Mar 312016
 

The Perth Mint will issue no further releases from the Australian Antarctic Territory Series.

The popular program was inspired by huge collector interest in our 2004 Mawson Station 50th Anniversary 1oz silver proof coin. A modern numismatic classic, it sold out rapidly in honour of legendary polar explorer, Douglas Mawson.

Featuring eleven subsequent coins, the series leaves a rich legacy of tributes to other Australian Antarctic explorers, as well as extraordinary wildlife and stunning natural phenomena found in the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent on Earth.

The Complete SeriesAAT_12-CoinSeries

  • 2004 Mawson Station – Sold Out
  • 2005 Leopard Seal – Sold Out
  • 2006 Edgeworth David Base – Sold Out
  • 2007 Davis Station – Sold Out
  • 2008 Humpback Whale – Sold Out
  • 2009 South Magnetic Pole – Declared Mintage 6,703
  • 2010 Husky – Sold Out
  • 2011 Killer Whale – Sold Out
  • 2012 Emperor Penguin – Unavailable
  • 2013 Aurora Australis – Buy Now
  • 2014 Wandering Albatross – Buy Now
  • 2015 Elephant Seal ­– Buy Now

Collectors with all 12 releases now have the satisfaction of knowing that they have achieved the complete line-up in this outstanding program.

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Mar 232016
 

The penny is easily the most collected of all Australian coins. First circulated in 1911 for the new monarch, King George V, it was one of six new Commonwealth denominations to replace British coinage from 1910. Today it holds a sentimental place in the heart of everyone that lived in the days before dollars and cents. In 1911 it gave citizens of the young Australian nation every reason to be proud.

1911Australian_Penny

A Royal Comrade of Australians

Although Australians have warmly regarded each British monarch since George III, George V (r. 1910 – 1936) seems to have held a special place among them.

A young Prince George first visited Australia when he was just 15, while serving with his older brother Albert as midshipmen on a Royal Navy vessel that patrolled the sea lanes of the British Empire. While on his journey home from Australia in 1881, Prince George wrote in his personal diary:

“After England, Australia will always occupy the warmest corner of our hearts.”[1]

When extracts from the young prince’s diary were published in 1902, it inspired a groundswell of affection and loyalty in Australia.

Prince George next visited Australia in 1901 to open Parliament, stopping over at the Perth branch of the Royal Mint during the tour. With his continued gestures of support for Britain’s colonies and Australia in particular, the new King was described in 1910 by one newspaper as being no less than:

“A Royal Comrade of Australians…not only their own King, but one who has intimately identified himself with their life, their struggles, and their aspirations, and has proved his title to be regarded as a comrade — as indeed, one of themselves.”[2]

The shiny new pennies of 1911 were a direct and official link to the popular monarch, offering Australia’s public the first opportunity to see their new King on their own coinage.

Sir Bertram MacKennal – Australian Cultural Hero

The King’s effigy was the work of Bertram MacKennal, the first Australian artist to be knighted.

Born in Melbourne in 1863, MacKennal rose to prominence in London from the mid 1890s. He designed the memorial tomb to King Edward VII, as well as a number of other projects for Britain’s royalty and social elite. By 1910, under the patronage of George V, MacKennal had become one of the most successful civic sculptors of his era.

Despite living so far from the country of his birth, MacKennal maintained close links with Australia. He designed a number of important Australian public sculptures – the cenotaph at Martin Place in Sydney, a monument to King Edward VII in Adelaide, a monument to Queen Victoria in Ballarat, as well as the famed Springthorpe memorial in Melbourne to name just a few.

“At the seat of the Empire there is no exclusive privilege more jealously guarded than that of designing the coinage of the realm,” declared the press. No wonder, therefore, Australians throughout the Continent were reported to be “expressing their gratification at the fearlessness of the king in conferring so great a distinction upon Mr Bertram MacKennal…”[3]

Many Australians took the appointment not only as the ultimate recognition of his ability as an artist, but also as a de facto acknowledgement of the entire Australian nation.

Above illustration:

The image portrays an archival-standard strike of Australia’s 1911 penny, struck for the express purpose of officially recording the start of the production of Australia’s first Commonwealth pennies. The exact number of such specimens is unknown – just two examples are confirmed to be in private hands, while one more is held in the numismatic collection of Museum Victoria. The first example of this coin to be made available to collectors via Australian auction was not seen until April 2006, when it sold for $30,000.

Sources:
[1] Newnes; George, “T.R.H. The Prince and Princess of Wales”, William Clownes and Sons, London, 1902, p72
[2] KING GEORGE & QUEEN MARY. (1910, December 8). Guyra Argus (NSW : 1902 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved November 27, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174452059
[3] KING GEORGE & QUEEN MARY. (1910, December 8). Guyra Argus (NSW : 1902 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved November 27, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174452059


Andrew Crellin’s numismatic career began at The Perth Mint. Subsequently he spent over a decade in Sydney with two of Australia’s leading numismatic dealers. In that time he wrote two acclaimed books on Australian numismatics, appraised The Perth Mint’s archival collection and was nominated to the position of Secretary of the Australasian Numismatic Dealer’s Association. Back in Perth, his company Sterling and Currency specialises in Australian coins and banknotes, from the Holey Dollar of 1813 through to the modern coin sets.

