Australia loves its sport to the degree that it’s almost a national defining characteristic. Punching above their weight in many disciplines, they almost always put on a good show. With two major events occurring next year, it was pretty obvious that the Royal Australian mint was going to mark them with some new numismatic releases and that is indeed the case.
First up is that absolute behemoth of sporting spectacles, the FIFA World Cup. Due to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, the tournament involves the 32 qualifying national teams competing for the most covetted trophy in international football. Ironically, Australia are not amongst them, having failed to qualify, but we don’t doubt they’ll follow it with rapt attention regardless. Conversely, Iceland and Panama are competing in the finals for the first time.
Two coins are available to mark the World Cup, both carrying identical designs on their reverse (all Royal Australian Mint coins have the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on their obverse). It’s a fairly routine design – the trophy sits bottom-centre and there’s a classically Antipodean border design around the rest, featuring kangaroos of course. A smattering of inscriptions are efficiently placed. Available as a 1 oz silver or a ¼ oz gold, they’re both available now.
Second to appear is an athletic event. Held every four years, in 2018 the Commonwealth Games kicks off for the twenty-first time. It will be held in Australia for the fifth time, on this occasion in Australia’s Gold Coast. The Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organisation of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. Including some small dependencies, 69 different teams will compete in 2018 in what is the highest profile manifestation of the organisation.
Another pair, this time a 1 oz silver and a ½ oz gold, these are the second wave of Commonwealth Games coins issued by the RAM after a first pair back in March. The gold and silver variants again have the same reverse design by Australian artist, Jenna Lee. A series of concentric circles each featuring a different aboriginal-style pattern looks good, although we’re not sure how it ties in with the event. Inscriptions are kept to an outermost ring and include inspirational words meant to evoke the power of sport and its effect on us. Again, these are available now.