Mar 072017
 

Each month The Perth Mint has pleasure in offering an exclusive new range of modern numismatic coins for collectors and gift buyers.

This March we’re excited to unveil a tremendous line-up of special releases, none more so than the exceptionally limited 10th anniversary Australian Koala made from 10oz of pure silver in proof quality.

Reflecting the nation’s unwavering gratitude to the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women during World War I, this year’s gold proof ANZAC Spirit release marks the Light Horse’s heroic gallop into history at the Battle of Beersheba.

Meanwhile, in a perfect follow-up to Norse Gods, Freya is the first release in a dramatic new antiqued coin series featuring powerful interpretations of three goddesses from Norse mythology.

Together with flawless, high relief proof quality releases from our Wedge-tailed Eagle series, and another iconic release from the annual Australia Sovereign program, this month’s bulletin is one all Perth Mint collectors can relish.

Check out the electronic bulletin above to discover our complete line-up of new releases, or visit perthmint.com.au for details of one of the world’s most extensive collectable coin programs.

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Mar 022017
 

Fact File – Battle of Beersheba
  • When did it take place? 31 October 1917.
  • Where is it? Approx 50km southeast of Gaza in the Negev desert.
  • Who fought? Allied forces against the Ottoman Empire supported by Germany.
  • Allied objective? Outflank the Ottoman line defending Gaza.
  • Victors? The allies, after a courageous charge by Australian light horsemen.

Background

After Gallipoli, Australian troops took part in the defence of the Suez Canal in Egypt which was under mounting pressure from the Ottoman attacks from across the Sinai Desert. They pushed out into the Sinai, patrolling the desert and engaging in skirmishes with the Ottomans, and ultimately participated in a British offensive that pursued them across the border into Palestine. Australian, New Zealand, British and Indian troops continued their advance in 1917, with one of their first objectives to capture the Turkish bastion of Gaza.

After two failed attempts to assault Gaza, British efforts shifted to Beersheba, a heavily fortified inland town at the eastern flank of the Ottoman defences. Success would allow the allies to bypass Ottoman forces, thereby undermining the security of Gaza on the coast. Capturing the wells at Beersheba would also bring relief to some 50,000 to 60,000 allied troops and their horses who were in desperate need of water.

Australian contingent

The 4th Light Horse Brigade was formed in March 1915 and served as dismounted infantry on Gallipoli. As mounted infantry, Australian light horse units relied on sturdy, hardy mounts – (New South) Walers – renowned for their indefatigable ability to carry a rider, his rifle, bayonet, ammunition and other equipment for long distances in hot, arid conditions.

lighthorse_on-parade

Troops of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade near Tripoli, Lebanon, in December 1918.

The courage shared by the men and their mounts was forever inscribed in the annals of history at Beersheba in Palestine, when in an effort to rout the enemy’s Gaza–Beersheba defences, they undertook a gallant charge against the Ottoman positions.

The battle

The fighting at Beersheba took place at dusk under orders from Lieutenant-General Sir Henry “Harry” Chauvel, the Australian commander of the Desert Mounted Corps. Some 800 Australian mounted infantry from the 4th Light Horse Brigade assembled six kilometres south-east of Beersheba with the 4th Light Horse Regiment on the right, the 12th on the left, and the 11th, who were on detached duty, in reserve.

Armed with their rifles and carrying drawn bayonets, they rode over a ridge and descended down gently sloping ground toward the town, where more than 1,100 Ottomans riflemen, nine field guns and several machine guns lay in wait. The Ottomans opened fire on the light horsemen as they approached and both horses and men were hit by the ensuing fusillade, but the mounted troops rode on, with members of the 4th Regiment dismounting at the trenches to attack the Ottomans on foot, while the 12th Light Horse Regiment succeeded in capturing the town.

charge-at-beersheba

A hand-coloured print sometimes considered to depict the charge of the Light Horse at Beersheba – most probably taken in 1918 during a re-enactment by the official photographer Frank Hurley.

Historic aftermath

Lasting little more than an hour, the momentum of the surprise attack carried the light horsemen through the Ottoman positions. They successfully secured the town and its wells, while taking in excess of 1,000 Ottoman prisoners at the same time. A significant victory for the allies in Palestine, the capture of Beersheba helped British forces penetrate the Gaza–Beersheba line; Gaza fell a week later, abandoned by Ottoman troops who withdrew further into Palestine.

The Australian War Memorial records the names of 31 light horsemen who died at Beersheba on its Roll of Honour. A further 36 were wounded, and at least 70 horses died and dozens more were injured. In spite of these losses, Beersheba was an outstanding success for the Australian Light Horse.

Commemorative gold coin

beersheba-gold-coin

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Australian’s courageous charge, The Perth Mint has crafted a 2017 tribute coin from 1/4oz of 99.99% pure gold. Depicting a member of the 4th Light Horse Brigade with his horse, the design includes a red poppy and the inscription THOSE MARVELLOUS HORSES.

The coin’s obverse depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the 2017 year-date, and the monetary denomination.

The Perth Mint will release no more than 1,000 of The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series –Beersheba 2017 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin.

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2017

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Feb 282017
 

The polar bear evolved about 200,000 years ago from its brown bear ancestors. Alternatively known as the sea bear, ice bear, or white bear, it’s superbly adapted for survival in the Arctic.

Courtship and mating take place in April and May after which the female polar bear digs a maternity den in the snow in which to birth and subsequently protect her young from extreme weather. On average she has two cubs which are born blind between November and February.

