Australian Bush Babies Silver Coin Series

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Cuteness has a universal appeal that is irresistible to a large number of individuals, and it is because of this appeal that many marketing industries often employ or incorporate ‘cutesy’ images in order to attract customers. The same bodes true for coin collectors, as there is always something attractive about baby animals that a lot of them just can’t resist. This; along with a number of other reasons prompted the Perth Mint to commission and subsequently mint a series of coloured ½ oz coins depicting different young Australian animals, giving rise to the highly popular Australian Bush Babies coin series.

Made of 99.9% pure silver and weighing in at a cute ½ ounce, the Australian Bush Babies series features baby animals in full-colour illustrations set against a background of highly detailed Australian flora, set off entirely by the proof-finish of the coin. The illustrations on each of the initial five coins were commissioned by the Perth Mint and created by artist Elsie Martinson.[1] The obverse of the coin depicts the standard Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, along with the legends ‘ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA’ as well as the coin’s weight, fineness, face value (all coins bear the face value of 50 cents, and are legal tender), and date of mintage.[2]

The first set of the Australian Bush Baby coins were released in 2010, with the first coin of the series depicting a baby Sugar Glider in full-colour and meticulous detail against an ornately struck frosted background of bush flowers and a little insect friend (dragonfly) for the cute Sugar Glider. The name of the animal is also inscribed on the reverse along with the Perth Mint’s mintmark. It was shortly followed by a baby Bilby that same year, also illustrated in full-colour and striking detail against a similar background of bush flowers. The Bilby is accompanied by an insect (grasshopper) which it inquisitively gazes at, and the name of the animal as well as the mintmark of the Perth Mint is also inscribed.[3]

Year 2011 saw three distinct releases, starting with the baby Kangaroo in full-colour against a similar background, accompanied by another insect friend (ladybug). The name of the animal and the Perth Mint’s mintmark is also inscribed on the reverse. This was shortly followed by the baby Koala, which leans against a background of frosted eucalypt blossoms, accompanied by its insect friend (cicada). The last of 2011’s Bush Baby silver coins’ series depicts a very cute, smiling baby Dingo against a background of bush flowers, accompanied this time by a friendly butterfly. The name of the animal and the Perth Mint’s mintmark is also inscribed on the reverse as with all other issues. Each coin’s featured animal is depicted in full-colour, with great attention to nuances of detail, all of which is set by a beautiful mirror background typical of proof quality coins.[3] The first Bush Babies series ended with the baby Dingo, and a subsequent release (2012) was not realised immediately despite the sets being sold out almost overnight.

Recent announcements have been made regarding the now available 2013 Bush Babies II release, however. Commissioned by the mint and created by the same artist at the 2010 – 2011 series,[4] this second five-coin series will depict still more cute Australian baby animals. The second series jumpstart with the introduction of the baby Kookaburra in full-colour maintaining similar aesthetics as the previous coins, minted along with a frosted background of bush flowers set against a mirror-finish.[5] As with the previous coins of the series, the baby Kookaburra gazes inquisitively at a tiny insect companion (a spider). Its name as well as the Perth Mint’s mintmark is also inscribed on the reverse. The second of the 2013 Bush Baby II series of coins features a cute possum, gazing somewhat longingly at the observer, surrounded once again by a background of frosted bush flowers set against a mirror-finish.[6] As with all the coins, a mintmark and the animal’s name can also be read on the reverse.

Further releases for the 2013 second series include a baby platypus, a baby wombat, and a baby echidna. The Bush Baby series of coins are excellent collectors’ items that come only in a limited number of issues (10, 000 coins per animal in both series) that functions as investment material or as great gifts.

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