Sep 292015
 

Isaac Newton is undoubtedly one of the most influential scientists of all time. He also spent 30 years running the Royal Mint, then located in the Tower of London.

The late 17th century was a time of crisis for England’s silver coinage. With many hammer-struck coins still in circulation, the problem of ‘clipping’ had become serious.

Clipping is the act of illegally shaving off a small amount of a precious metal coin for profit. The irregular shaped, rimless coins of Newton’s day made them easy to clip without detection.

And with people in continental Europe prepared to pay a high price for silver bullion, the temptation to clip England’s coinage simply proved too great!

Milled edges on coins are often associated with Isaac Newton.

Milled edges on coins are often associated with Isaac Newton.

Newton accepted the position of Warden of the Mint in 1696. At his disposal was “a new invention of rounding the money & making the edges of them with letters or grainings”. When the Government decided to recall all clipped and badly worn coins, he oversaw the replacement program with extreme efficiency.

Complete by the middle of 1698, the ‘re-coinage’ stopped clippers in their tracks. Perfectly round machine-made coins with milled edges made it impossible to scrape off even the minutest piece of silver without being detected.

Like his brilliant scientific deductions, Newton’s coin legacy lives on. Although clipping modern fiat coins made from base metal is largely pointless, milled edges are a useful deterrent to would-be coin counterfeiters.

The collar die.

The collar die.

The need to mill each coin’s edge was eventually replaced by the use of the collar die – a device which surrounds the blank, imparting the edge design into the blank when it is struck.

Today, these serrations also fulfill another useful function by helping blind people distinguish different coin denominations. Examples of this in action include the Australian two-dollar coin which has a mostly smooth rim alternating with small sections of milling, and the one-dollar coin which has a mostly milled rim alternating with small sections of smooth rim.

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Sep 232015
 

Just 18 years old, the colony of South Australia fabricated Australia’s first gold coin on this day in 1852.

Strictly speaking it isn’t a coin, but a coin-shaped ingot or token guaranteed by the colony to be worth one pound.

It came about after an estimated 8,000 men left Adelaide to join the Victorian gold rush – taking with them most of the city’s sovereigns. As the first successful miners began to return with their finds, a means of turning it into coins was quickly required

With the local economy on the brink, the Adelaide Assay Office was hastily established under the Legislative Council’s Bullion Act of 1852. At first it made irregularly-shaped ingots, but on 23 September it began production of 22-carat Adelaide Pounds.

Images courtesy of www.sterlingcurrency.com.au – click to magnify.

The initial die cracked almost immediately. No example of the type one is known today without some evidence of the die crack. The example pictured was made with the second die cut by local die sinker Joshua Payne. Nearly 25,000 of these ‘coins’ were struck, but not many survive today and most that do have been mounted for jewellery.

The reverse portrays a crown and the year-date 1852 inside a dentilated inner circle with an inscription around the outer circle. Fleur de lis are positioned either side of the word ADELAIDE.

Unfortunately, by infringing upon the Royal prerogative to coin gold, the Adelaide Pound was technically illegal. Its creators felt the time involved in gaining permission from London to establish a mint was too great a risk to the economy. By the time approval was received, production of the Adelaide Pound had ceased anyway thanks to a shipment of sovereigns.

Nevertheless, it was the first ‘coin’ produced in Australia from Australian ore with an entirely Australian design. It is hardly surprising surviving examples are keenly sought by enthusiasts the nation over.

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Sep 162015
 

On 16th September 1770, Captain Cook’s expedition to Australia witnessed the Aurora Australis, becoming the first Europeans to note the astonishing light show.

Aboard HMS Endeavour, botanists Joseph Banks wrote in his journal:

“About 10 O’Clock a Phaenomenon appeard in the heavens in many things resembling the Aurora Borealis but differing materialy in others: it consisted of a dull reddish light reaching in hight about 20 degrees above the Horizon: its extent was very different at different times but never less than 8 or 10 points of the compass. Through and out of this passd rays of a brighter colourd light tending directly upwards.”

Unknown to Cook and his fellow explorers, the lights are created when energetic particles, principally electrons, strike the upper atmosphere and travel along Earth’s magnetic field lines. (The same principle operates in a flourescent tube or neon light.)

Glow in the dark coin


Australian Antarctic Territory Series – Aurora Australis 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The reverse of this 2013 silver coin from the popular Australian Antarctic Territory Series features a representation of this natural wonder also known as the Southern Lights. Coloured with glow-in-the-dark ink, the portrayal of Aurora Australis glows in the dark!

