Apr 222016
 

Two-up is a true blue Aussie game of chance which took off on the gold fields during the 19th century. It is most strongly associated, however, with the ‘diggers’ of World War I, who played it extensively in the trenches and while on troop ships to relive the monotony.

Essentially, two coins (usually pennies) are placed tails up on a flat board called a kip or paddle. A spinner is called to toss the coins (at least 10 feet in the air) and bets are taken on which way the coins will land.

TwoUp_at_Ypres

A group of First World War Australian soldiers at Ypres playing the popular game of two up. [Image E01199 courtesy of Australian War Memorial.]

The two-up custom continued with Australian soldiers during the Second World War and currently it is permitted to be played publicly on Anzac Day in pubs and clubs around the country in honour of these military traditions. After the sombre proceedings of dawn services and other acts of remembrance, games take place in the spirit of mateship and larrikinism for which our hero diggers are famed.Copper-Two-Up-Set

This traditional Two-Up Set available from The Perth Mint features two Australian pennies, portraying the famous leaping kangaroo design, and a typical wooden kip, made from plantation pine.

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Apr 182016
 

This celebratory 90th Birthday Stamp and Coin Cover features a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Australian Golden Wattle diamond brooch – said to be one of her personal favourites. Made from gold and 150 white and yellow diamonds, the brooch was a gift from the people and government of Australia during the Queen’s 1954 Royal Visit – when she became the first reigning monarch to step foot on Australian soil.

As the spotlight falls on Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, here are nine more ‘Australian’ facts about The Queen, one for each of her nine decades.

  1. When in Australia, The Queen’s official title is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
  2. While travelling in Australia, The Queen uses a special Australian standard featuring the heraldic badges of each Australian state and the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star.
  3. Her Majesty’s wedding cake was made using ingredients donated by Australian Girl Guides in 1947.
  4. The Queen made a unique broadcast to people in remote communities over the Flying Doctor radio network from Alice Springs in 1963.
  5. The Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct was awarded to service personnel who disarmed a WWII German sea mine which washed up on the beach at Surfers Paradise in 1966.
  6. The first Royal ‘walkabout’ took place during The Queen’s Tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.
  7. The only time the Queen had to interrupt an overseas tour was in 1974, when she was called back from Australia to the UK due to a snap election.
  8. The Queen has been to Australia on 16 occasions, visiting every state, the two mainland territories, as well as the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.
  9. In 2011, she joined tens of thousands of people at a big Aussie barbecue in Perth prior to leaving the country for possibly the final time.

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Apr 052016
 

This year’s Three-Coin Set from our ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary coin series commemorates the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought on the Western Front during WWI, where more than 46,000 Australian men and women lost their lives.

Australia’s contribution to celebrations marking Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday includes three stunning legal tender tributes from The Perth Mint – each certain to be a sought-after numismatic souvenir of this historic occasion.

As the Queen turns 90, we’re also pleased to announce availability of an eye-catching Stamp & Coin Cover portraying Her Majesty wearing the Australian Golden Wattle brooch.

Extremely affordable, this year’s 0.5g Mini Roo coin presents the perfect opportunity for everyone to own a little gold.

Exemplifying outstanding numismatic design, the 2016 Wedge-tailed Eagle design by John Mercanti is now portrayed on special ‘high relief’ 1oz coins in pure gold and silver.

For the young at heart, the magical Disney Princess coin series now features adorable representations of Rapunzel and Tiana.

Meanwhile, make-believe never looked so beautiful than on the new Ocean Fairy coin!

Check out this month’s electronic bulletin and/or the links below for details of these and other new releases this April.

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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 House in Canberra, 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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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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