After several years of some superb domed coin releases, the Royal Australian Mints Northern and Southern Sky series of coins came to an end with the issuing of two fine gold variants that were devoid of colour. Apart from the ocassional issue like the one commemorating Captain Cooks voyage, the mint has been quiet on the domed coin front, especially its award-winning astronomy themed range.
Today sees the issue of a first in a new series called The Earth and Beyond and in a logical step, one that looks at the planets instead of the stars. Where better to start than the planet that we’re currently screwing up and the one we call home – Earth. Continuing with the popular one-ounce format, the only major change from the ‘Sky’ series is that the obverse has flipped from the convex side of the coin to the concave face. This makes perfect sense given we’ve moved from looking up at the sky to down on a sphere.
The reverse face features as its centrepiece a coloured depiction of this amazing planet. A little smaller than we’d like, it’s surrounded by a succession of borders that represent the different layers that make up the area between the surface of the Earth and space itself, like the Thermosphere and the Stratosphere. Placed in these various borders are small touches like the poles with the inscription 23.5º – the angle of tilt relative to the orbital plane that the Earth rotates around – and a satellite/station. It all works well enough, although how this will be implemented on other planets remains to be seen.
The obverse has to carry the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II of course, but instead of occupying the whole face the mint has incorporated it into a design of interlocking orbital pathways, each with one of the planets upon it. A welcome change.Interestibly, there are eight planets shown and not nine, indicating that poor old Pluto isn’t going to get a coin of its own, in line with its designation as a planet being withdrawn and its redesignation as a dwarf-planet after the discovery of several larger objects in the Kuiper Belt.
Packaging consists of the usual RAM box, a decent item, inside a coloured shipper box and with a certificate of authenticity numbering which of the 5,000 minted you have. Available to order now, the coin sells for $125.00 AUD and is available directly from the mint or from some of our sponsors, amongst others.