Jun 282013

Queen Victoria was crowned at Westminster Abbey 175 years ago today.

Intriguing Facts About Queen Victoria’s Coronation

  • Around 400,000 visitors crowded the streets of London to see the new Queen on her Coronation Day – 28 June 1838.
  • Victoria was escorted into Westminster Abbey by Lord Melbourne, the British Prime Minister after whom the Australian city is named.
  • The coronation ceremony lasted five hours and involved Victoria in two changes of dress.
  • The coronation cost less than £80,000, relatively modest compared to George IV’s coronation bill of £240,000 17 years earlier.
  • The magnificent Imperial State Crown, incorporating the Black Prince’s Ruby and a sapphire from the ring of Edward the Confessor, was made for Victoria’s coronation.
  • In an act of kindness, Victoria rose from her Coronation Chair to touch an elderly peer who had fallen on the altar steps while trying to pay her homage.
  • The Coronation Ring, which had been made to fit Victoria’s little finger, was forced on to her fourth finger by the Archbishop of Canterbury, requiring her to bathe her hand in iced water before she could remove it.
  • With little rehearsal, the coronation ceremony was characterised at times by confusion and doubt, nevertheless Victoria described the day as “the proudest of my life”.

State Portrait

Queen_Victoria_Coronation_Silver_CoinThe State Portrait, painted by Sir George Hayter, portrayed the 19 year-old Queen as she was at her Coronation in Westminster Abbey. Shown seated in her Homage Chair, she wears Coronation Robes and the Imperial State Crown and carries the Sceptre with the Cross. Part of this portrait appears on the reverse of our Queen Victoria 175th Anniversary of Coronation 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin marking this important day in history.


Apr 222013

“Kapyong came to be the most significant
and important battle for Australian troops in Korea”

– Australian War Memorial.

On the night of 22 April 1951, Chinese forces launched a major offensive against United Nations forces defending the South Korean capital, Seoul. In the ensuing fighting in the Kapyong Valley, a key route into the city, Australian troops helped hold up the Chinese 60th Division. For their contribution to this action, 3 RAR was awarded a United States Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation.

Kapyong_Coin-case[www.anzacday.org.au says:] “The ANZAC spirit was alive and well; the 3rd Battalion had remained true to the legend. When others had retreated before an imposing enemy, the Australians stood their ground and defended their position. In doing so, they prevented a massive breakthrough from occurring that would certainly have seen the enemy recapture Seoul and with it, thousands of UN troops.”

Coin collectors can mark this famous battle of the Korean War with The Perth Mint’s Kapyong 2012 1oz Silver Proof Coin.


Sep 232012

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the Adelaide Pound, Australia’s first gold coin – and there aren’t many examples better than the one we’ve pictured here.

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

It came about after an estimated 16,000 people left Adelaide to join the Victorian gold rush – taking with them most of the colony’s sovereigns.

The Adelaide Assay Office was hastily established under the 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 – clcik to magnify.

The initial die cracked almost immediately. This example was made with the second die. Nearly 25,000 Type II Adelaide Pounds were struck, but not many survive today and most that do have been mounted for jewellery.

Unfortunately, by infringing upon the Royal prerogative to coin gold, it was technically illegal. By the time this news reached the colony from Britain, however, production of the Adelaide Pound had already ceased.

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.


Sep 192012

Should Australia at some point in the future vote to become a republic, it is not unreasonable to assume that the obverse of our coins would depict the Australian Coat of Arms.

100 Years Old Today

The current design of the Australian Coat of Arms was granted by Royal Warrant of King George V on 19 September 1912. It consists of the badges of the six States of the Commonwealth on a shield enclosed by an ermine border; the Crest of the Arms, comprising a seven-pointed star and wreath; and two Supporters from our endemic fauna – the kangaroo and emu.

