Jul 202016
 

Born in the mountains of Central Asia, Snow Leopards have been observed living as high as 5,500 metres. A separate species to the Asian/African Leopard, they are superbly adapted for their bitterly cold habitat.

Blind and helpless at birth, life begins for the Snow Leopard cub in a rocky den, carefully lined with fur by its mother. Protected and nurtured through the early part of its life, the young cat is equipped to fend for itself before turning two.

For vital protection against the harsh elements, the Snow Leopard relies on its long hair which has a dense undercoat that thickens even more during the autumn and winter. White with a unique pattern of dark rosettes and spots, the fur also provides perfect camouflage as the animal stalks its prey on the icy mountainside.

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The Snow Leopard’s short, stocky body and small, rounded ears are both helpful in minimizing heat-loss. Paradoxically, it has two ‘over-sized’ features that are just as useful.

Like a pair of snowshoes, its extra-large paws help prevent the cat from sinking into soft snow. And an enormous tail, every bit as long as its body, acts like a woolly scarf in which to curl up at night!

The Cubs Silver Proof Coin Series

Following the delightful Tiger and Jaguar releases, the third coin from The Cubs 1/2oz Silver Proof Coin Series features a stunning portrayal of young Snow Leopards.

Like other coins in the program, including the forthcoming White Lion and Lynx releases, no more than 5,000 of these coins will be released in illustrated presentation packaging.

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Jul 062016
 

The brightest Star Trek commemorative coin program in the universe now has two new spectacular coloured additions to mark the sci-fi classic’s 50th anniversary.

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The first coin features portraits of actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in their definitive roles as Kirk and Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series, which debuted on U.S. television on 8 September 1966. Holding a communicator and tricorder – quintessential Star Trek gadgetry – they appear on a dramatic backdrop of stars, planets and 23rd century space craft technology.

Its companion release depicts the illustrious U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701, arguably the most celebrated space-exploration vessel in the history of sci-fi. Famous for its unique capabilities and equipment, including warp-drive, deflector shield and transporter to ‘dematerialise’ human passengers before beaming them to a new location in space, the cherished craft was integral to every episode.

Extremely Limited Collectables

No more than 1,500 2016 1oz Silver Proof Two-Coin Sets will be released in ‘transporter’ packaging featuring a ring of iridescent blue light around each coin.

An additional 5,000 individual 2016 Kirk and Spock 1oz Silver Proof Coins are also available in presentation packaging featuring a similar lighting effect.

Stunning celebrations of the ship and crew whose mission to boldly go where no man has gone before™ attracted millions of fans worldwide, these releases are officially licensed by CBS.

TM & © 2016 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Jul 012016
 

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The first day of fighting on 1 July 1916 was the most costly in the history of the British army. By mid-November, when the bloody First World War battle had run its course, more than 1 million men from both sides had been killed or wounded.


The Battle of the Somme refers to a series of battles that took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916, during the First World War, in which more than 1 million men from both sides of No Man’s Land were wounded or killed. During the battles, the British and French armies fought against German troops alongside in the Somme region of northern France in an effort to break the deadlock of trench warfare and restore the fighting to fluid, mobile warfare.

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The gun crew of an Australian Howitzer Battery, in an emplacement behind a steep bank near Lavieville in the Somme area. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

The first day of fighting on 1 July was the most costly day in the history of the British army with almost 60,000 casualties, a third of whom were killed. Despite enormous losses, the offensive continued on for another four and a half months. Australian troops consisting of men who had fought at Gallipoli, as well as new volunteers from home, arriving on the Somme to take part in the fighting from late July.

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King George V, holding telescope, observing the fighting at Pozières from captured ground. The Prince of Wales is behind the King talking to two officers. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Australia’s contribution

The Australian contribution to the Somme was the capture and defence of the fighting around Pozières and Mouquet Farm between 23 July and 3 September. Like their British allies, the Australians also suffered great losses with 24,000 casualties, including 6,741 who were killed. Such heavy losses on an all-volunteer army put pressure on the recruiting system and resulted in a referendum for the government to try and introduce conscription. Narrowly defeated at the polls in October 1916, the issue polarized the Australian nation along political, sectarian and class lines. A similar strain was felt in Britain, which was forced to rely on conscription after the bloody battles of 1916.

Memorial

Troops of the 24th Battalion gathered at a memorial erected in memory of members killed at Pozières and Mouquet Farm. Image courtesy Australian War memorial.

