Jan 272016
 

Fifty years ago in February 1966, Australia introduced decimal notes and coins, marking the end of its British-style currency system of pounds, shillings and pence. Initially there were six cent-denominated coins with designs by Stuart Devlin and four dollar banknotes.

Decimal-coin-packs

Commemorate this major milestone in the history of Australian currency with your pick from these collector packs showcasing Australian pre-decimal and decimal coins:

Aust-Currency-Changeover-Pack_100 Australian Currency Changeover
Collection Pack (1953 – 1984)
Pence-to-Cents-Pack_100 Pence to Cents Changeover
Premium Pack (1964-1966)
FiftyCentsPack_100 1966 50c 50th Anniversary Pack

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Have you seen our remarkable 50th Anniversary of Australian Decimal Currency 2016 1oz Silver Proof Two-Coin Set?

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Nov 302015
 

The Perth Mint has released its annual Australian Citizenship $1 Coin for 2016. More than 30,000 of these coins are purchased annually by individuals and also by local governments which offer them as mementos to participants at Australian Citizenship Ceremonies.

As well as taking the pledge of commitment to Australia, people formalizing their Australian Citizenship at these ceremonies also sing Advance Australia Fair, which was first performed on this day, 30 November, in 1878 at the St Andrew’s Day concert of the Highland Society, NSW.

Patriotic song to national anthem

It took an extraordinary 106 years for the patriotic song Advance Australia Fair to be officially proclaimed Australia’s national anthem. The original composition was written by Scotsman Peter Dodds McCormack, who migrated to Sydney in 1855. A teacher and prominent church elder who was passionate about music, he organised many church and school choirs while also writing and publishing his own songs.

McCormack was inspired to compose Advance Australia Fair after attending a concert where national anthems were sung. Irritated that there was “not one note for Australia”, he began devising words for the new work on the bus home! After its initial public performance, the Sydney Morning Herald described the music as “bold and stirring”, while its words were “decidedly patriotic”.

AustralianCitizenshipCoin

Advance Australia Fair is an important component of Australian Citizenship ceremonies where this coin is often presented as a memorable gift.

Sporadic attempts to have Advance Australia Fair proclaimed as Australia’s national anthem were made during ensuing decades. Despite being sung by a choir of 10,000 at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, and on many other public occasions, God Save The Queen (King) continued to fulfil the role.

But in 1973, the Government backed the quest for a uniquely Australian anthem. Competitions were held for both lyrics and music. Despite a large number of entries, the judges could not be persuaded that any of them were better than the existing three traditional songs: Banjo Paterson’s famous bush ballad Waltzing Matilda; Song of Australia, which won the Gawler Institute competition for a patriotic song in 1859; or Advance Australia Fair.

The following year, a public opinion poll was organised to determine the relative popularity of the three ‘unofficial’ anthems. Of the 60,000 people sampled, 51.4% favoured Advance Australia Fair, followed by Waltzing Matilda on 19.6 per cent.

The decisive result, however, was still not enough to cement McCormack’s song as the official national anthem. In fact the Government decided that Waltzing Matilda should represent Australia at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal! (As it happened, Australia failed to win a single gold medal, leaving the decision somewhat pointless.)

Debate over the anthem continued and in the following year a direct national poll included a question on the topic. Over 7 million of the 8.4 million people on the electoral roll chose to vote. Again, Advance Australia Fair was the preferred song, followed by Waltzing Matilda, God Save the Queen and Song of Australia. Even so, it took another seven years for the decision to finally be proclaimed!

Since 1984, Advance Australia Fair has been an unequivocally important national symbol and a public expression of joy and pride in being Australian – guaranteed to make all new Australians choke with emotion at their Citizenship Ceremony!

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Nov 022015
 

The Australian Territory of Christmas Island, named when it was discovered on Christmas Day 1643, is the inspiration behind this year’s Christmas Stamp & Coin Cover.

The vividly illustrated envelope features the Island’s famous red crabs and a red-necked frigatebird playfully portrayed in Santa hats! The crabs also appear in the shape of a Christmas tree on the Australia Post 65c stamp, suitably stamped with a Christmas Island WA 6798 post-mark.

The finishing touch is an uncirculated Australian $1 coin made by The Perth Mint with an equally vibrant illustration of Santa and his gift sack on a tropical beach.

The perfect memento of an Aussie-style Christmas, just 8,000 of these festive Stamp & Coin Covers will be issued.

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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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Jul 092015
 

On 1 July 1915, the Commonwealth of Australia officially accepted responsibility from the State Governments for all landfall and coastal lights around Australia.

Lighthouses have played a vital role in coastal navigation and safety since the earliest years of settlement. Within just a few years of the colony’s founding in 1788, convicts built Australia’s first marine light on South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour – a simple iron brazier suspended from a tripod.

A few years later, convict architect Francis Greenway designed Australia’s first proper lighthouse for the site. Named after the influential fifth Governor of New South Wales, it was an imposing design known as Macquarie Tower.

Macquarie-and-Lighthouse

The ‘Macquarie Tower’ Holey Dollar
On 11 July 1816, Governor Lachlan Macquarie placed a prime example of Australia’s first coinage – the Holey Dollar – under the foundation stone of his tower, which was completed two years later. Alas, due to poor quality of the locally mined sandstone from which it was built, Macquarie Tower had to be replaced by a similar lighthouse (above) in 1883. Its untimely demolition revealed the existence of the famous coin, which now reside in the collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour.

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More lighthouses were subsequently built around the Australian coast in direct response to shipwrecks in the treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean and the Tasman Sea. The King Island coastline in the Bass Strait, for example, claimed at least 60 vessels and 800 lives before the construction of lighthouses during the nineteenth century.

Prior to Federation in 1901, the six Australian colonies were responsible for the design and construction of their own lighthouses. Resulting in a variety of styles built from local materials such as granite, limestone and sandstone as well as concrete, the new Australian nation had a rich heritage of lighthouse architecture by the time the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service took over responsibility for the lights in 1915.

Today, Australia has more than 350 lighthouses along its coastline. On behalf of the Commonwealth Government, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority maintains more than 300 operational lighthouses and a further 200 other aids to navigation. In addition, AMSA seeks to preserve historic lighthouses and related marine artefacts for the community’s benefit.

100 Years of Commonwealth Management of Lighthouses – Stamp and Coin Cover

Issued by Australia Post, this superb Stamp and Coin Cover marks the centenary of the Commonwealth’s responsibility for lighthouses. Including an uncirculated Australian $1 coin struck by The Perth Mint, it features four official 70c stamps depicting historic and architecturally diverse Australian lighthouses.

Lighthouses_PNC

  • Cape Byron Lighthouse, NSW – constructed in 1901 from concrete blocks; Australia’s most easterly lighthouse and also its most powerful.
  • Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, WA – constructed 1895-1896 from limestone; situated on the most south-westerly point on the mainland.
  • North Reef Lighthouse, QLD – completed 1878 from timber sheathed in galvanised iron; situated on a shifting sand bar.
  • Tasman Island Lighthouse, TAS – built in 1906 from cast iron plates; at 276 metres above high water, one of Australia’s highest lighthouses.

The coin’s reverse depicts a lighthouse set on a rocky cliff with waves lapping beneath it. From the lighthouse, a beam of light shines into the night sky. The design also includes the inscription CENTENARY OF THE AUSTRALIAN LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.

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Jun 252015
 

‘Mule’ is the numismatic term to describe a coin struck from dies not originally intended for use together. Australia’s most famous mule is a halfpenny struck in 1916. It is the rarest Commonwealth coin issued for circulation.

In 2000, a number of Australian dollar coins were mistakenly struck using a 10 cents obverse (heads) die. The 10 cents is marginally smaller than the dollar, which meant the resulting mule had a heavier than normal rim on the obverse.

Mule2000Dollar

Mule obverse courtesy of Downies.

Error coin collectors soon drove prices up and a scramble to find the rogue pieces ensued, particularly in Perth where many of the dollar/10 cents mules were released. Finds were subsequently reported in other parts of the country too.

Estimates vary considerably as to exactly how many were issued – perhaps 6,000 at most. Although highly unlikely to appear in change anymore, a 2000 mule dollar would make an exceptional find. A decent example could be worth up to several hundred dollars. The very best examples on the other hand have been known to command thousands!

Maybe it’s worth glancing over the next dollar coin you pull out of your pocket or purse?

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