The Royal Australian Mint has been relatively quiet of late with lots of bi-metallic issues, but very little in the way of precious metal coins, but here’s a new release with a subject matter that remains pretty rare on modern numismatics, lighthouses. Australia currently has over 350 lighthouses dating back as far as the late 18th century, but none are now manned, having been fully automated under a program finishing in 1996.

The coin has a fine design, very well layered with different pieces of art. In the foreground are the rays of light emanating from the top of the lighthouse which itself sits in the centre layer perched atop a rocky coast. In the background is a representation of the glass lens that focusing the light from the source inside into beams that can be seen for miles. The obverse carries the usual Ian Rank Broadley mugshot of Queen Elizabeth II, and the coin is sold mounted to an attractive card.

Selling for $80 AUD to Australian residents, ($72.73 for international buyers), it’s up for pre-order today at the Royal Australian Mints website, with delivery commencing on 01 June. Mintage is limited to a maximum of 5,000.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Traditionally, the lamps in early lighthouses were powered by kerosene but with the introduction of solar power, all ‘off grid’ beacons were converted to electricity. From the 1980s, there was a concerted effort to automate the remaining 41 manned lighthouses – a task which was completed on 22 August 1996. Despite advancements in satellite navigation systems, these lighthouses are still operational. When the Commonwealth of Australia officially accepted responsibility for all landfall and coastal lights around Australia, it comprised of 167 lighthouses, 103 of which were manned. Since 1991, the function of maritime aids to navigation has been the responsibility of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$5 AUD 0.999 SILVER 31.1 g 40.00 mm FROSTED UNCIRC 5,000 CARD / YES
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT