Trans-Australian Railway Honored on the First Coin Struck in 2017


Each New Year’s Day at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, the first person in line wins the right to strike the mint’s first coin of the year. And thanks to the world’s time zones, that coin is also the year’s first to be struck anywhere in the world.

From 2013 through 2016 the honor went to Sydney teenager Harley Russo. This year, however, the first collector in line was 16-year-old Luke Marshall, of Canberra, who won the coveted spot by showing up first on Christmas Day. Marshall has been trying for years; the Sydney Morning Herald reports that during the four years when Russo got there first, Marshall’s spot ranged from 7th to 10th in line. The determined young collector has endured food poisoning and brutal sunburns during his camp-outs on the mint’s doorstep. Each year, he still was able to strike one of the first 100 coins, which is a treat in itself—but only one coin is first. This time, it was Marshall’s turn.

At 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Marshall walked into the Royal Australian Mint ahead of everyone else in line, and, using the mint’s visitor press, struck the first coin minted anywhere in 2017. In addition, he received a one-off coin set that held the coins from the mintmark and privy-mark set as well as the fine silver Proof coin, accompanied by certificate number 1.

The Uncirculated $1 Trans-Australian Railway aluminum-bronze coin. (Royal Australian Mint photo)

The Uncirculated $1 Trans-Australian Railway aluminum-bronze coin. Note the S mintmark on the reverse; coins from the Canberra mint, including those struck on the visitor’s press, have the C mintmark, as shown on the silver Proof below. (Royal Australian Mint photo)



In a press release, the mint’s CEO, Ross MacDiarmid, said, “One hundred years ago the wide brown land of Australia was a spectacular, but impassable, terrain—the east and west was divided—but then a 1,698-kilometer track was opened, stretching from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, crossing the scorched Nullarbor Plain.

“Since then, freight, mail, and passengers have all been carried across the railway line with journeys ranging from practical and functional to whimsical and extravagant.

“It is important for Australians to celebrate the infrastructure that assisted in our country’s advancement through the 1900s, resulting in Australia becoming a more united and progressive nation—the Trans-Australian Railway did just this.”

A Commonwealth Railways G-class locomotive with a westbound Trans-Australian Express train, Tarcoola, South Australia. Photo ca. 1925. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

A Commonwealth Railways G-class locomotive with a westbound Trans-Australian Express train, Tarcoola, South Australia. Photo ca. 1925. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

MacDiarmid continued, “As is the case each year, a certificate [was] provided to the first 100 people in the queue authenticating that they were amongst the first people worldwide to strike a coin in 2017. For many of our collectors and the general public, this is a memento of great personal value.”

Harley Russo (the teen who was first in line the previous four years) has reported being offered a lot of money for his first-of-the-year coins, and even turned down $3,500 (AU) to give up his spot at the head of the line. This year, Russo decided to take a pass on the event, as his brothers wanted to do something else for New Year’s Eve.

Adding to the annual excitement is the fact that the design chosen for striking is not revealed until New Year’s Day. In 2013, the coin was a $1 Holey Dollar and Dump bicentennial. In 2014, the $1 coin marked the bicentennial of publication of A Voyage to Terra Australis, while the 2015 coin honored the centennial of the Gallipoli Campaign and the role of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs). The 2016 coin paid tribute to Australia’s first sovereign coin.

This year’s Trans-Australian Railway motif is available in the following denominations and formats:

  • $1 Uncirculated, aluminum-bronze (25 mm, 9 g). Mintage: 15,000.
  • $1 Proof, .999 silver (25 mm, 11.66 g). Mintage: 4,500.
  • $10 Proof, .9999 gold (17.53 mm, 1/10 oz.). Mintage: 1,000.

The coins can be purchased directly from the Royal Australian Mint’s eshop.    ❑

APMEX:  Gold and silver bullion and collector coins from the Royal Australian Mint.

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  1. Koichi Ito says

    In fact I ordered Australian Railroad commemorative coins yesterday. Because railroad commemorative coins are in high demand, Last year I ordered 2017 one ounce gold $100 Kangaroo in the Sunset 10th anniversary commemorative coin from Royal Australian Mint, but I did not received this coin. So what harpooned this coin?

  2. Koichi Ito says

    I have ordered 2017 $100 Australian Kangaroo in the Sunset 1 ounce gold proof coin on October 4, 2016 from Royal Australian Mint. But I did not received this coin. So what happened to my order of this coin? And finally if you see any this please email to me.

  3. World Mint News Blog says

    Hi, Koichi — I removed your order info from your comment, because someone could try to use that information to commit fraud. To find out about your order, you need to contact the mint at their customer-service number or email address. Have you tried that yet?

  4. Koichi Ito says

    I am sorry, but this 2017 Australian Kangaroo in the Sunset $100 gold proof coin cost $2000.00! Because this coin is missing. So what happened this dispatched coin order from Royal Australian Mint? Since never reached delivery address in United States of America?

  5. M Alexander says

    Hello Koichi,

    You must contact the same customer service that you placed the order with – they must know from you that the order never arrived and then – they can put a trace on the order to see where it ended up.

    $2000 is alot of money to lose but you must alert the Royal Australian Mint that your order never arrived – otherwise they cannot help – you may be offered a replacement of the coin if they are still available or if not, they may refund you the purchase price but until it is discovered where the coin is – they might assume you received the order.

    Contact them, give your customer number, the order number and ask them to track your order from their side… do not post that information here, that’s not a safe thing to do – let us know what they have told you & if the coin can be replaced.

    M Alexander

  6. Koichi Ito says

    Thank you very much for your advice. So I hope it will never happen again. In fact this was only time I never received order from Royal Australian Mint.

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