Mar 072014

In 2014 the Royal Australian Air Force will celebrate the centenary of the first flight of an Australian military aircraft, the Bristol Military Biplane, commonly known as a Bristol Boxkite.

Prior to the establishment of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1921, the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) was responsible for operating military aircraft throughout the country. The AFC made its home at Point Cook in Victoria in 1913, after the Federal Government approved  the establishment of the Central Flying School (CFS) in 1912 and purchased five aircraft.

One of the CFS’s first instructors, Lieutenant Eric Harrison, made Australian military history when he took a Bristol Boxkite for a flight at the aviation school on 1 March 1914. This historic moment is recognised as the starting point of military flying in Australia.

Developed in the United Kingdom in 1910 by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, the Bristol Boxkite was first flown on 29 July that year. Considered to be a state-of-the-art aeroplane for its time, it was also one of the most successful military training aircraft.

Painstakingly constructed, this Bristol Boxkite replica aircraft is expected to be one of the major drawcards at the Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show, starting today at the RAAF Museum Point Cook.

The Bristol Boxkite was instrumental in the evolution of military aviation in Australia. It was the first military aeroplane flown in this country, and in 1915, it also became the first official military aircraft to be built on our shores, constructed by the CFS at Point Cook and used to train the nation’s first military pilots.

Over the next 100 years, military aviation went on to become a vital part of the Australian Defence Force.  During the First World War, 800 officers and 2,840 men served in the AFC. In World War II, Australian aircrew fought throughout the world including Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, over the North Atlantic, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, India and Asia.

By the end of 1944, the RAAF consisted of more than 182,000 personnel and 6,200 aircraft in 61 squadrons. By 1945, Australia had the fourth-largest air force in the world.

Today, the RAAF employs some 14,000 men and women, supported by 4,000 Air Force Reservists and 800 civilian public servants, at numerous offices and 11 major bases across Australia and has operated F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft since 1984.

Struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver, no more than 5,000 of these 2014 100 Years of Australian Military Aviation commemorative coins will be released. The reverse of the coin depicts a representation of a Bristol aeroplane propeller with a military Boxkite flying under the propeller blade and an F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft soaring above the blade.


Image of F/A 18F courtesy of Australian Defence Force. Image of Boxkite courtesy of James Kightly.


Mar 062014

When it comes to creepy aliens, Weeping Angels must be some of the most spine-chilling adversaries the Doctor has ever encountered.

Said to be as old as the universe itself, they are winged humanoids that are seen to stand statue-still. Yet, when no other creature is looking at them, they can move surprisingly swiftly.

The Doctor once observed that they are “the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely.” With just a touch they can dispatch any other being into the past. Then they feed on the time energy of what would have been the rest of their victim’s life.

This Weeping Angel coin is a magnificent follow-up to the recent Dalek release from the Doctor Who Monsters series. Don’t hesitate to get your claws on one – if you dare!



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Mar 052014

2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War – an horrendous conflict that drew millions of people from around the globe into mechanised warfare more deadly than anything previously seen.

Those who rushed to the seat of conflict in Europe included Antipodeans from the opposite side of the world who saw it as their duty to support the Mother Country – Great Britain – in her hour of need.

Unbeknown to them at the time, Australians and New Zealanders who departed Western Australia at the end of 1914 were, in fact, on a date with destiny at Gallipoli, a strategically important peninsula overlooking Turkey’s Dardanelles Strait.

The dreadful casualties experienced by ANZAC troops during this eight-month failed campaign resulted in the rate of reinforcements slowing down. In response, the Government issued a series of propaganda posters impressing upon eligible males the need to fight.

The Perth Mint is proud to begin its commemorations of World War I with a remarkable collector coin series featuring historic Australian Posters of World War I – commencing with ‘A Call From The Dardanelles’ by artist H.M. Burton.


Image ARTV05167 from Australian War Memorial. Reproductions of World War I posters are available from the Australian War Memorial.

The image features a WWI digger in a slouch hat standing astride the Dardanelles, one foot on the Gallipoli peninsula and the other on Asia Minor, calling out the Australian bush cry of ‘coo-ee’. By 1915, when the poster was made, strong Australian symbolism rather than references to Britain and the Empire were deemed to deliver a more effective message to men at home.

Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver and limited to a maximum mintage of just 5,000, this coin is to be followed by four more annual releases featuring historic posters relating to the Australian Red Cross, War Bonds, Home Front and Peace Bonds.



Mar 042014

William Shakespeare, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, was born 450 years ago. In celebration, The Perth Mint has created an extremely limited commemorative struck from 5oz of 99.9% pure silver.

With a diameter of 60mm, the large coin provided senior designer Wade Robinson with plenty of room to explore a range of Shakespearean themes, including a likeness of the ‘immortal bard’ that was created using a highly unusual artistic process.

Wade’s design concept represents Shakespeare within the context of Elizabethan theatre.  Playhouses were extraordinarily popular in late 16th century England and Shakespeare had a share in one of the most famous, London’s Globe Theatre, which staged many of his most prominent works.

Theatres like the Globe comprised a ‘pit’ in which ordinary patrons stood to watch the performance, as well as surrounding galleries for wealthier members of the audience. Wade’s representation of this structure, including the open roof which creates space in the design to reveal the coin’s proof table, incorporates a number of Shakespearean figures. On stage, an actor symbolises one of his many lead characters, while in the galleries are motifs denoting famous scenes from Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Henry V.


Above this area of the design is a circular border containing a representation of the bard himself, rendered in a remarkable fashion previously unseen on any previous Perth Mint commemorative.

The technique employs one continuous line that spirals outwards with subtle variations in width to create a recognisable picture. It took Wade many hours of painstaking work to draw a likeness of Shakespeare’s face in this way.


Senior designer Wade Robinson shows off the William Shakespeare 5oz silver coin.

The intricate result was then laser engraved on to the master die, from which the working dies required to strike the coin were produced. As far as we know, the outcome is in fact the first ever coin to include an image created in this way.

The Perth Mint will release no more than 450 of these 450th Anniversary of William Shakespeare 2014 5oz Silver Proof Coins. Their rarity and innovation befits the extraordinary achievements of the world’s greatest dramatist.


Mar 042014

2014MiniRooHere’s your chance to win an iconic Australian 99.99% pure gold coin.

The reverse of the 2014 Mini Roo portrays a kangaroo in a classic standing stance. The obverse depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The coin comes in a protective acrylic capsule presented in a wallet-sized display card.

Simply rearrange the following letters to solve the anagram.

What are the three different names for a male kangaroo?

How to enter: Email your answer to marking your reply ‘March 2014 Anagram Competition’ in the subject line. Please include your name, address and telephone number. Entries close on 31 March 2014. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email. Terms and conditions.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for notification of anagrams and other great coin competitions.

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Last month’s winner: Clinton McQueen of Victoria for the correct answer of ‘pans for gold’.


Mar 042014

WHAT’S NEW – there’s so much to report this month!

Australian Posters of World War I: a timely five-year series of rectangular-shaped silver proof coins which begins with Enlistment, portraying ‘A Call from the Dardanelles’.

100 Years of Australian Military Aviation: a silver proof commemorative marking the centenary of the first flight of an Australian military aircraft – the Bristol Military Biplane.

450th Anniversary of William Shakespeare: an extremely limited 5oz silver proof issue incorporating a special ‘spiral’ illustration of the immortal bard.

Australia Map Shaped Series – Koala: the penultimate release from this unique program of silver proof coins portraying native wildlife.

Doctor Who Monsters: a series of 1/2oz silver proof coins portraying five terrifying aliens – now including the Daleks and Weeping Angels.

Charlie Chaplin – 100 Years of Laughter: special gold and silver releases celebrating the much-admired comic genius.

Australian Antarctic Territory – Wandering Albatross:  the latest silver proof release from a popular series studying the history and wildlife of Earth’s southern polar region.

Australian Megafauna – Genyornis: the third of five releases portraying giant, extinct animals that once inhabited Australia.

Super Senses: the inaugural release in our new Superpower Series from the Young Collectors program.

PLUS two Coin Show Specials.

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