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Sep 092015
 

Queen Elizabeth II today becomes Britain’s longest serving monarch.

Celebrating her historic achievement, this souvenir Stamp & Coin Cover incorporates an Australian $1 coin issued by The Perth Mint and two Australia Post stamps featuring famous photographic portraits of Her Majesty:

  • Cecil Beaton photographed Her Majesty on the royal family’s return to Buckingham Palace after the coronation service in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. The dramatic depiction of the young Queen against a painted a backdrop of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey was a significant departure from previous coronation portraits.
  • Peter Grugeon took the portrait of the Queen at a sitting on 1 January 1975, in the period leading up to her Silver Jubilee in 1977. Photographed in Buckingham Palace, the portrayal shows Her Majesty wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara and Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee necklace.

Highly collectable, the Stamp & Coin Cover also bears a postmark in the shape of the Garter Star which incorporates the words First day of issue | 9 September 2015 | Elizabeth, SA 5112.

LongMaySheReignStamp&CoinCover

An affordable Australian tribute dated for the day on which The Queen set a new record, it would make a superb addition to any collection of Royal memorabilia.

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Sep 092015
 

The intaglio is an artistic technique commonly associated with sculpture, whereby an image is created by cutting, carving, or engraving into the surface. It has been wonderfully employed on this 1oz silver piedfort-sized commemorative, which celebrates Queen Elizabeth II on becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history. The coin’s reverse design elements, including the Queen’s effigy and patterns of Tudor roses, are impressed (or incused) into the coin table for an unusual and pleasing effect.

More: The Longest Reigning Monarch Queen Elizabeth II 2015 1oz Silver Intaglio Coin

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Sep 082015
 

Britain’s 40th monarch since William the Conqueror, Queen Elizabeth II will became the longest reigning monarch in British history on 9 September 2015.

Born on 21 April 1926, Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne on the death of King George VI on 6 February 1952 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Queen Elizabeth’s historic 2015 milestone means she surpasses her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria’s previous record of 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes (63 years and 7 months) on the throne.

Watch how the Queen has changed over 63 years on the throne.

Queen of Australia

When The Queen visits Australia, she speaks and acts as Queen of Australia. Over the past 63 years she has devoted enormous energy in her service to Australia, visiting on 16 occasions during which she has been to every Australian State and the two mainland Territories. She has undertaken many important duties, as the following record of her visits attests.

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VISITS TO AUSTRALIA BY QUEEN ELIZABETH II 1954 – 2011

1954
Eight months after her coronation, the new Queen becomes the first reigning monarch to visit Australia
1963
The Queen commemorates the 50th anniversary of the naming of the Canberra
1970
The Queen marks the bi-centenary of Captain James Cook’s journey up the east coast of Australia with the inauguration of The Captain James Cook Memorial
1973
The Queen officially opens Sydney Opera House
1974
The Queen opens Australian Parliament in Canberra
1977
The Queen undertakes her Silver Jubilee Royal Tour
1980
The Queen opens the new High Court of Australia building in Canberra
1981
The Queen attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Melbourne
1982
The Queen opens the new National Gallery of Australia in Canberra
1986
The Queen signs the Proclamation for the Australia Act which makes Australian law independent of British parliaments and courts
1988
The Queen opens new Parliament House in Canberra, takes part in bicentenary celebrations, and attends World Expo Brisbane
1992
The Queen marks the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Sydney
2000
The Queen undertakes her first tour since the 1999 referendum on Australia’s Head of State
2002
The Queen celebrates her Golden Jubilee and opens the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane
2006
The Queen opens the XVIII Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
2011
The Queen opens the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth and attends the ‘big Aussie barbie’ with tens of thousands of people on the city foreshore
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Australian Coin Tributes

The Perth Mint is delighted to honour The Queen’s achievement as Britain longest reigning monarch with three Australian legal tender commemorative coins. Struck from pure gold and silver, each coin is subject to an extremely limited mintage.

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  • 2oz Gold Proof Coin – portraying the Royal Cypher of Queen Elizabeth II surmounted by St Edward’s Crown with handset aquamarine gemstone in its cross. Mintage: 350.
  • 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin – portraying the Royal Cypher of Queen Elizabeth II surmounted by St Edward’s Crown. Mintage: 1,000.
  • 1oz Silver Proof Intaglio Coin – featuring an incused depiction of the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by a pattern of Tudor roses. Mintage: 5,000.

Intaglio: devices or lettering which are sunk below neighboring surfaces, in this case design elements that are impressed (incused) into the coin table.

Each coin is housed in presentation packaging accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

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