Discover Australia Silver Bullion Coins
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The Discover Australia silver bullion coin set is a series of three-year mintage coins that feature unique and one-of-a-kind depictions of animal species endemic to Australia. Initiated as a means to increase an interest and awareness of Australia’s eco-diversity, the Discover Australia series began in 2010 – 2011, and is ongoing, with hope of future (2013 – 2014) versions in store. Minted to compliment the Discover Australia gold series, the first release of the silver series featured unique depictions of local fauna created by indigenous artist Darryl Bellotti, made with 99.9% fine pure silver, weighing one troy ounce, with a face value of A$1 – a constant feature all throughout the three-year series. The obverse side of the coin bore the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, along with the legends ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA and its face value. All coins are legal tender in Australia, and can be used for general purchase unless otherwise re-sold for a minute premium as bullion. The legal tender status does not exist outside of Australia, and the Discover series is then strictly treated as bullion.
Bellotti’s Discover Australia silver series was first minted in 2010, with the introductory five-coin series referred to as ‘The Dreaming’, in honour of the aboriginal belief in the ‘Dreamtime’. The first five coins of the series depicted local animals in a manner inspired by aboriginal artwork, with chosen selective coloration on the background to compliment and contrast with the abstract design, effectively bringing it into more detail. The background colours were specifically chosen to be indicative of the hues of the natural habitats where these animals were found. The coloured background was tastefully applied only to those areas not depicting the animal, creating a unique look that has made the series an instant success. The five 2010 Dreaming issues featured the following animals: the common wombat, the saltwater crocodile, the platypus, the koala, and the frilled neck lizard. Each reverse side of the coin bears the legend ‘DISCOVER AUSTRALIA’ as well as the name of the animal, the date of mintage, and is silver weight and purity along with a very subtle inclusion of the Perth Mint’s mintmark (‘P’) to indicate its proof status.
The second mintage of The Dreaming followed the year after (2011) and revolved around the same aesthetics, still executed by the indigenous artist Darryl Bellotti. Featuring a new set of animals, the aesthetics of abstract aboriginal depictions of animals offset by a richly coloured and detailed half-background was maintained. The new animals that comprised the series were: the Tasmanian devil, the kookaburra, the great white shark, the emu, and the dingo. As with the earlier set, the verse carried the legend ‘DISCOVER AUSTRALIA’ along with the date of mintage, the animal’s name, and the weight and fineness of the silver. The Perth Mint mintmark is also evident in the second release.
The third Discover Australia set is perhaps the most dramatic and artistically executed, featuring high relief depictions of five endemic animals offset by a richly detailed coloured background depicting their natural habitat. Unlike the first two releases which only indicated the type of habitat (blue for water / air; green for grassland / woodlands; gold-brown for plains / steppes, etc), the third release minted in 2012 actually portrays the exact habitat in excruciating detail making the coin a veritable work of numismatic art. The five animals featured in the 2012 mintage are as follows: the red kangaroo, the whale shark, the green and gold bell frog, the goanna, and the kookaburra. The 2012 Discover Australia series is well-known for its highly detailed background, and for the revamp of the arrangement of its legends, which nevertheless maintained a similar phraseology to the earlier releases. The 2012 Discover series presents a more meticulous and refined take on the background, making it highly popular. The 2012 series is also known to be ‘twinned’ to a gold version depicting the same animals as the silver coinage, and following in the same aesthetics, albeit in smaller denominations.
The Discover Australia three year series coins are sold individually or in sets, with each coin from all the series being only of a limited mintage. These silver coins are not only excellent show-pieces, but make for great investment material for silver bullion investors. Due to their craftsmanship, artistry, and affordability the Discover Australia silver coins also make for excellent gifts!
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