The First World War represented a major turning point for Australia. Despite becoming an independent nation in 1901, the country was still forging its own sense of identity – looking for a place among the world’s most influential nations.
With the outbreak of hostilities, young Australians saw an opportunity to prove themselves on the international stage. Enthusiastic and full of idealism, they rushed to take up arms. But their bravado was misplaced – the crushing reality of World War I was tormenting, brutal and horrific.
The sacrifices of those who departed from Australian shores in 1914 and those that followed in full knowledge of the human carnage, left an indelible mark on the new nation’s psyche. In the troops’ courage, determination, mateship and larrikinism, Australians discovered true pride, infinite respect, eternal gratitude.
One hundred years on, the intensity of those feelings are undiminished. As we remember the fallen, The Perth Mint’s The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series represents a timeless embodiment of our pride, respect and gratitude for all those who partook in Australia’s fearful coming-of-age.
The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series will be issued annually between 2014 and 2018. In each year of the Series, The Perth Mint will release individual 1oz silver and 1/4oz gold coins portraying major events or themes from the corresponding period 100 years ago. In addition, a 1/2oz Three-Coin Silver Set will be released annually, making a 15-coin collection over five years. Periodically, the Mint will also announce special limited edition feature coins, while the Series will be supported with interesting historical mementos and memorabilia.
Made from 99.99% pure gold or 99.9% pure silver, each coin in The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series portrays Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse as a symbol of its Australian legal tender status.
Guide to 2014 Coin Releases:
2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin – When The Empire Is At War
Maximum mintage: 7,500
The British declaration of war on 4 August 1914 was greeted with widespread enthusiasm and jubilation across the Empire. In Australia, it was a chance for the fledgling nation to prove itself in battle and to rally to the cause.
In respect for the sentiment of the time, this superb coin features a symbolic design of a group of soldiers marching under a representation of Britannia holding the British flag. The design includes the inscription of Prime Minister Joseph Cook’s summation of the national mood; “When the Empire is at War, so is Australia at War.” Additonal edge lettering around this coin’s rim comprises the words PRIDE – RESPECT – GRATITUDE.
2014 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin – To Our Last Man
Maximum mintage: 1,000
The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), who would later become known as the Anzacs, departed familiar soil aboard a large convoy of troopships from King George’s Sound Albany, Western Australia on 1 November 1914.
The beautifully crafted gold coin harks back to these days with the representation of a young boy proudly watching soldiers marching along the Albany coastline with a convoy of ships in the background. The reverse is inscribed with memorable words from Labor leader and soon-to-be Prime Minister Andrew Fisher’s famous declaration “Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling.”
2014 1/2oz Silver Proof Three-Coin Set
Maximum mintage: 5,000 sets
Portraying key stories of the War years from an Australian perspective, each coin in this year’s Three-Coin Set has been meticulously researched and crafted to provide a snapshot of this historic period:
Answering The Call
When news of war broke on 4 August 1914, the Australian Government pledged 20,000 men by the end of the year. Prompted by an enlistment campaign, Australians patriotically rushed to voluntary recruiting offices. By the end of 1914, approximately 50,000 men had enlisted in the AIF.
This coin pays homage to all those men who answered the call, depicting a line of civilian men, a soldier and an engraving of an original attestation paper.
Australia’s First Action
On 11 September 1914, Australian troops embarked on their first military campaign. Their objective at Bita Paka in German New Guinea was the capture of an enemy wireless station. Sustaining a significant number of casualties, the day-long action nevertheless ended with an Australian victory.
In honour of their bravery, the design of this coin represents a view through the dense jungle to an Australian soldier in action, running past the Bita Paka radio station.
Farewell To Family
On their way to the final departure point in Albany, Australia’s newly enlisted soldiers left to much fanfare from wharves and railway stations across the country. They waved goodbye to their wives, mothers and children, not knowing whether they would ever see them again.
In gratitude of their sacrifice, this coin captures the emotion of those farewells by featuring an Australian soldier saying goodbye to his crying daughter.
Edge lettering around the rim of each coin in the Set comprises the words PRIDE – RESPECT – GRATITUDE.
The ANZAC Spirit Coin Series is presented in superb presentation packaging. In each year, individual 1/4oz gold and 1oz silver coins are accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Each 1/2oz Silver Proof Three-Coin Set is accompanied by a booklet-style numbered Certificate containing information and imagery from the relevant year of the First World War. In 2014, Sets will also be accompanied by a replica page from Tuesday 4 August’s Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
A limited number of 2,500 subscriptions (download Order Form) are available for collectors who wish to guarantee availability of all five Three-Coin Sets issued between 2014 and 2018. In 2015, subscribers will receive a limited edition replica billy tin in which all 15 1/2oz silver coins can be housed. Subscribers will also receive limited edition replicas of historical items that contribute to the story.