The bird of paradise is famously associated with the island of New Guinea, where its beautiful plumes are used as currency by local tribes and worn as adornments during cultural ceremonies.
A remarkable example is Victoria’s riflebird. Known as the ‘duwuduwu’ to the indigenous Yidinji people, it was recorded by Scottish naturalist John Macgillivray in 1848 and subsequently named after the reigning UK monarch, Queen Victoria. In colour, the male bird’s similarity to the uniforms of contemporary British riflemen is the purported reason for its common title.
Predominantly velvety black, the plumage includes areas of iridescent greenish blue, purple and bronze which are used to showy effect during its theatrical courtship dance. This flamboyant display involves a series of initial nodding, weaving and flapping movements. As a dramatic finale, the bird holds its head high while arching its wings skyward in a dramatic appeal for a mate.
Each coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.99% pure silver or gold, and issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965. The Perth Mint will release no more than 50,000 of the Australian Bird of Paradise 2018 1oz Silver Bullion Coin and 5,000 of the Australian Bird of Paradise 2018 1oz Gold Bullion Coin.
DESIGN: The coin’s reverse depicts a representation of a Victoria’s Riflebird perched on a branch with its wings outstretched and its mouth wide open. The design includes the inscription AUSTRALIAN BIRD OF PARADISE and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark. The Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the monetary denomination and the 2018 year-date are depicted on the coin’s obverse.