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Mar 212016
 

Anzac Day is commemorated on 25 April each year on the anniversary of Australian and New Zealand troops landing on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula during the First World War. One hundred years later, it has become a time where both nations pause to commemorate the service and sacrifice of tens of thousands of their servicemen and women during times of war and other operations. In 2016, The Perth Mint is honouring all Australian service personnel past and present with an Australian commemorative gold coin marking 100 years of Anzac Day.

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Australia’s first Anzac Day took place on 25 April 1916, one year after the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on Gallipoli.

1916

Anzac Day 1916: Australian soldiers visit the old Cairo Cemetery where many comrades who died of wounds or disease resulting from their service on Gallipoli are buried. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

By the 1920s Anzac Day ceremonies were held throughout Australia, with 25 April designated a public holiday in all states and territories by 1927.

1927

Anzac Day 1927: Australian Victoria Cross (VC) winners prepare for the parade. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Less than two decades later, veterans of both the First World War and the Second World War were participating in parades in capital cities and regional centers across the country. Today, servicemen and women from conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as peacekeepers and veterans from other allied countries, also play a prominent role in national commemorative events.

1945

Anzac Day 1945: Brigadier General L.C. Wilson participating in Brisbane’s march past. Image courtesy Australian War memorial.

Anzac Day services are held before dawn at war memorials, and at the sites of some of the most well-known episodes in Australia’s military history. This is done to commemorate the very moment Australian and New Zealand troops landed on Gallipoli, as well as the hour of ‘stand to’ in the trenches of the Western Front. Today, thousands of Australians commemorate the fallen in the pre-dawn darkness all over the world, including the former battlefields of the First World War on Gallipoli and at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

Services are also held elsewhere around the world, to commemorate Australian service in other conflicts. There are events held at Hellfire Pass in Thailand, where Australian prisoners of war endured captivity, on the battlefields of Vietnam, in Papua New Guinea, and wherever Australian service personnel are found on current overseas deployments.

100th Anniversary Coin Release

Struck from 1/4oz of 99.99% pure gold, the centenary coin depicts the representation of an Australian First World War soldier leaning on his rifle with his head bowed in remembrance. The design includes a red poppy, the inscriptions ANZAC DAY 100 YEARS and PRIDE RESPECT GRATITUDE.

An exceptionally low mintage of no more than 1,000 Anzac Day 100 Years 2016 1/4oz Gold Proof Coins from The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series will be released by The Perth Mint.

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016

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Mar 162016
 

This medallion in The Perth Mint historic collection portrays Matthew Flinders, an exceptional navigator and explorer who made remarkable contributions to the European discovery and naming of Australia.

Born on this day (16 March) in 1774, Flinders joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15. Between 1791 and 1793 he served as a midshipman on a voyage to Tahiti under Captain William Bligh, who later became Governor of New South Wales.

Flinders’ first sailed for the colony himself in 1795 where he explored Botany Bay and George’s River with his close friend, George Bass. In 1798/9, the pair famously circumnavigated Van Diemen’s Land in the sloop Norfolk, proving it to be an island. The strait separating the future Tasmania from the mainland was named in honour of Bass and the largest island in Bass Strait would be named Flinders Island.

Flinders-medal

Recognising Flinders’ outstanding abilities, the British Admiralty in 1801 gave him command of Investigator, a 334-ton sloop, in which to chart the whole Australian coastline – large parts of which remained a mystery to European explorers.

In an extraordinary incident while sailing along the unknown southern coast, he sighted the French corvette Le Géographe under Captain Nicolas Baudin. Despite deep hostility between their two nations, Flinders boarded his rival’s vessel where their meeting was reported as cordial. The location is known as Encounter Bay.

Despite Investigator’s increasing unseaworthiness during the epic voyage, Flinders became the first commander to circumnavigate the continent then comprising New South Wales and New Holland.

Subsequently he was subject to extraordinary misfortune. In 1803 he boarded HMS Porpoise under the command of Lieutenant Fowler, bound for England. But the ship grounded and sank on the Great Barrier Reef. With superb skill, Flinders navigated the ship’s cutter 800 miles back to Sydney and arranged for the rescue of the marooned crew.

His second attempt to return home was even more fraught. Once again he found himself in command of a ship in poor condition, making it necessary for the Cumberland to put into the French controlled Isle de France (Mauritius) for repairs. With Britain back at war with her European neighbour, the suspicious French governor thought he was a spy and detained Flinders indefinitely – delaying his journey by more than six years!

Flinders eventually arrived home in 1810 and set to finalising his journal A Voyage to Terra Australis for publication. Ignoring the terms New South Wales and New Holland, he declared a preference for ‘Australia’ so that the whole of the Southern Land could be known by one name in a manner similar to “the names of other the great portions of the earth.”

On 19 July 1814, the day after the book was published, Matthew Flinders died of kidney failure, aged 40. He never knew his recommendation of ‘Australia’ was formally adopted by the Admiralty a decade later after having consistently been used by no less a figure than Governor Macquarie.

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