Jan 302015
 

The Perth Mint is proud to present two important additions to The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series:

2015TheANZACSpirit_coins

Both coins commemorate the courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand troops who fought alongside British, other Empire and allied forces on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915. Further, they recognise the significance of the Gallipoli campaign as an important founding legend and as a symbol of national identity in both antipodean nations.


In late 1914, fighting on the Western Front in France had reached a stalemate. Senior British political and military figures thought that the pressure in western Europe could be eased by attacking the Central Powers, comprising Germany and her allies, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), in the eastern Mediterranean.

The British Admiralty decided upon a naval assault on the Turkish capital of Constantinople by a fleet of British and French ships which would force their way through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmora, with the aim of assisting Russia in her fight against the Turks, and to open Russia’s Black Sea ports to the Mediterranean.

After the navy was unable to breach the Turkish defence, it was decided to send infantry against the enemy’s shore batteries. A combined Allied force known as the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was formed to launch a series of amphibious assaults on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) was ordered to land at Ari Burnu on the western side of the peninsula, while larger British and French landings were to take place further south at Cape Helles, and in a feint, on the opposite shore at Kum Kale.

Disembarking

25 April 1915: Australian troops leave a transport ship, by means of rope ladders, for the landing at Anzac Cove. Australian War Memorial – J05589

Before dawn on Saturday 25 April 1915, the Anzacs were transferred from their transports to the landing boats that would take them to the beach. Survivors remembered it was a still night, with hardly a breath of wind. To maintain the element of surprise for as long as possible, troops and sailors were ordered to remain silent as they left the transports and approached the shore.

Troops of the 2nd Brigade landing at Troops of the 2nd Brigade landing at Anzac Beach, Gallipoli. Australian War Memorial - P10140.005

Troops of the 2nd Brigade, AIF landing at Anzac Beach, Gallipoli. Australian War Memorial – P10140.005

The first boats were almost ashore when the Turks opened fire. Some men were killed before they even reached the beach. The landing had taken place further north than expected, at what would later become known as Anzac Cove, and instead of coming ashore on a gently sloping beach, the troops were confronted with steep cliffs and a warren of ridges and gullies.

AnzacCove

Anzac Beach packed with Australian soldiers and supplies with more arriving in small boats. Australian War Memorial – H03574

Despite the chaos, the Anzacs persevered under increasingly heavy fire, attempting to negotiate their way up the cliffs and onto the ridges that formed their early objectives. By nightfall they had established a precarious beachhead but had suffered the loss of more than 2,000 men killed and wounded.

PopesHill

The 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade going into the trenches at Pope’s Hill. Australian War Memorial – P00332.001

Over the next week, fighting continued to rage. By early May a stalemate had ensued. The Anzacs could make no progress inland and the Turks could not dislodge them. An attempt to break the stalemate in August failed, and with progress proving impossible, the Anzacs were evacuated in December 1915.

By the end of the Gallipoli campaign more than 10,000 Australian and New Zealand troops had lost their lives and some 18,000 had been wounded. The bodies of many of the fallen were never found, and the hills and gullies above Anzac Cove became their final resting place.

Injured

Three Australian Army soldiers attending to a wounded comrade at Gallipoli. Australian War Memorial – H10369

Gallipoli was considered a costly military failure, but from this defeat the Anzac legend was born. The Anzacs had earned an enduring place in the Australian psyche, creating an incredible story of courage and endurance in the face of death and despair.

Gallipoli was the first major test for the newly federated Australian nation. People believed that in the Dardanelles, Australia’s soldiers laid the foundation for a lasting sense of national identity.

New Coin details

Making-of-a-nationMaking of a Nation 2015 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver, this coin depicts Australian troops in wooden row boats approaching the Gallipoli shoreline, with its rugged terrain in the background. The design includes the inscription ‘Making of a Nation’.

No more than 7,500 of these coins will be released.

 

BaptismofFire_coin-caseBaptism of Fire 2015 2oz Gold Proof High Relief Coin

Struck from 2oz of 99.99% pure gold, this coin depicts Anzac soldiers as they battled to scale the cliffs above Anzac Cove. The design includes the inscription 1915 – BAPTISM OF FIRE.

