Regular readers will know we have our favourite themes here. Popular subjects like architectural and ancient mythology are popular here also, but one we think is still a touch under-represented in modern numismatics is a personal favourite, prehistoric life. A few mints dabble semi-regularly, MCI-Mint in Germany and the Royal Canadian Mint spring to mind, with industry stars Coin Invest Trust and the Mint of Poland both recently debuting excellent new series. A few others come from the smaller independent mints and that’s where we’re looking today.
Melbourne Mint have released a couple of coins to date, one depicting Australian legend Ned Kelly, the other a superb architectural coin showing off Flinders Station, a fine example of the genre. After a quiet spell, they’re back in big style with a large five-ounce proof silver coin showcasing everyone’s carnivore of choice, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The reverse face of this new release depicts the head of one of these awe-inspiring creatures, mouth open mid-roar to display a full set of sharp teeth. Speculated to have the strongest bite of any terrestrial animal in the history of the planet, at least until the next predatory behemoth is discovered, it’s an image of this creature familiar to everybody and s a result, a great choice. Just the inscription ‘T-REX’ is in attendance on this face. The obverse is the typical effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Broadley that Tuvalu have on all their commemorative coins. It’s nicely embellished with a geometric pattern around the border on this coin.
The coin box is a standard Perth mint snapper and the outer shipper is colourfully themed. It will be available from 2 May at a price yet to be revealed. It’s a chunky five ounces though, so not a cheap item, something reflected in the tight 500 mintage. We were lucky to see a prototype in hand back in early February and can say that it’s a fine looking piece, none of the amateurish artwork that can spoil many prehistoric wildlife coins is evident here. One for the palaeontology fan to look out for.
yrannosaurus meaning “tyrant lizard”, from the Ancient Greek tyrannos, “tyrant”, and sauros, “lizard” is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning “king” in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is one of the most well-represented of the large theropods.
Tyrannosaurus lived throughout what is now western North America, on what was then an island continent known as Laramidia. Tyrannosaurus had a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 68 to 66 million years ago. It was the last known member of the tyrannosaurids, and among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to its large and powerful hind limbs, Tyrannosaurus fore limbs were short but unusually powerful for their size and had two clawed digits. The most complete specimen measures up to 12.3 m (40 ft) in length, up to 4 meters (13 ft) tall at the hips, and up to 6.8 metric tons (7.5 short tons) in weight. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it is still among the largest known land predators and is estimated to have exerted the largest bite force among all terrestrial animals.