DEADLY AND DANGEROUS (2006-) by the Perth Mint

While a pretty standard specification for a Perth Mint series of coins, Deadly and Dangerous captured the imagination of collectors everywhere when the first coin debuted back in 2006. The main reason for this was the striking depiction of a Redback Spider gracing it. Australian wildlife has a deserved reputation for having a varied range of species seemingly dedicated to causing us pain, discomfort and death. A mix of venoms and sheer physical brutality marks out this menagerie of mayhem, so clearly a great subject for a series of coins.

Releasing a single coin on an annual basis, the Perth Mint strikes these coins for Downies, and they’ve continued uninterrupted since 2006. As we said, at 1 oz of silver, selectively coloured and struck on a 40.6 mm blank, the coins are standard Perth Mint spec. Comments on various forums and discounts at many dealers have indicated that interest has been waning in the series over the last couple of years, but they do sell well, no doubt helped by the subject having broad appeal. The first coin regularly sells for well over ten times its issue price, and while future coins have not quite lived up to expectations re. appreciation, several do sell for elevated prices.

In 2011, in what we can only assume was an attempt to satiate demand, the Perth Mint released the first five coins again for the Russian market. Having an altered design, the original artwork was reduced, and in the border surrounding it was some inscribed Russian text along with the Latin name for the animal. While not as nice as the original, they are official and a way to get the Redback at a sensible price. Ironically, a softening of prices of coins 2-5 often means the Russian versions sell for more. They do have a relatively small mintage of 2,000 each, compared to 5,000 of the original, although the last few issues of the original coins has dropped in half.

Supplied in some extremely nice packaging, the high-gloss wooden box with a removable holder that allows the coin to display vertically, is much better than you’d expect for the price, although the Russian versions have just a standard Perth Mint snapper case. Overall, a well-designed and deservedly popular range of coins that continues to this day.


How deadly is it?

A bit of pain

Also called the Portuguese Man o’ War, the Bluebottle looks like a jellyfish, but is, in fact, the only member of the genus Physalia, a hydrozoan.

It’s actually a community of four organisms living in symbiosis, a siphonophore that lives near the surface of the ocean, and a particularly robust one at that, although they do have predators.

The tentacles can be up to 30 m in length, and are covered with nematocysts, that trigger when touched, injecting venom. The very painful stinging of humans is common, but deaths are exceptionally rare, except where the victim is very weak.


How deadly is it?

Yes, it will bite

The tiger shark is a large macropredator, with females being capable of attaining a length of over 5 m. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body, which resemble a tiger’s pattern, but fade as the shark matures.

It’s a solitary, mostly nocturnal hunter, notable for having the widest food spectrum of all sharks, including crustaceans, fish, seals, birds, squid, turtles, sea snakes, dolphins, and even other, smaller sharks. It has a reputation as a “garbage eater”, consuming a variety of inedible, man-made objects that linger in its stomach. The tiger shark is second only to the great white in recorded fatal attacks on humans, but these events are still exceedingly rare.


How deadly is it?

Not very

The red-bellied black snake is a venomous snake in the family Elapidae, indigenous to Australia. It is not aggressive and retreats from human encounters, but can attack if provoked. It’s a large snake that can reach 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in) long.

Bites from red-bellied black snakes can be painful, result in local swelling, prolonged bleeding, and even local necrosis, and require surgical debridement or even amputation. Some people develop a myotoxicity and muscle pain, while others develop nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or excessive sweating.


How deadly is it?

Very rarely

Short-tail stingrays are a type of fish that have flat bodies and no bones, only cartilage. These stingrays can grow up to 4 feet wide and weigh over 200 pounds! They like to hide in the sand at the bottom of the ocean and eat small fish, crabs, and shrimp

Curious and unaggressive, the short-tail stingray may approach humans and can be trained to be hand-fed. However, if startled or harassed, this species is capable of inflicting a serious, even fatal wound with its sting, the most infamous incident being the death of Australian naturalist Steve Irwin when a stingray pierced his chest with its barbed tail.


How deadly is it?

