Oct 182013
 

The Perth Mint has launched a new series of coins featuring Australian megafauna.

The term (mega meaning ‘very large’ – fauna meaning ‘animals’) describes a range of super-sized vertebrates – animals with backbones – that emerged after the dinosaurs. Favoured by conditions at that time, they were able to grow much larger than is common today.

Megafauna did not only exist in Australia. Woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers are legendary examples that roamed other parts of the world.

Australia’s unique megafauna included:

  • Procoptodon – at up to three metres tall, the largest kangaroo known
  • Diprotodon – sometimes referred to as the giant wombat
  • Genyornis – a colossal flightless bird with great long running legs
  • Thylacoleo a carnivorous marsupial that weighed well over 100kg
  • Megalania – the largest land lizard ever to live in Australia
Procoptodon-Silver-Coin

Procoptodon – the first coin from the Australian Megafauna 1oz Silver Proof Coin Series

Many megafauna species became extinct during the Pleistocene, an epoch that lasted until around 12,000 years ago. There are several theories behind their disappearance, meaning we’re not entirely sure what happened.

Plentiful evidence for their existence, however, is found in limestone caves across Australia. These caves were formed when water dissolved soft rock beneath the surface. Eventually their roofs started collapsing, creating sink-holes that were deadly traps for unsuspecting animals.

Some of the most famous caves are located at Naracoorte in South Australia. They acted as pitfall traps for hundreds of thousands of years, becoming huge depositories for all sorts of animal remains – including extinct megafauna.

Since 1969, palaeontologists have excavated and dated many fossils from Naracoorte, which was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

Visualising megafauna today

Peter-Trusler

Peter Trusler.

Today, we can visualise with astonishingly accuracy what Australian megafauna looked like thanks to the work of highly-skilled paleo-illustrators such as Peter Trusler, who goes to extraordinary lengths to create authentic imagery.

Often faced with only fragmentary evidence from the fossil record, Peter compares his role to that of a detective looking for clues. At the outset of each illustration, he spends much time researching literature, visiting museums and talking to scientific experts to create an understanding of the context in which the animal lived and behaved.

Combining these considerations with physical fossil evidence, Peter painstakingly builds up a representation of the animal’s skeleton. Drawn from several angles, his sketches provide a good appreciation of its three-dimensional shape.

In collaboration with anatomists, these images can be equated to modern animals, enabling him to start to understand the types of muscle systems that attached and operated over these bone surfaces. “So gradually, I’m piecing together the muscles to flesh it out to give you an idea of the shape of the living animal,” says Peter.

Megafauna_sketches

Clockwise from top left: Diprotodon, Megalania, Genyornis, Thylacoleo, Procoptodon – as drawn by Peter Trusler for the Australian Megafauna series.

All in all, it is a lengthy process that invariably takes longer to investigate than it does to produce the final artwork.

“It may take me six months to talk to the scientists, read the literature, visit the museums and pull all that work together to get an idea of what I should do in the final painting,” he says. “After that, it may only take me a month or two to do the actual painting!”

Peter’s rigorous, multi-disciplinary approach has won many plaudits; his work has been published around the world in books and journals, on posters and on stamps. Collections of his magnificent art pieces are held in both national and international archives, most notably the Australia Post Philatelic Collection in Melbourne, Museum Victoria, also in Melbourne, and the National Geographic Society Collection, Washington.

Now his stunning illustrations of Megafauna also appear on a collectable series of Australian coins.


Win a framed megafauna sketch signed by the artist

The Perth Mint is offering collectors the chance to take out a subscription to all five coins in the Australian Megafauna Series.

A subscription guarantees collectors availability of all five coins and offers two more attractive benefits:

  • automatic entry to a free draw for one of two framed sketches signed by the artist, Peter Trusler. (Eligible subscriptions must be taken out by Monday 11 November 2013 – see Terms and Conditions.)

Megafauna_sketch_prize

  • a complimentary five-coin plastic presentation sleeve in which to protect and display the entire series. (Shipped with the third coin in March 2014.)

Megafauna_sleeve

Download the subscription order form or call 1300 663 991 to arrange a subscription now.

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Oct 182013
 

Anticipation is building ahead of the latest ‘regeneration’ of Doctor Who.

Regeneration allows Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey to undergo a transformation into a new physical form with a different personality.

To date, there have been eleven Doctors and hence ten regenerations. The eleventh regeneration will occur in the 2013 Christmas special, when Matt Smith’ Doctor will be replaced by Peter Capaldi’s version.

We hope you like this amazing infographic looking back through time at the personalities and adversaries of the eleven Doctors since William Hartnell played the first Doctor 50 years ago in 1963.

The stunning presentation also reveals the eleven coin designs included in the new Doctor Who 50th Anniversary 2013 1/2oz Silver Proof Set. With an issue limit of just 3,000, each set is housed in a presentation case representing the Doctor’s famous fob watch. Each set comes with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity also featuring these superb graphics:

DoctorWho_blog_infographicClick here to reveal

Peter Davison’s fifth Doctor
Colin Baker’s sixth Doctor
Sylvester McCoy’s seventh Doctor
Paul McGann’s eight Doctor
Christoper Eccleston’s ninth Doctor
David Tennant’s tenth Doctor
Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor

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Oct 172013
 

The following coin releases are now sold out at The Perth Mint.

