Mar 162017
 

John Mercanti’s career as a coin designer and engraver is a remarkable one.

John Mercanti.

His artistic talents were recognised in 1974 by the US Mint, where he spent 36 years, the last four in the revered position of Chief Engraver.

John was responsible for more successful designs than any other employee in the history of the Mint, where the process was traditionally a competition between members of the in-house team.

Among his achievements are many notable American coins and medals, including the American Eagle, a landmark release in that nation’s history.

Since his ‘retirement’, John has been involved in many projects, including the design of the first Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle, originally struck by The Perth Mint in 2014.

Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle 2017 1oz Gold & Silver High Relief Coins

We’re delighted to release these 2017-dated versions showcasing John’s second interpretation of Australia’s largest bird of prey standing on a dead tree branch.

Made from pure gold and pure silver in flawless proof quality, the beautiful coins are struck in high relief, a minting process which increases the design’s prominence from the surrounding table. Displaying the intricate detail of the majestic bird’s plumage with superb clarity, the stunning coins do full justice to John’s unforgettable portrayal.

John once described his involvement in the Wedge-tailed Eagle program as “one of the highlights of my career.” Undoubtedly, the result of his exceptional talents is one of the highlights of our annual collector releases.

With just 500 gold and 10,000 silver versions, these coins are destined to be sought after by collectors the world over.

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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 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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Dec 132016
 

The following collector coin releases are now sold out at The Perth Mint.

2015starxmascoin_small Christmas
2015 1oz Star Shaped Silver Proof Coin
Maximum Mintage: 3,000
2016-australiankoala-gold-2oz-proof-highrelief_small Australian Koala
2016 2oz Gold Proof High Relief Coin
Maximum Mintage: 150
silverrooster3coinset_small Australian Lunar Series II
2017 Year of the Rooster Silver Proof Three-Coin Set
Maximum Mintage: 1,000

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Nov 112016
 

To honour those who have died as a consequence of war, Australians are encouraged to observe one minute’s silence as the clock strikes the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month – the moment the guns fells silent on the Western Front in 1918.

The observance takes place in other Allied countries, including New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United States. But how did the tradition originate?

Edward George Honey has been credited as the first person to suggest a period of silence in which to remember the fallen.

Born in St Kilda, Melbourne, Honey was an Australian journalist who worked in Fleet Street after World War I. In May 1919, he wrote to the London Evening News appealing for a five-minute silence to mark the first anniversary of the Armistice.

A few months later, Sir James Percy FitzPatrick suggested to the British Cabinet a complete suspension of normal activity for two minutes during which everyone could focus on reverent remembrance.

King George V responded to Sir James’ call by asking countries of the British Empire “to stand still in solemn remembrance of the dead, who died that the world might be free.”

Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day in 1946 to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars. The custom of a short silence remains integral to Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout the Commonwealth, and in Australia on ANZAC Day.

Honey is recognized in Australia as the originator of the idea on a memorial plaque in central Melbourne, which records “Edward George Honey… A Melbourne journalist who, while living in London, first suggested the solemn ceremony of silence, now observed in all British countries in remembrance of those who died in war”.

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

The emblem and logo of the Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL) are owned by the RSL and may only be used with the written consent of the RSL.

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Oct 232016
 

Disney’s fourth animated feature, Dumbo, was released 75 years ago on this day in 1941. The loveable baby circus elephant was ridiculed for his enormous ears – but assisted by true friend Timothy, the tiny mouse, Dumbo eventually discovered he could use them to fly!

Celebrating the ever young elephant’s landmark anniversary, these superbly-crafted pure gold and silver coins would make nostalgic keepsakes for those who remember Dumbo when he first appeared, and exciting collectables for all modern-day Disney fans!

dumbocoins

Housed in Disney-themed presentation packaging, no more than 1,000 gold coins and 10,000 silver coins will be released.

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