At worst a nip

Short-tail stingrays are a type of fish that have flat bodies and no bones, only cartilage. These stingrays can grow up to 4 feet wide and weigh over 200 pounds! They like to hide in the sand at the bottom of the ocean and eat small fish, crabs, and shrimp

Curious and unaggressive, the short-tail stingray may approach humans and can be trained to be hand-fed. However, if startled or harassed, this species is capable of inflicting a serious, even fatal wound with its sting, the most infamous incident being the death of Australian naturalist Steve Irwin when a stingray pierced his chest with its barbed tail.


How deadly is it?

You’re going to feel it!

The Pterois genus is a group of fish that are venomous, which means they have poison in their bodies. They are also known as lionfish because of their spiky fins that look like a lion’s mane. These fish are found in warm waters .

In humans, Pterois venom can cause systemic effects such as pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, numbness, paresthesia, diarrhoea, sweating, temporary paralysis of the limbs, respiratory insufficiency, heart failure, convulsions, and even death. Fatalities are more common in very young children, the elderly, or those who are allergic to the venom.

2018 DINGO

How deadly is it?

A good doggy

Dingoes are a type of wild dog that live in Australia. They’ve been around for thousands of years and are very important to the ecosystem. Dingoes are known for their sandy-coloured fur and pointy ears.

They are great hunters and eat a variety of animals, such as kangaroos, rabbits, and birds. Although they look like domestic dogs, dingoes are actually a separate species that has adapted to life in the Australian wilderness.


How deadly is it?

You’re on the menu

The Bull shark lives in the ocean, but can also swim in rivers. They are called “Bull” sharks because they have a big, strong body like a bull. Bull sharks have a bite force up to 5,914 newtons (1,330 LBF), weight for weight the highest among all investigated cartilaginous fishes.

Since bull sharks often dwell in very shallow waters, are found in many types of habitats, are territorial by nature, and have no tolerance for provocation, they may be more dangerous to humans than any other species of shark. Bull sharks are one of the three shark species (along with the tiger shark and great white shark) most likely to bite humans.



How deadly is it?

Run. Don’t look back

The Acanthophis genus is a group of venomous snakes that are commonly known as death adders. They live in Australia and New Guinea, and they have short, stocky bodies with triangular heads.

A bite from a death adder can cause paralysis which seems minor at first but can cause death from a complete respiratory shutdown in six hours. Before antivenom was introduced, it is reported that about 50% of death adder bites were fatal. A fatal bite is less likely now as the anti-venom is widely available and the progression of envenomation symptoms is slow.



How deadly is it?

Ants in your pants

Amongst the world’s oldest ants, having first appeared approximately 100 million years ago, Bull Ants were once found in both the Americas and Europe. Believed to have been first discovered in Australia by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770 whilst sailing the world with James Cook, Bull Ants are today known by over 90 species – all but one of which are endemic to Australia.

Well known for its large powerful jaws and venomous stinger, the Bull Ant has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s most dangerous ant, having caused a number of deaths to humans allergic to their powerful venom.



How deadly is it?

All bark, no bite

Despite popular belief, spiders are not always the predator in the macro world, often coming off second best to the occasional centipede or wasp. Very few arthropods have spiders as their main diets, but one such creature is Isometroides vescus, the Australian Spiral Burrow, or Spider-hunting Scorpion.

With a diet almost exclusively made up of Wolf Spiders (Lycosa), this charming little monster wanders Australia, stuffing its face with hairy legs. Found all over Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa, and growing up to 6 cm (2.4″) in length, this orangey-yellow scorpion is not deadly to humans, although they are venomous.


How deadly is it?

To be avoided!

Living up to its deadly and dangerous reputation, this boldly striped yellow and black snake has venom that is more toxic than that of a cobra. The most widely distributed sea snake species, it can be found in warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, where it feeds mostly on fish.

No deaths have been recorded from bites in Australian waters and only one death has ever been recorded, helped no doubt by a very effective anti-venom.


How deadly is it?

Just no, really…

With highly toxic venom produced in large amounts and large fangs to inject it, the Sydney funnel-web is without a doubt the deadliest spider in Australia, and very likely the world, It’s found in New South Wales, commonly in urban areas as well as forests. Having the habit of finding itself humid sheltered places, they can even survive, and bite, if they fall in a swimming pool.

