New Issue: Australia’s first coin for 2018 recognizes convict era

Late last month, more than 100 people gathered to see who would be chosen to strike the first coin worldwide in 2018 at the Royal Australian Mint New Year’s celebrations.

The much-anticipated event also saw the unveiling of the new visitor press theme and design, which pay homage to the contribution of convicts to parts of Australia’s history, heritage and folklore.

“Between 1788 and 1868, 162 000 convicts arrived in Australia and some of those were hardened criminals, whilst others were victims of poverty and desperation or political rebels,” said Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid.

“The whimsical illustrations and the interesting convict stories which appear on the packaging will share this history with over 120,000 people who come through the Mint’s doors throughout the year with this morning, seeing the very first 100.”

A MIXED BUNCH

Australia’s convicts were a mixed bunch, but their stories have impacted Australian history.

Among them was convicted forger William Henshall, who won the job of designing and minting Australia’s very first coins, the holey dollar and dump. With this gold coin, the Royal Australian Mint recalls the influence of convicts such as Henshall on the following generations through their contribution to modern Australia.

“While New Year’s Day is traditionally a day of celebration, our New Year’s Day coin striking goes one step further for collectors and public who attend every year, eagerly lining up to be one of the first 100 to strike a coin in the new year,” said MacDiarmid.

“One lucky visitor to the Mint on New Year’s Day had the rare opportunity to strike one of the very first coins in the world for 2018.”

“The following 99 visitors who made a coin on the visitor press also took home their special coin with numbered certificate stating they were one of the first people in the world to strike a coin in 2018 at the Royal Australian Mint.”

The $10 gold proof coin also marks the 230th anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival and the 150th anniversary of the voyage of the Hougoumont, which bore the last of the convicts transported to Australia.

Denomination

Metal

Diameter

Mass

Finish

Mintage

$10

99.99 per cent gold

17.53 mm

One-tenth ounce

Proof

1,500

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