Apr 292014
 

100YearsMilitaryAviationAn example of our recently released 100 Years of Australian Military Aviation 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin is now on permanent display at the Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia.

There is no better place in Australia for aero enthusiasts to enjoy the centenary coin release, as our recent visit to the RAAFA-run attraction in Bull Creek, Perth, testified.

There we met Museum Manager John Park, and RAAFA State President Graeme Bland, both brimming with knowledge and anecdotes about the 30-odd aircraft and thousands of aviation artefacts in which they take obvious pride.

Within the Museum’s two giant hangar-like wings resides an unrivalled collection of historic military and commercial flying machines. In keeping with the theme of our coin, we were naturally drawn to some of the remarkable military exhibits.

AviationHeritageMuseum

These include a gleaming Canberra bomber, which served with the RAAF in Malaya and Vietnam; an iconic Spitfire, which originally belonged to the RAF; and a beautifully restored Catalina – a superb example of the famous flying boats once seen regularly on the Swan River and Sydney Harbour.

But pride of place, for many, will surely go to the Avro Lancaster, the World War II heavy bomber inescapably associated with the bravery of the Dambusters (No. 617 Squadron), formed in 1943 with airmen from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Graham_Bland

RAAFA State President Graeme Bland with the 100 Years of Military Aviation coin donated by The Perth Mint.

Post-war, the Lancaster proved useful in a variety of roles around the world. The French Navy, for example, used them for maritime reconnaissance and search-and-rescue roles, basing a number in New Caledonia to the east of Australia.

As these aircraft came towards the end of their service-lives, the RAAFA made a bold request to the French authorities for one of the planes – and, after a little negotiation, was rewarded with its very own Lancaster. It arrived in Perth in memorable fashion, flying over the closing ceremony of the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Perry Lakes.

According to John Park, payment amounted to flying the French aircrew back to their Pacific base at Nouméa – about $800 at that time!

For more than 20 years the Lancaster could be seen at Perth Airport where, with no suitable hangar for protection from the elements, its condition gradually deteriorated. In 1983 it was moved to the North Wing of the new Museum at Bull Creek. Today it is a shining tribute to the hard-work and dedication of the Museum’s many expert volunteers who have restored it to closely resemble a pre-1945 version in war-time camouflage colours.

“It is the best restored Lancaster in the world in terms of original internal features,” John Park said, “and one of just 24 still in existence in various states.”

If you’d like to see the 100 Years of Australian Military Aviation silver coin in the amazing Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia, and perhaps take the ‘Inside Lancaster Tour’, click here for further information.

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Apr 232014
 

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

2014Stockhorse_thmb The Australian Stock Horse 2014 1oz Silver Coin (on card)
Maximum Mintage: 10,000 Sold Out
Shakespeare_thmb 450th Anniversary of the Birth of William Shakespeare
2014 5oz Silver Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 450 Sold Out
2014BerlinCSS_thmb World Money Fair – Berlin Coin Show Special
Australian Kangaroo 2014 1oz Silver Coloured Coin
Maximum Mintage: 2,000 Sold Out
Baby_Horse._hmb Baby Horse 2014 1/2oz Silver Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 7,500 Sold Out

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Apr 222014
 

The second release from the Gods of Olympus series will be released on 3 June 2014.

The coin portrays Poseidon – the God of the Sea. According to ancient Greek mythology, Poseidon was adept at gathering clouds and creating violent storms, and responsible for shipwrecks and the drowning of many souls. However, he also held the power to grant a ship a successful voyage, and to save those in danger. Poseidon was often referred to as the ‘earth-shaker’ due to his penchant for causing earthquakes.PoseidonLike Zeus, the original release in the Gods of Olympus series, Poseidon is a rimless high-relief coin struck from 2oz of 99.9% pure silver with an ‘antiqued’ finish. It has a maximum mintage is just 1,500.

The spectacular new coin will be available on The Perth Mint website at 00.01am, Tuesday 3 June Australian Western Standard Time. Poseidon will also be available from authorised Perth Mint coin distributors.

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Apr 172014
 

In an exciting development, a host of Disney cartoon characters will be immortalised on gold and silver commemorative coins over the next two years.

DisneyLogo_Script

From hilarious figures like Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto, to the stars of classics including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, the coin program is set to delight all who have been touched by the magic of Disney.