Very aggressive when threatened, they have fangs larger than a brown snake’s, and they’re powerful enough to pierce toenails. Just 1.5-3.5 cm in size, their venom has a compound that can attack the human nervous system and is quite capable of killing. Since the anti-venom became available in 1981, there have been no fatalities.


How deadly is it?

You’re going to die

Able to kill in minutes, since 1883 the Box Jellyfish has been responsible for at least 80 known deaths, though likely many more. They have tentacles that are generally invisible, can entangle you, and have millions of harpoons that inject a lot of venom at once.

The venom contains hemotoxins (affects the blood and attacks organs) and neurotoxins (attack the brain), as well as substances which cause scarring on the skin. The sheer agony of the sting can cause cardiac arrest in a couple of minutes. Failing that, the venom will polish you off in 30 minutes.


How deadly is it?

You might live!

Responsible for 24 known deaths in the last 35 years, the Eastern Brown Snake is regarded as the second most venomous land snake in the world. On average, one person is killed by this snake every year, which makes it the deadliest snake in Australia.

The bite can cause cardiac arrest but more commonly leads to rapid and uncontrollable bleeding and kidney failure, with symptoms seen within 15 minutes of the bite. It’s found in urban areas, throughout eastern Australia and an isolated population occurs in the Northern Territory, meaning it’s one of the more commonly encountered snakes.


How deadly is it?

You need to ask..?

The Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), also known as saltie or estuarine crocodile, is the largest living reptile, and the males of this species can reach sizes of up to 6.7 m and weigh as much as 2,000 kg. It can live in salt water, but usually resides in mangrove swamps, estuaries, deltas, lagoons, and lower stretches of rivers.

It’s a formidable and opportunistic hypercarnivorous “apex” ambush predator capable of taking almost any animal that enters its territory, including fish, crustaceans, reptiles, birds and mammals, including other predators. Due to their size and distribution, saltwater crocodiles are the most dangerous extant crocodilian to humans, and there are 1–2 deaths every year in Australia.


How deadly is it?

Sneaky little f…

Each small octopus carries enough poison to kill two dozen humans, and it’s the same nerve toxin as that found in Japanese delicacy, Fugu fish. The blue-ringed octopus has only been attributed with causing three known deaths, but there have been no deaths since the 1960s and hospital admissions are exceedingly uncommon.

The bite is slight and produces at most only a small laceration with no more than a tiny drop of blood and little or no discolouration. Bites are usually reported as being painless, and often the victim doesn’t even know they’ve been bitten.


How deadly is it?

That’s gonna hurt

One of the most impressive of living creatures, the Great White Shark is an apex predator found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans and has no natural predators other than the Orca (Killer Whale). Mainly known for its size, mature individuals have been recorded growing up to 6.4 m in length, although reports of sharks measuring over 8 m and 3,324 kg in weight.

Humans are not a preferred prey of the great white shark, but the great white is nevertheless responsible for the largest number of reported and identified fatal unprovoked shark attacks on humans, although this happens very rarely (typically fewer than 10 times a year globally).


How deadly is it?

Depends where the bite is!

Found throughout Australia, including urban areas, they like to hide in dry, sheltered places such as garden sheds, mailboxes and famously, under toilet seats. Around 2000 people are reportedly bitten each year, about 1 in 8 receiving antivenom, and no fatalities have been recorded since the availability of antivenom in the 1950s.

The bigger female is 1 cm long and is recognisable by the red stripe on its back that gives the spider its name. Their venom affects the nervous system, but small fangs make many of the bites ineffective. A bite is extremely painful and can remain so for days in many cases.




COMPOSITION 0.999 silver (0.9999 after 2017)
WEIGHT 31.103 grams
DIAMETER 40.6 mm
MINTAGE 5,000 (2,500 on later issues)
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
DENOMINATION $100 TVD Tuvalu ($100 Niue, 2021 on)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIAMETER 40.0 mm
BOX / COA Yes / Yes