On November 24, the Royal Australian Mint released a special collectible coin honoring the “voice of cricket,” Richie Benaud (1930–2015). One of Australia’s greatest all-rounders, Benaud played his last test cricket match in 1964. He held a remarkable playing record as the first test player to score 2000 runs and take 200 wickets, never losing a test as captain, then followed his playing career with an illustrious career as a commentator.
As part of the new half dollar’s launch, it was used in the coin toss opening the Australia vs. South African test match in Adelaide. (South Africa was Benaud’s last opponent as a cricketer.) Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, who has responsibility for the Mint, said it was a fitting way to commemorate Richie Benaud. “With Richie Benaud being the voice of summer and his name synonymous with cricket, it is with great pleasure that we honor Richie with this new coin,” he said. “Seeing Richie’s face artistically displayed on this coin brings back happy memories for me and I’m sure for most Australians as we remember what he did on the field and in the commentary box for Australian sport.”
Daphne Benaud said that the Benaud family was pleased to have Richie’s life and influence on cricket forever commemorated on Australian currency with this collectible 50-cent coin. “The Royal Australian Mint’s concept for a coin depicting Richie’s life was an idea enthusiastically endorsed by the Benaud family. It is a quality product and we are delighted he has been honored in this way,” she said.
Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid said that it was an honor to feature Benaud on Australian currency, remembering the legend on and off the field, from an explosive batsman and consistent leg-spin bowler to the iconic Australian voice of cricket. “As a truly iconic Australian household name in his career as a cricketer and commentator, Richie Benaud’s cricketing statistics are legendary, leading the Australian team to hold the position in the sport’s top spot,” said MacDiarmid.
If American readers are mystified by the popularity of cricket, they’ll nonetheless recognize the kind of following an excellent announcer can earn over the course of a career. Here is one of many samples of Benaud’s commentary on YouTube:
Of the coin, MacDiarmid said, “Featuring Benaud’s portrait surrounded by the atmosphere of a match with a focus on the fan group ‘The Richies,’ the coin design commemorates his reputable career in the many layers, from the Australian cricket team captain to his renowned status in the commentary box.”
This collectible 50-cent coin design has a strictly limited product mintage of 95,929, inspired by statistics from Richie’s unforgettable cricket career:
|Tests captained for Australia||28|
As an Australian inspiration, Benaud’s legend will be forever commemorated on the 2016 50-cent Uncirculated coin, available for purchase at the Royal Australian Mint’s website. ❑
|50c||Cupro-nickel||31.51 mm||15.55 g||Uncirculated||95,929|
For a description of Richie Benaud’s storied career, with a slideshow of historical Getty images, go to World Mint News Blog’s sister site, Coin Update.
You’ll Want 2, or Even 22, of These Richie Benaud 50 Cent Coins (Huffington Post)