No more than 100 of these coins will be released.

Produced in association with the Australian War Memorial

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Jan 062015
 

Happy New Year to coin collectors everywhere. We hope you’re looking forward to 2015 with as much anticipation as we are! This year’s exciting and extensive program features some fantastic new themes; new editions of our established favourites are back for long-term collectors, and we’ll also bring you some outstanding world releases.

January’s line-up looks amazing. One of our favourites is the simply gorgeous Snugglepot and Cuddlepie silver coin release. If you love cats, then this bulletin is definitely not to be missed! Enjoy these and many more as we start another great year for modern Australian collectables.

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Dec 172014
 

Not to be missed, this is the final UK Quarter Sovereign to bear the fourth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Struck from 22-carat gold in proof quality, the delightful little coin’s iconic design of St George slaying the dragon is widely recognised as a symbol of strength and continuity that has appeared regularly ever since it was first introduced in 1817.

The coin’s obverse portrait, designed by the renowned sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and introduced in 1998, will soon be replaced by a fifth, marking the next chapter in the life of the monarch and Britain’ gold coinage.

No more than 4,600 of these sought-after coins will be issued. Each coin offered by The Perth Mint is housed in a luxurious wooden case accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity and booklet.

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Nov 252014
 

Today sees the announcement of three exciting new releases celebrating Chinese themes.

2015 Chinese Lion Dance 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The Chinese lion dance is a form of traditional dance dating back to the Han Dynasty (205 BCE to 220 CE) in China. The dance is performed during Chinese New Year and other traditional, cultural and religious festivals and is thought to bring good luck and fortune.

LionDance

Incidentally, lions are not native to China; they were introduced via the Silk Road, sent to Chinese emperors as gifts in exchange for the right to trade with merchants.

The lion dance is performed to music made up of beating drums, cymbals and gongs. The dance and the accompanying music is said to fend off ghosts and evil spirits as they are afraid of loud noises.

Perfect for Chinese New Year celebrations, this coin features a coloured representation of the Chinese lion dance. A firecracker, two lanterns and the Chinese character for ‘prosperity’ are also included in the design.

Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality, no more than 5,000 of these 2015 Chinese Lion Dance 1oz Silver Proof Coin will be issued, each housed in a special illustrated card displaying the coin’s reverse and obverse.

Lunar Good Fortune Series – 2015 Year of the Goat – Wealth & Wisdom
1oz Silver Proof Two-Coin Set

Anticipating good fortune during the Year of the Goat, this stunning set comprises two 1oz silver proof coins with designs symbolising wealth and wisdom.

2015LunarFortuneCoinSet

The wealth coin’s reverse features the statue of a goat on a coloured background representing mounds of gold coins. The wisdom coin’s reverse depicts a wise goat standing before a coloured portrayal of a Tree of Wisdom. The setting sun is considered a symbol of knowledge and understanding that comes with age.

No more than 1,500 of these two-coin sets will be released, each housed in a display case with a lavishly illustrated shipper.

2015 Year of the Goat – 1oz Gold Proof High Relief Coin

Also available from today is the 1oz high relief version from the Australian Lunar Series II 2015 Year of the Goat Gold Proof Coin Series.

Struck from 99.99% pure gold, the spectacular release depicts an adult male goat standing on a ridge in a stylised mountain scene.

The coin’s stunning high relief reverse and obverse are minted on concave surfaces to ensure the optimum flow of metal is achieved by the strike of the die.

HRGoldGoatcoin

No more than 388 of these magnificent coins will be released, each housed in an oval-shaped display case and illustrated shipper.

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Nov 142014
 

When gold was discovered at Mount Alexander in November 1851, it is estimated that more than 8,000 men decamped from the fledgling city of Adelaide to the goldfields – taking with them most of the colony’s sovereigns.

The Adelaide Assay Office was hastily established under the Bullion Act of 1852 to meet the urgent need for currency in South Australia. At first it made irregularly-shaped ingots, each stamped to indicate its weight and purity, with the idea that they would be taken to one of the banks and offered as security against an issue of currency notes to the value of the gold.

