The Royal Australian Mint have launched their new 2018-dated Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coin sets which are specially prepared for gift-giving to babies born in the new year, and youngsters who are perhaps celebrating their first or second birthdays.
The 2018 coin sets include a magical theme and continue the hugely successful Possum Magic one and two dollar coin sets dedicated to one of Australia’s more beloved children’s characters, which were first issued in 2017. The children’s tale was written in 1978 by Australian author Merrion Frances Fox, who is more widely known as “Mem” Fox. Possum Magic is a humorous and heart-warming tale of Australian geography, gastronomy, varied landscapes, and the animals associated with the land down under. The two main characters are Grandma Poss and Hush, two possums from the country. Grandma Poss uses her best “bush magic” to make Hush invisible, protecting her from Australian bush dangers. While invisible, the little possum is able to do lots of fun things, such as sliding down the backs of kangaroos and staying hidden from snakes — the primary reason Grandma worked her magic in the first place.
The coins included in both Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated sets are all of the six currently circulating coins, from the five-cent up to the two dollar coin with the 12-sided (or dodecagonal) 50-cent coin depicting a special reverse design of Grandma Poss, Hush, and a koala bear swinging on a tree branch. The Proof quality coin includes a colour application, showing greater detail of the well-known illustrations of the Possum Magic stories. The Brilliant Uncirculated set includes a special cupro-nickel token with a colour depiction of another familiar character in the tale. The reverse designs on current Australian coins include:
Two dollars: Introduced into circulation in 1988, the reverse side includes a representation of the head and shoulders of a traditional Australian Aboriginal, the Southern Cross, and Australian flora.
One dollar: Introduced in 1984, Stuart Devlin, who was the artist behind the newly introduced decimal coin reverse side designs in 1966, was commissioned to design the reverse of the new coin. The five kangaroos design was chosen by the Royal Australian Mint, which continued the theme of animals indigenous to Australia.
50-cents: The specially designed Possum Magic coin depicts Grandma Poss, Hush, and a playful koala bear swinging on a tree branch.
20-cents: The reverse design featured a platypus seen surfacing from underwater and has remained on the 20-cent coin continuously until 1995 when the coin’s denomination was first used for a commemorative circulation coin celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations.
10-cents: Includes the design of the lyrebird, in this case, the male lyrebird whose huge tail is fanned out in a courtship display.
Five-cents: Includes the design of the echidna, also known as a spiny anteater, which belongs to the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals.
The common obverse of all the coins includes the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, as created by Ian Rank-Broadley, and has been used on all Australian circulation as well as many commemorative and collector coins since 1999. The “Possum Magic” commemorative 50-cent coin will not go into circulation and is only available in either the Baby or Newborn Brilliant Uncirculated or Proof set.
The coins included in the Brilliant Uncirculated set are presented in a colourful folder with illustrations from Possum Magic’s characters. The coins included in the Proof set are encapsulated and set in a custom presentation case with outer protective box depicting illustrations from Possum Magic. For additional information on these and other coins offered by the Royal Australian Mint, please visit their website.