Naturally, a series of such magnitude could not begin without gold and silver coins dedicated to Mickey Mouse.  So fittingly, the most famous Disney character of them all appears on the inaugural releases in a design that depicts Mickey in 1928.

Mickey Mouse

In 1927, Walt Disney conceived a character with a round white face, big button nose and floppy black ears. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, however, was a hit for Universal, which owned the rights to the character.

Disney’s setback proved to be a watershed, for it inspired him to create an even more engaging character to which he indisputably laid claim.

Walt thought of a mouse character that would incidentally bear resemblance to Oswald. An early change to the new character was his proposed name. According to legend, Walt Disney had originally wanted to name the mouse Mortimer, but his wife, Lillian, objected and suggested Mickey instead. Mickey Mouse began his rise to mega-stardom with the release of Steamboat Willie in November 1928.

Steamboat Willie


Even though it was the third of Mickey’s films to be produced, Steamboat Willie was the first Mickey cartoon to be released. Consequently, it marks his on-screen debut, as well as that of his girlfriend, Minnie.

The film is notable for being the first cartoon with synchronized sound. It was also the first cartoon to feature a post-produced soundtrack using a fifteen-piece band and the voice of Walt Disney himself as Mickey.

Disney_MM

Produced from 1/4oz of gold and 1oz of silver, the stunning new coins feature a still frame from an early scene where Mickey Mouse is seen cheerfully standing at the boat’s wheel.

Fans will want to act fast, for with just 1,000 gold coins and 10,000 silver coins available for release worldwide, this Disney series is off to a fantastic start!

Disney – Steamboat Willie 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Disney – Steamboat Willie 2014 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin

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Apr 152014
 

WavyBaseline20cThe 1966 wavy baseline 20 cent coin is counted among Australia’s rarest decimal coins issued for circulation. Although 58.2 million 20 cent coins were struck dated 1966, very, very few of these feature what collector’s describe as a ‘wavy baseline’.

The way to identify the wavy baseline 20 cent coin is to look at the bottom section of the “2” on the tails side. The top and bottom edges of the base of the “2” on all standard 20 cent coins are straight, while on the 1966 wavy baseline 20 cent coin, the upper edge of the base of the “2” has an obvious wave to it.

This seemingly minor, yet quite distinct difference really sets this coin aside from all of the other coins injected into the Australian economy following the introduction of decimal currency on February 14th, 1966. Well-circulated coins dated 1966 can still be found in change nearly half a century later, whereas the 1966 20 cent with the wavy baseline is very seldom seen in any condition at numismatic auctions.

Wavy_Baseline_comparison

Coins relating to the introduction of decimal currency are hugely popular with the general public – scores of the round 50 cent coins have been hoarded, many thousands of proof and mint sets from 1966 were sold also. Very few collectors will have such an exclusive and intriguing memento relating to the introduction of decimal currency as this however.

Just what the cause of this design difference is not yet clear – debate is still underway as to whether the wave is due to one or two dies being engraved slightly differently to all others, or whether another explanation might be appropriate.

It is interesting to note online discussions of a design anomaly on several coins in the USA that may or may not be relevant to the 1966 wavy baseline – those coins are known as having “wavy steps” or “trails”.

US numismatists that have studied these coins in great detail advise that such errors come about when dies are being created:

“When a blank, conical die is placed in the hubbing press a huge amount of pressure is applied to it. This effectively transfers the image that is on the hub (either master hub or working hub), through compression, to the die. Without atypical conditions occurring horizontal movement between the hub and the die is not produced and the result is a normal image being transferred to the die. However, at times faults do occur and the results lead to an imperfect image transfer.”

The trail die and wavy step errors seen on US coins are far, far less obvious than the wavy baseline seen on the 1966 20 cent, so this explanation may well be a red herring. Regardless, I expect that there will be a lot more investigation in the coming months into the technical cause of the design difference on this exclusive and fascinating memento from the heady days of the introduction of decimal currency to Australia.

First published by Sterling & Currency
For sale: TWENTY CENT 1966 Wavy Baseline Choice Unc

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Apr 112014
 

The first two coins in this absolutely gorgeous 1/2oz silver proof coin series have now been released.The Lioness and Asian Elephant releases will be joined in forthcoming months by coins portraying the love been a mother and baby Giraffe, Bear and Orangutan.MothersLovex2

While each coin is available individually, there is also a subscription option  suitable for those determined to complete the series without fear of missing a release.

More details.

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