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.

Hartog_plate

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.

DirkHartog_coin-case

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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Jun 092016
 

Donald Fauntleroy Duck is arguably Disney’s second most successful cartoon character. For more than 80 years, audiences have found his mischievous nature and agitated temper tantrums impossibly hard to resist.

The rascal with a heart of gold made his cartoon debut on 9 June 1934 in The Wise Little Hen. Less physically rounded in his early appearances, Donald was introduced in his trademark sailor’s shirt, cap and bow tie. Moreover, he communicated in a unique quacking-style, one of the most recognizable character voices in entertainment history.

By 1937, audience reaction to Donald’s comically irascible personality saw him move from supporting character to star in his own right. Nominated for seven ACADEMY AWARDS® to date, he won an OSCAR® statuette in 1943.

Often accompanied by his adorable nephews – Huey, Dewey, and Louie, love interest Daisy Duck, or his thrifty uncle Scrooge McDuck, Donald became cartoon royalty and one of the best-loved animated characters of all time.

DonaldDuck2014coins

© Disney

Presenting original and contemporary appearances of Disney’s most famous duck, these 1oz silver coins would delight any Disney cartoon fan.

Limited to a worldwide mintage of 10,000, the Disney – 80th Anniversary of Donald Duck 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin is presented in a wooden display case which comes in an illustrated shipper featuring an image of Donald in The Wise Little Hen.

With the same limited mintage, the Donald Duck 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin is housed in a modern perspex case surrounded by film-themed outer packaging illustrating the history of Donald Duck.

Available from The Perth Mint, both coins are issued by New Zealand Mint as legal tender of the South Pacific island nation of Niue.

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Jun 072016
 

The Perth Mint has released the second of three coins dedicated to Norse Gods. Like the preceding Odin release, Thor is a rimless, high relief coin struck from 2oz of pure silver with a unique antiqued finish.

Its detailed portrayal represents the final battle between Thor and the serpent Jormungand, son of Loki.

In Norse mythology, Jormungand was banished from Asgard for threatening the Æsir gods. Flung into the ocean, Odin hoped he would die there. But Jormungand survived, and in fact grew bigger – so big that he encircled the entire world.

During the conflict between the Æsir and the ‘world serpent’, Thor went to sea in an attempt to capture Jormungand on a hook baited with the head of an ox. The monster bit and was momentarily dragged clear of the water by his rival.

Thor was accompanied in the boat by the giant Hymir. Terrified at the sight of the angry serpent, Hymir cut the line, allowing Jormungand to slide back into the depths.

The final encounter between Thor and Jormungand  took place during Ragnarok, a cataclysmic period during which the Æsir gods were fated to perish.

As Jormungand rose up in a ferocious attack, Thor fatally wounded the beast with his powerful war-hammer Mjollnir. But the telling blow was too late to save him from a spray of deadly venom. Recoiling from the lifeless serpent, the God of Thunder staggered nine paces before falling dead.

Extremely Limited Availability

Like its sold out predecessor, this coin is expected to be extremely popular. Housed in a timber display case with a stunning engraved design on the lid, no more than 2,000 Thor 2oz Silver High Relief Antiqued Coins will be released worldwide.

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Jun 012016
 

ThePhantom_2016_medallion

The Phantom, sworn to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice, was created by Lee Falk in 1936. A seemingly immortal being that has been around since 1536, he is in fact the 21th member of a crime-fighting dynasty who all adopt the same costumed-persona.

Featured in The Phantom, the most widely-read superhero comic in the world, the anti-crime crusader has also been portrayed in other forms of media, including television, film, and video games.

The Phantom 80th Anniversary 1oz Silver Collectible

Struck from 1oz of pure silver in proof quality, this 80th anniversary medallion portrays a coloured image of the Phantom in action in his jungle home of Bengalla. The design on the back includes a struck portrait of the Phantom and the ‘phantasy’ monetary denomination of 100 Bengalla Dollars.

The medallion is presented in a replica of the Phantom’s hideout – Skull Cave. A stunning display, the skull features a throne that slides out of its mouth to reveal the coin while at the same time illuminating its green eyes!

No more than 3,000 of these anniversary medallions will be released.

© 2016 King Features Syndicate, Inc./ TM Hearst Holdings, Inc.

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May 202016
 

It’s estimated that there are 1,025,109 words in the English language and that ‘love’ ranks inside the top 400 most commonly used. It comes from the Anglo Saxon lufu, which in turn is derived from the early Germanic lubō.

In Chinese, the world’s most widely spoken language, love is pronounced “ai”. It’s represented by a composite character comprising a number of traditional symbols, including representations of a man, a woman and a heart.

With over 400 million speakers, Spanish lies between Chinese and English as the second most popular language in the world. Amor comes directly from Latin, sharing its origin with similar French (amour) and Italian (amore) words for love.

Of course, with between 6,000 and 7,000 languages in the world, different cultures have invented countless other words to express the idea of love. Despite our language and many other differences, we are united in our innate understanding of love’s power.

Love_Coin

The Perth Mint has released a spectacular 2oz silver proof coin portraying the word love in more than 30 languages, including English, Greek, Arabic, French, Korean, Filipino, Hindi, and Vietnamese. The design is interspersed with universally recognised love symbols, including Cupid, doves and a red-coloured heart.

A delightful gift for weddings, Valentine’s and anniversaries, or a beautiful way to make a spontaneous declaration of love, just 3,000 of these Language of Love 2016 2oz Silver Proof Coins will be released.

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May 192016
 

The fourth release in the Remarkable Reptiles series features the Australian goanna. Goannas are large, carnivorous reptiles also known as monitor lizards.

Goannas are capable of swimming, and can also climb trees. They will move quickly when pressed, often sprinting short distances to escape harm. Goannas will rear up when threatened, and also inflate flaps of skin around their throats and emit a harsh hissing noise.

Here’s seven more remarkable facts about the Australian goanna:

  1. Colonial settlers in Australia christened these large, carnivorous lizards ‘goanna’ – a corruption of the word iguana, a separate South American species.
  2. Like snakes, to which they are distantly related, goannas are venomous – but they lack their slithering rival’s injecting fangs.
  3. Despite the family association, goannas eat snakes – a choice that led people to conclude they were immune to snake venom (although this has never been proved).
  4. Some goannas lay their eggs inside termite mounds, which provide their young with an instant meal just after they hatch.
  5. At 5 metres in length, a gigantic goanna called Megalania – the largest the world has ever seen – stomped across Australia during the Pleistocene epoch.
  6. A surprisingly small member of the species, the pygmy goanna defies expectations at only 20 centimetres in length!
  7. But the majority of today’s goannas are hefty animals, and if cornered one can swing its tail like a crocodile with enough force to knock down a human!

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