Having appeared on a number of circulating and commemorative issues to date, the Coat of Arms provides collectors with a potentially rewarding theme to pursue. For example:

George Kruger Gray’s rendition of the 1912 Coat of Arms with a royal crown over a shield depicting the badges of the six Australian states became a feature of the Australian florin from 1938 onwards.

Revising the design for the new 50 cents decimal coin in 1966 famously fell to Stuart Devlin. First appearing on the circular one-year type and subsequently on the dodecagonal (12-sided) version, his work portrayed the Coat of Arms on a background of Mitchell grass.

The Perth Mint was authorised to portray the 1912 Coat of Arms on the obverse of an Australian silver commemorative (above a small effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II). The coin was released in 2008 on the 100th anniversary of the original 1908 Coat of Arms, which appeared on the reverse of the limited collectable.

The following year, The Perth Mint introduced its annual Australian Citizenship $1 base metal coin program. Aimed primarily at those celebrating the privileges of their newfound status as Australian citizens, each aluminium-bronze coin depicts the Coat of Arms on a more customary background of golden wattle.

Our annual Perth Mint Proof Australian Sovereign provides yet another opportunity to acquire an Australian legal tender issue portraying the Commonwealth of Australia’s Coat of Arms. Exquisitely crafted from 22-carat gold, it would undoubtedly make an excellent centrepiece of a collection with the potential to grow extensively!


Jul 312012

In many ways Franz Liszt was the Justin Bieber of his day.

It’s been said that Liszt generated such excitement that women would literally attack him: tear bits of his clothing, fight over broken piano strings and locks of his shoulder-length hair.

Born in Hungary in 1811, Liszt stood over six feet tall and had flashing brown eyes. He was portrayed in paintings and photographs as the ultimate romantic hero.

But Liszt was also a virtuoso pianist, an intellectual, and a dedicated teacher. Above all, he composed incessantly and performed an enormous amount of music on tours in Europe.

Praised for the brilliance, strength and precision in his playing, his used dramatic facial expression and gestures during emotionally-charged performances.

Of all the classical composers, Franz Liszt was the most colourful. His audiences had never experienced anything like the phenomenon that he was responsible for: Lisztomania!

Franz Liszt died on this day, 31 July 1886. Anyone celebrating his extraordinary contribution to classical music may be interested to know that this superb 2011 silver proof commemorative coin can still be acquired from The Perth Mint.

Jul 102012

The Royal Australian Navy is 101 years old today. It was created on 10 July 1911 when King George V granted to the Naval forces of the Australian Commonwealth the title ‘Royal Australian Navy’.

Prior to Australia’s action at Gallipoli in 1915 and subsequently on the Western Front, the RAN was already actively involved in The Great War.

Early Timeline for RAN

  • The RAN becomes a reality as a fighting unit in October 1913 when the Fleet, comprising HMAS Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra, enters Sydney Harbour for the first time.
  • With the outbreak of war, Australian ships counter the threat posed by von Spee’s German East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron, which will depart the region leaving just SMS Emden to harass commercial shipping in the Indian Ocean.
  • The RAN takes part in Australia’s first ever battle as a sovereign nation – the Battle of Bita Paka on the island of New Britain. Part of the invasion and subsequent occupation of German New Guinea, it targets a strategically important radio station.
  • Able Seaman William Williams from Melbourne becomes Australia’s first fatality of World War I during the 11 September 1914 attack.
  • Australia’s first naval loss of the War occurs on 15 September 1914 with the disappearance of submarine AE1 with all hands while on patrol near East New Britain.
  • The first ANZAC convoy departs for Europe from Albany, Western Australia on 1 November 1914.
  • The light cruiser HMAS Sydney breaks away from the convoy to engage the German raider Emden off Cocos Island on 9 November 1914 – resulting in the first sea victory of the First World War and Australia’s first naval victory.

100 Years of the Royal Australian Navy 1oz Silver Proof Coin and Badge Set

Issued in celebration of the RAN’s centenary in 2011, this limited coin and badge set remains available from The Perth Mint.