Newborn cubs are totally dependent on their mother’s milk for nourishment. During spring she breaks open the den to enable them to play outside. Shortly afterwards they begin the long walk to the sea ice, where she teaches the cubs how to stalk seals on the surface.

The cubs are generally weaned at a little over two years old, when their mother chases them away or abandons them. Adorable in appearance during their developing years, polar bears become apex predators and some of the most dangerous animals in the world.

Polar Babies – Polar Bear 2017 1/2oz Silver Proof Coin

polarbearbaby_blog525

The first coin from our new Polar Babies Series portrays a polar bear during the cutest phase of its life. The innocent-faced cub, which appears on a struck design featuring Arctic motifs, is coloured white.

💡 Did you know? A polar bear’s fur is actually pigment-free. Each hair shaft is transparent with a hollow core that scatters and reflects visible light, much like what happens with ice and snow.

Made from 1/2oz of 99.99% pure silver, the coin precedes future releases portraying equally endearing representations of a young emperor penguin, Arctic fox, harp seal, and sea otter.

No more than 5,000 of each coin in the Series will be released by The Perth Mint in individual presentation packaging with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

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Feb 272017
 

If you’re interested in pre-decimals, you may have noticed the presence of the letters ‘PL’ on some Australian sixpence, threepence, penny and half-penny coins issued in 1951.

It’s a mintmark associated with the Londinium mint, which stood on Tower Hill during the Roman occupation of Britain. As an officially constituted branch of the Mint of Rome, its coins bore the letters ‘PL’, ‘PLN’, ‘PLO’, or ‘PLON’, likely abbreviations of the Latin words Percussa Londinio – “struck in London”.

So why does it appear on these Australian coins?

PL_penny_

The post-War period was one of significant economic growth and Australian prosperity was reflected in burgeoning demand for coinage. With the Perth and Melbourne Mints working at full capacity, the Royal Mint at Tower Hill was asked to assist with Australian coin production for the first time since World War One. And with the request for additional coins from London, came the revival of the historic Roman mintmark.

A sudden downturn in the economy, however, meant Australian ‘PL’ coinage was only ever produced for 1951. Today, these coins are of interest to collectors: while choice grades are readily available, guide prices for high quality and extremely rare proof versions extend into the thousands of dollars!

Perhaps you’re an unwitting owner of a 1951 PL coin which proclaims its place of manufacture in a manner invented some 1,700 years ago?

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Feb 202017
 

Australia has a profound association with Ypres in Belgium. Through this walled medieval city Australian soldiers and thousands of other allied troops marched towards the front line during some of the most costly fighting of the First World War.

ypresclothhall

Reconstructed Cloth Hall, Ieper.

At the centre of the city, they would have passed the historic Cloth Hall, first constructed around 1200. By 1917, this proud symbol of the region’s famous textile trade had been virtually destroyed by German artillery fire.

As they made their way towards the battlefields of the Ypres Salient, the troops passed through the Menin Gate, at which two stone lions, also heavily battle scarred, stood astride the road on silent guard.

Originally commissioned for the ancient Cloth Hall, these magnificent carved blue stone beasts had been relocated to the city’s eastern gateway in 1862. At the end of the war they were pulled from the rubble, and in an important symbolic gesture, the Burgomaster of Ypres presented them to the Australian Government in 1936 as a token of friendship and an acknowledgement of Australia’s sacrifice.

It is estimated that Australia suffered 38,000 casualties in the fighting around Ypres. The names of 6,000 Australians are included among those recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing dedicated to the 55,000 British and Empire troops who died in Belgium during the First World War and have no known grave.

The Menin Gate Lions now have a permanent home inside the entrance to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. There, they stand in abiding honour of those who never returned from Flanders.

awm_lions-from-ypres

Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial – ART12510.001

The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series – Many Never Returned
2017 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Inscribed with the words ‘1917 Many Never Returned’, this addition to The Perth Mint’s five year ANZAC Spirit Coin Series bears a design representing war weary Australian soldiers walking near the ruins of the Cloth Hall in Ypres. Expressing the nation’s indebtedness to the men and their fallen comrades, the word GRATITUDE is included on the coin’s serrated edge.

Accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, no more than 7,500 of these solemn coins will be released in individual presentation packaging comprising a red and black display case and superbly illustrated shipper.

theanzacspirit2017-silver-proof-coin

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2017

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Feb 142017
 

In a return to tradition, The Perth Mint is delighted to announce the re-introduction of the Australian Kangaroo Gold Proof Five-Coin Set as our most prestigious collectable offering.

Showcasing the Mint’s acclaimed expertise in the production of flawless gold proof coins, the set will be issued annually for the first time since a run of 16 consecutive five-coin sets were released between 1989 and 2005.

Australia’s signature gold coins, iconic Kangaroos are struck from 99.99% pure gold. Depicting Australia’s most famous marsupial, bullion versions are sought widely around the world as trusted investments.

Exquisitely finished Proof Kangaroos, featuring mirror-like reflective tables and delicately frosted reliefs, exemplify the pinnacle of precious metal coining skills available from only a select group of leading mints worldwide.

The superb 2017 Australian Kangaroo Gold Proof Five-Coin Set comprises 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz releases portraying a kangaroo bounding across an outback plain. Accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, each set is housed in a luxury timber case.

With rarity assured by an annual issue limit of just 500, the new generation of five-coin proof sets is set to become Australia’s most desirable numismatic collectable.

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