These enigmatic slabs of gold, produced exclusively between March 4th 1852 and late September 1852, are now incredibly rare. Six Adelaide Ingots are in public collections around the world, and the only two in private hands held pride of place in the Quartermaster collection – easily the finest collection of Australian gold coins ever formed. They’re rightly regarded as being integral to the history of Australian numismatics and are highly coveted by collectors the nation over.

But the only real way most mortal collectors will ever be able to include a representative Adelaide Ingot in their collection is via the ownership of an “electrotype”.

What is an electrotype?

An electrotype coin is a reproduction made by a process combining chemicals and electricity. Although electrotypes are not original coins, they are not regarded in the same class as counterfeits, forgeries or replicas. The electrotype process has been used by collectors around the world ever since the process was first invented in 1838 to create examples of rare and historic coins that were otherwise unobtainable.

Not only are electrotypes used to complete a set or collection that would otherwise have a glaring omission, they are also used for study purposes. Experienced collectors of ancient coins have been known to include an electrotype in their collection in order to completely tell the story of the coinage of a particular region or era. Museums have been known to include an electrotype in a display for the same reason, or to minimise the risk of loss in the event of vandalism or theft.

Several numismatists have created legitimate electrotype duplicates of Adelaide Ingots over the years. While these electrotype duplicates are nowhere near as rare as the original ingots, they are still a scarce and desirable collectable that allows a collector to display the story of the early days at the Adelaide Assay Office.

Setting aside some modern reproductions in gold, most Adelaide Ingot electrotypes traded on the collector market are from one of two sources:

Edwin Sawtell

Sawtell was a highly respected “chronometer and nautical instrument maker” who operated several businesses in Adelaide between 1853 and 1889. Reportedly he jointly-owned an Adelaide Ingot with politician Thomas Reynolds and headmaster Thomas Walters, who quite conceivably came together to preserve a unique item of South Australia’s heritage. Today their ingot is held in the Dixson Collection, part of the State Library of New South Wales.

Sawtell_Adelaide-Ingot

Edwin Sawtell electrotype duplicate of an 1852 Adelaide Ingot.

Sawtell’s electrotypes are extremely accurate duplicates, made within 40 years of the ingots being in circulation. They are readily identified by the name ‘SAWTELL’ being punched into one corner of the electrotype, and remain prized by collectors to this day for their rarity and historical importance.

George Wilkins

Wilkins has been described as one of the more “colourful” dealers that were active when coin collecting was at its peak in the mid-1960s. His electrotypes feature a small ‘GW’ within a circle, punched into one corner on the front.

The genuine ingot that Wilkins duplicated has been held by the State Library of NSW in the Dixson collection since 1912, suggesting he either had direct access to items in the Dixson collection, illicit access to the Dixson collection, or produced his electrotypes from an existing electrotype, as produced by Sawtell.

Wilkins_Adelaide-Ingot

George Wilkins electrotype duplicate of an 1852 Adelaide Ingot.

Made in base metal and uniface (blank reverse), they’re somewhat softer in the detail. Comparing one with the level of detail on an electrotype produced by Sawtell, we can also see that sections of the legend are missing. Nevertheless, Wilkins’ versions are highly sought-after.

Electrotypes of the Adelaide Ingots at Auction

Electrotypes of the Adelaide Ingots have been seen at numismatic auctions since at least 1973. In March of that year, auctioneers Geoff K Gray sold two versions from the collection of Gilbert Heyde, former President of the Australian Numismatic Society. Both items made $310 – equivalent to several Kookaburra pattern pennies, and more than a complete set of 1938 proof coins. In more recent years, Adelaide Ingot electrotypes have sold for up to $6,000 via auction.

Each of the Adelaide Ingot electrotypes that are available to collectors today has a unique appeal, depending on the original ingot it was duplicated from, and depending on the producer of the electrotype. They all remain an affordable and accurate representation of one of Australia’s rarest and most historic numismatic items.


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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