HRH Prince George 2013 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 1,000 sold out
Queen Elizabeth 60th Anniversary of Coronation
2013 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 1,000 sold out
Queen Elizabeth 60th Anniversary of Coronation
2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 5,000 sold out
Discover Australia – Kangaroo
2013 1/2oz Gold Proof Coin
Issue Limit: 50 sold out

 

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Oct 162013
 

If you’re in Melbourne, don’t miss The Perth Mint at the inaugural International Coin and Banknote Show being held at Etihad Stadium between 18 and 20 October 2013.

Among the many interesting things going on, you’ll find:

  • Our first ‘lenticular’ release in several years. With an issue limit of just 2,000, the 2013 Sister Cities – Melbourne/St Petersburg 1oz Silver Proof Coin Show Special will be available for $95 (RRP $104).
  • The official launch of Australian Megafauna. The first coin of a sensational collector series will be introduced by renowned pre-historic animal illustrator Peter Trusler, who will also be signing certificates.
  • A busy seminar program for coin collectors and bullion investors, including free sessions on Saturday 19 by our Sales and Marketing Director, Ron Currie; and Manager, Analysis and Strategy, Bron Suchecki.

Presented by the Australasian Numismatic Dealers Association (ANDA), the Melbourne International Coin and Banknote Show is being billed as the largest coin show in Australia in the past 10-20 years.

With many Australian dealers, representation from Mints in Britain and Canada, as well as International Auction Galleries’ latest sale taking place on Saturday night, it’s an event packed with interest.

Click here for full details of opening times, admission prices and more.

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Oct 092013
 
Ludwig_Leichardt

Ludwig Leichhardt was born 200 years ago in 1813

Ludwig Leichhardt vanished without trace in 1848 while attempting to cross Australia from east to west through the continent’s vast, arid centre – a place unknown to Europeans.

The Prussian-born natural scientist, who arrived in Sydney in 1842, achieved fame as a daring explorer by completing 5,000 hazardous kilometres between a remote outpost on the Darling Downs and Port Essington on Australia’s northern tip.

Long given up for dead, Leichhardt was lauded as a national hero – the “Prince of Explorers” – when he and his party arrived back in Sydney in March 1846 after a remarkable journey of scientific discovery.

Leichhardt recorded his observations in numerous manuscript diaries, letters, notebooks, sketch-books and maps – an enduring legacy to Australian science.

Two hundred years after his birth on 23 October 1813, he remains a figure of intense interest – not least because of his mysterious disappearance which has entered into the nation’s mythology.

Leichardt

The Perth Mint and Australia Post are pleased to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of German naturalist and explorer Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt with this superb new Stamp and Coin Cover featuring a commemorative Australian coin and stamps of Germany and Australia.

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Oct 022013
 

The Perth Mint has issued 2014-dated gold and silver tributes to A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, who was born 150 years ago in 1864. Among the trio of new releases is a spectacular 5oz silver proof coin presented with a gold-foiled replica of the front of Australia’s $10 banknote.

Australia’s $10 Banknote

The real-life $10 banknote has been associated with the famous bush poet since 1993. Designer Max Robinson incorporated several references to Paterson’s life and work on the front.

Do you know what they are?

Ten_Dollar_banknote

  1. The portrait of Banjo Paterson is based on a photograph taken at the time of his return from the Boer War in 1900. As a war correspondent, he filed graphic accounts of the fighting for the Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age, and also the international news agency Reuters.
  2. Facing the portrait, the horseman reflects Paterson’s lifelong enthusiasm for horses and horsemanship, which resulted in his famous equestrian ballads.
  3. The horseman is rounding up ‘brumbies’ (wild horses) which are seen emerging over Paterson’s left shoulder. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, they are based on pictures that appeared in The Australian Newspaper in 1870 and The Illustrated Sydney News in 1875.
  4. The images are inspired by ‘The Man From Snowy River’ – underneath are the famous poem’s opening lines: There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around That the colt from old Regret had got away
  5. The ‘Waltzing Matilda’ logo, seen right of Paterson’s hat, was taken from Marie Cowan’s sheet music for Waltzing Matilda published in 1903. In possibly the first product placement ever, Cowan changed the words of the chorus to promote Billy Tea.
  6. Microprinted lines from ’The Man from Snowy River’ also appear next to Paterson’s portrait. You’ll probably need a magnifying glass to see this amazing security feature on the real $10 note.

150th Anniversary of A.B.”Banjo” Paterson 2014 5oz Silver Proof Coin

The Mint’s 5oz silver coin tribute to Banjo Paterson features a struck version of the poet’s portrait incorporating his signature. The coin’s reverse also features a coloured scene from ‘The Man From Snowy River’.

BanjoPatersonCoin_Note_Set

Just 250 of these 5oz silver proof coins, which come in presentation packaging with a gold-foiled replica $10 note, make a memorable tribute to Australia’s renowned bush poet Banjo Paterson.

Other coins in this series are:

150th Anniversary of A.B. “Banjo” Paterson 2014 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin

150th Anniversary of A.B. “Banjo” Paterson 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin

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