Aug 212013
 

The final coin in our Australian Seasons series portrays Spring – traditionally the time when nature bursts back into life.

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The Spring coin portrays white cockatoos framed by brightly coloured Banksia and Wax flowers with an evening sky that hints of longer days.


Did you know? The familiar four-season calendar was brought to Australia by settlers in 1788. Even though we continue with it today, the system is not particularly suited to our massive continent.

Indigenous people identified seasons based on local conditions. For example, the Noongars of Australia’s south-west, which includes Perth, acknowledge six seasons. Other groups have only two, while some have eight!

An intimate knowledge of the local environment was paramount to Aborigines for survival. Thus seasons were also associated with such things as the availability of seeds and fruits or the migration of birds and other animals.

This time of year in the Noongar calendar is Djiiba, a period when roots were collected and emus, possums and kangaroos were hunted. [www.noongar.org.au/]

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, different seasonal cycles described by Aboriginal peoples from all over Australia “produces a far more intricate and subtle overview of Australia’s climate than the four-season European climate description of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, applied as it is across most areas of the continent.”

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Aug 162013
 

Assembled over many decades, The Perth Mint’s historic collection is a treasure trove of fascinating coins and medals from around the world. Check out these previous from the Vault posts that are now building into an absorbing historical record of many pieces in the Mint’s safekeeping.


Not only does this eye-catching medal feature in the Mint’s historic collection, but we found that another example is held by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, suggesting it must have quite some significance.

Two factors provoked our curiosity: its striking Art Deco design and the unusual fact that it’s made from 99.9% nickel. So what’s its story?

TMond_medallionhe back identifies the issuer as Mond Nickel Company, a UK business founded in 1900 by Ludwig Mond, the inventor of the nickel refining process. That clearly explains the choice of metal!

Although the company had mining assets in Canada, it shipped most of its raw material back to Britain for purification. This modus operandi must have made it exactly the sought of business the organisers of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition were keen to attract.

Their aim was to alert the public that in the exploitation of raw materials of the Empire, new sources of wealth could be produced. Officially, their intention was “to stimulate trade, strengthen bonds that bind mother Country to her Sister States and Daughters, to bring into closer contact the one with each other, to enable all who owe allegiance to the British flag to meet on common ground and learn to know each other”.

To celebrate its attendance at this landmark event, Mond commissioned Percy Metcalfe to design its commemorative medal. An inspired choice, Metfcalfe rose to fame with his designs for the first coinage of the Irish Free State in 1928 and thereafter several other nations. He is remembered in Australia particularly for the obverse of the 1935 Australian florin showing George V.

The dominant Mond_medallion2feature of his design for Mond was Britannia, symbolising the Mother Country as the  driving force and leading industrial power in the Empire. Below appears part of a globe depicting iconic animals representing resource-rich dominions: a springbok for South Africa; a beaver for Canada; a tiger for India; and a kangaroo signifying Australia.

The piece foresaw a bright future. “In his recognisably Art Deco design Percy Metcalfe captures the driving spirit of modernity. By concentrating on simple geometric shapes he implies strength and vitality,” the V&A notes. But the Empire was at its zenith: by the mid-twentieth century its sun had set – leaving Metcalfe’s medal as a fascinating historical reminder of its former glory.

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Aug 082013
 

The anxiously awaited royal baby was safely delivered at 4.24pm on 22 July at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

To the relief of millions of eager well-wishers, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge soon-after announced they’d named the future king George Alexander Louis.

The pronouncement sparked immediate and feverish activity here at The Perth Mint as engravers set to work finalising our commemorative coin dies with the Prince’s name and date of birth.

Within hours the reverse designs had been transmitted to London for presentation at Clarence House and Buckingham Palace where they received the approval of Her Majesty The Queen.

Now, following confirmation from the Treasurer’s office in Canberra that the coins are official legal tender, we’re delighted to unveil the designs just 17 days after the royal birth!

Created by Perth Mint illustrator Jennifer McKenna, the touching imagery depicts an adoring Duke and Duchess of Cambridge cradling and gazing at the newborn Prince.

This focal point is encircled by a sculpted ribbon tied in a bow supporting a delicate bouquet of acorns and fleur de lys – symbols from the Duke and Duchess’ Coats of Arms, as well as the all-important inscription: IN CELEBRATION OF THE BIRTH OF HRH PRINCE GEORGE.

Just 1,000 1/4oz gold proof coins and 10,000 1oz silver proof coins are available for sale worldwide. Each is presented in a gift box within a stylised shipper and accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

The Perth Mint is privileged to have been allowed to honour many milestones in the history of the monarchy. The birth of a future king is an especially memorable event and to have successfully released these exceptional Australian legal tender coins in so short a period is particularly rewarding.

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Aug 072013
 
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These colourful Birds of Australia have been brought to life with stunning artistry and attention to detail by the inspired hand of designer Natasha Muhl.

With the release of the fifth and final coin featuring a Splendid Fairy-Wren, now is an ideal time to swoop on the entire series!

The Splendid Fairy-Wren is a captivating little bird with a long cocked tail.  It lives in woodlands where it is seen hopping through the understorey searching for insects to eat. When looking for a mate, the male turns an iridescent blue – often referred to as his ‘nuptial plumage’.

Struck in the popular 1/2oz size, these 99.9% pure silver coins are issued as Australian legal tender and housed in a classic display casing with numbered Certificates of Authenticity ratifying each coin’s weight and fineness.

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Aug 062013
 

LDU_Surfing_silverSurfing is a part of Australian culture as much as barbeques and backyard cricket. From surf school novices to professional wave riders, Australians love it when the surf’s up!

The latest silver coin from our iconic The Land Down Under series pays homage to Australia’s surfing community. No more than 5,000 of these 1oz silver proof coins will be released, each housed in a unique Australian map-shaped latex case.

For your chance to win this stunning coin, simply rearrange the following letters to solve the anagram.

Clue: Famous Sydney surfing location.

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How to enter: Email your answer to anagram@perthmint.com.au. Mark your reply or subject line ‘August 2013 Anagram Competition’ and include your name, telephone and membership number, or the Twitter username you use to follow @perthmint. Entries close on 2 September 2013. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email. (T&Cs)

Last month’s winner: Deb Harrison of the NT.

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