The Battle of the Somme resulted in 430,000 British and Dominion causalities, plus 200,000 French troops. Heavy losses were also felt by the German army with 650,000 casualties resulting in a tired and dispirited force that would never fully recover.

The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series
Be Worthy Of Them – 2016 1oz Silver Proof Coin

This significant addition to The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series depicts a group of soldiers as they charge out of the trenches along the Somme Valley in France and the inscription ‘Be Worthy of Them’.

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The Perth Mint will release no more than 7,500 of these coins, each accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

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

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Jul 012016
 

Born on this day in 1885, Dorothea Mackellar penned one of Australia’s most widely recited and beloved poems. First published in 1908 when she was just 23, My Country reflected the enormous love Dorothea felt for the Australian landscape.

These Australian rectangle-shaped coins are inscribed with four famous lines that have resonated powerfully with Australian readers for more than 100 years.

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1. A land of sweeping plains
2. Of rugged mountain ranges
3. Of droughts and flooding rains
4. I love her jewel sea

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Jun 142016
 

The Perth Mint is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Dutch sea captain Dirk Hartog’s landing on the west coast of Australia. If you’re at all hazy on the history, here’s why we think it’s such a significant event.

  • Hartog’s landing pre-dated Captain James Cook’s famous exploration of the east coast by more than 150 years.
  • It was the first documented visit by any European in this part of the world.
  • By leaving behind proof of his landing in the shape of an inscribed pewter plate, Hartog created the oldest European object ever found on Australian soil.

Yet the whole remarkable episode was effectively an accident!

Dirk Hartog was skipper of a Dutch East India Company vessel called Eendracht. In 1616, he was sailing for Bantam, a trading city located in western Java.

Traditionally, ships stayed close to the coast in a protracted journey around Africa and India. But a few years earlier, a new route had been pioneered using the ‘Roaring Forties’, strong westerly winds at 40 degrees south, for a much faster passage across the Indian Ocean.

In an age before any reliable calculation of longitude was available, navigators had to estimate where to turn northwards for the run up to Java. Inevitably, some East Indiamen sailed too far and it was only a matter of time before one of them inadvertently ran into ‘Terra Australis Incognita’.

Hartog claimed the honour on 25 October when he anchored at the continent’s most westerly tip – an island that formed part of a large, shallow inlet later named Shark Bay by the English explorer/privateer William Dampier.

Hartog spent two days exploring the area before sailing northwards, charting the coastline which was subsequently referred to as ‘Eendrachtsland’ by the Dutch East India Company.

Before leaving, Hartog left his famed pewter plate inscribed with “1616, on 25 October, arrived the ship the Eendracht of Amsterdam” and names of some of those on board. Originally nailed to an oak post inserted in a crack on Cape Inscription, it’s probable that no one laid eyes on it for another 80 years until the arrival of Willem de Vlamingh.

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Dirk Hartog’s pewter plate. Image supplied by Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

This Dutch sea-captain, the first European to venture up the Zwaanenrivier (Swan River) past the present day site of Perth, arrived on Dirk Hartog Island early in 1697. During his exploration he found the plate and replaced it with a new one inscribed with the text from the original and details of his own voyage.

By delivering Hartog’s plate to the Dutch authorities in Batavia (Jakarta), de Vlamingh played a crucial role in its safeguarding. A fascinating reminder of the role played by Dutch navigators in the charting of Australia, this astonishing relic is now preserved by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Equally valued in Australia as the oldest physical evidence of European contact with the continent, a replica can be seen at the Western Australian Museum – Shipwreck Galleries, Fremantle.

400th Anniversary Commemoration

Western Australia and the Netherlands will be marking the story of Dirk Hartog at Shark Bay between 21 and 25 October 2016.

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Issued by The Perth Mint, the Australian commemorative coin is housed in presentation packaging accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

As part of the commemorations, copies of Hartog’s plate and the plate that Willem de Vlamingh replaced it with in 1697 will be embedded at the original site where visitors will benefit from new interpretive panels.

Representative of Dutch ships of the era, the Duyfken will also embark on a six-week journey along Western Australia’s coast during which she will be open for public tours.

For details of these events and more, please visit www.sharkbay1616.com.au.

DH-LOGO-DATES

Courtesy of the Shire of Shark Bay

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