The Royal Australian Mint on January 1, 2010, revealed new $1 coins celebrating a century of Australian coinage. Marking the unique anniversary is a historic reverse design featuring four heads for the very first time.
Portrayed are the monarchs that have appeared on Australian coins during the past one hundred years — King Edward VII (1901-1910), King George V (1910-1936), King George VI (1936-1952) and Queen Elizabeth II (1952-present).
"This commemoration is a significant milestone in Australia’s history," said Royal Australian Mint Acting Chief Executive Officer Graham Smith. "Along with the new Government and Constitution, the change in 1910, from the British monetary system to our own, heralded the unity and budding independence of our young nation. And this is what we are celebrating in 2010."
While collectors from around the world can purchase a $1 silver proof coin for the international price of $40.91 (found here), only visitors to The Royal Australian Mint can spend $3 (AUS) to personally strike a copper version for their collection. Melbourne coin collector Bruce Mansfield was the first person to do so, reportedly waiting some 18 hours for the coin striking opportunity.
"’I’ve achieved something that has been planned for 212 months," Mansfield was quoted on The Canberra Times.
Mansfield and the following 99 people to use the visitor press also received a special prize and certificate denoting their first strikes at the Mint in 2010.
The four headed coin design was created by Vladimir Gottwald. Encircling the four monarch portraits are the inscriptions "ONE DOLLAR" and "100 YEARS OF AUSTRALIAN COINAGE’. Each coin bears the Canberra "C" mintmark, denoting their place of minting. The silver coin has a limited mintage of 12,500. It is struck in .999 fine silver, has a diameter of 25.00 mm and weighs 11.66 grams.
About the Royal Australian Mint
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, on Monday 22nd February 1965. The Mint was commissioned to produce Australia’s decimal coinage, which was to be introduced into circulation on 14th February 1966. The Royal Australian Mint holds a place in history as the first mint in Australia not to be a branch of the Royal Mint, London.
Since opening in 1965 the Mint has produced over eleven billion circulating coins and has the capacity to produce over two million coins per day, or over six hundred million coins per year.
The Royal Australian Mint has struck coins for a number of South Pacific nations. Export coins were first struck in 1969 for New Zealand and, since then, coins have been produced for Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Israel and Tokelau.