal connections since our foundation in 1899, The Perth Mint echoes the Governor-General’s good wishes. We are delighted to be working on a commemorative coin which we are hopeful of releasing in the very near future.

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Jul 192013
 

Agricultural societies developed in the 19th century to encourage the development of new farming techniques and celebrate the activities and achievements of rural communities. Annual shows emerged as key forums for the exchange of ideas and arenas in which their hard work and skill was acknowledged and rewarded.

Agricultural_medal_Herberton

Issued by the Herberton Mining, Pastoral & Agricultural Association, this medal was struck at the Sydney Mint circa 1890.

From early in their history, agricultural and pastoral associations sought to raise standards by encouraging farmers and graziers to compete for prizes in the form of inscribed medals. When the three year-old Sydney Mint added a screw press to its coining presses in 1858, Australia at last had reliable machinery to make medals appropriate to standards required by colonial governments, educational institutions, learned societies, the agricultural sector and others.

In A History of Medal Production at the Sydney Mint 1858-1926, author Susie Davies classifies agricultural medals as one of the Mint’s six main stylistic genres. “Australian agricultural medals tended to have an obverse depicting a farmyard or an agricultural scene, all similar in composition and style. The reverse… usually comprised a wreath, a beaded circle close to the edge, or a border which contained the society or association’s title.”

Agricultural_medal_Peak-Downs

Peak Downs Pastoral & Agricultural Society Prize (uninscribed) circa 1890.

The Perth Mint is privileged to be the custodian of several agricultural society medals dating from this period. Featuring an image of a horse, bull, ram and ewe together with a wreath of fruits and wheat arching above a farm-yard scene, the Peak Downs Pastoral & Agricultural Society medal is a classic example.

Undoubtedly, such designs reflected British interpretations of rural life. This worked well for colonial medallists at this time as they sought to characterise agriculture as a fruitful and prosperous activity undeterred by Australia’s difficult and unfamiliar environments.

Agricultural_medal_Stock-Design

Agricultural medal displaying the work of Queensland engraver Robert Capner.

When a particular society did not possess sufficient funds to have its own dies prepared, stock medals were available like this one (left) portraying two farm horses. The reverse bears the letters ‘RC SC’, identifying Robert Capner, Sculptor, a Brisbane die sinker who engraved dies from the 1870s for a large number of Queensland medals that were struck at the Sydney Mint. As far as we can deduce, it represents Capner’s close copy of a design originally engraved by English medallist Joseph Moore.

In time, prizes at agricultural shows became rosettes and ribbons, leaving these historic medals as fascinating records of rural life and the determination to achieve progress on the land. As such, there is no doubt they represent unique items of Australian agricultural heritage.

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Jul 092013
 

So why did we choose garnet as a gemstone closely associated with Europe for the first coin in our Treasures of the World gold and silver ‘locket’ coin series? [Watch video]

Significant deposits of garnet have been found in Europe, particularly in areas of the Czech Republic where it has been mined from the mountains of Bohemia for over 600 years.

Bohemian garnet became extremely fashionable during the Victorian era and was presented to important people as valuable gifts and jewellery, including Czar Nicholas in 1833, the Crown Prince Rudolph Habsburg in 1871, and French actress Sarah Bernhard in 1888.

Bohemian_Garnet_Jewellery

Examples of Bohemian garnet jewellery.
(Credit: Czech Geological Survey)

The gem’s sparkle and refractive qualities means this stone remains just as popular today. A garnet set composed of a necklace, bracelet, brooch and earrings containing 1,280 Bohemian garnets set in 18-carat gold, was presented to HM Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her visit to the Czech Republic in 1990. A silver cross featuring Bohemian garnet was presented to Pope John Paul II in 1993.

GARNET – FACTS AND FOLKLORE

  • The name garnet stems from the Greek word for pomegranate, a fruit with clusters of fiery red seeds.
  • Early travellers carried garnet as it was thought to be a talisman and a protective stone.
  • According to legend, Noah used a garnet lantern to steer the ark at night.
  • Since antiquity garnets have been inlaid to create stunning jewellery and decorative objects known as cloisonné.
  • Science has revealed that garnet is a group of silicate minerals that share a common crystal structure but vary in their chemical composition.
  • Garnet displays the greatest variety of colours of any mineral – including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black and pink.
  • Blue garnet is said to be one of the rarest gem species in the mineral kingdom.
  • Thanks to its fine abrasion qualities, industrial garnet is used for sanding in cabinetry and woodworking.
  • The popular gemstone variety of deep red garnet is believed by some to symbolize passion, loyalty, success, energy, faith and truth.
  • Garnet, the birthstone for January, is also said to signify eternal friendship and trust.Treasures_Garnet_gold&Silver

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Jul 042013
 

The 1954 Royal Visit commemorative florin marked Queen Elizabeth II’s first tour of Australia which was characterised by huge, adoring crowds wherever she went. Four million of these coins were issued, becoming proud possessions in many Australian households.

Featuring a lion and a kangaroo standing side-by-side, the design symbolised Anglo-Australian solidarity. It was prepared by Sydney-born sculptor William Leslie Bowles, who studied at London’s Royal Academy and served with the Royal Tank Corps during World War I before returning home to work at the Australian War Memorial. Well-known pieces by Bowles include The man with the donkey, a tribute to Private Simpson’s courage at Gallipoli, and the Sir John Monash memorial in Melbourne.

The Queen set foot on Australian soil for the first time on 3 February 1954. Sadly, Bowles died a few weeks later and would never have known exactly how sought-after his commemorative design became.

1954_Florin_Pack

The Perth Mint is proud to hold an example of 1954 Royal Visit florin in its historic collection, and is currently offering you the chance to add this distinctive Australian pre-decimal to yours. Making an eye-catching display, the coin is housed on a delightfully illustrated presentation card portraying a young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Australia.

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