The Perth Mint was the first mint in the world to issue legal tender coins displaying ‘moving’ lenticular images.
You may remember notable lenticular coins celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the First Moon Walk, the 60th Anniversary of the End of World War II, and 50 Years of Australian Television.
The concept has made a welcome return in the form of an Australian coin celebrating the sister cities of Melbourne and St Petersburg. Begun in 1989, theirs is the only such cooperative partnership between cities in Australia and Russia.
Changing the angle at which the coin is viewed causes the reverse to ‘morph’ between Flinders Street Station in Melbourne and the Admiralty building in St Petersburg.
- The Admiralty was one of the first structures to be built when Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703. Originally a fortified dockyard where ships for the Baltic fleet were built, it was transformed in the 19th century into a marvellous example of the Russian Empire style. With its gilded spire topped by a golden weather-vane in the shape of a small sail warship, it is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
- A design competition was held in 1899 for the replacement of the old sheds of the Melbourne terminus. Opened in 1910, James Fawcett and H. P. C. Ashworth’s winning entry for the main building was said to have embraced the French Renaissance style. With its prominent dome, arched entrance, tower and clocks, Flinders Street Station is a cultural icon and one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks.
Made from 99.9% pure silver, the coin was released as a ‘show special’ at the inaugural Melbourne International Coin Show with an issue limit of just 2,000. Remaining coins in this issue are now available for sale on the website.
How lenticular works
Very basically, the lenticular concept requires two components: a printed image and a lenticular lens screen through which the image is viewed.
The image requires two or more graphics to be spliced together in very fine strips – a process often referred to as ‘interlacing’.
The interlaced image is printed or attached to a clear plastic sheet featuring thousands of fine elongated lenses, or ‘lenticules’, on its surface.
Depending on the angle of observation, the carefully configured lenses reveal different slices of the interlaced image in a way that makes sense to the viewer.
The lenticular ability to show two distinct images was the perfect choice for a coin featuring two iconic city images!