Royal Australian Mint wraps up the night sky with a Northern Hemisphere domed gold coin

The excellent and well recieved Southern Sky and subsequent Northern Sky series of domed coins from the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) wrapped up last year and while we’ve obviously run out of sky to cover, the mint hasn’t run out of coin ideas for this theme. Released in February was a one-ounce gold coin that covered the whole of the southern sky with a new twist.

Most constellations in the sky have a pattern associated with them, be it a bear, a hunter, a belt etc. and these remain part of popular culture even today, despite having their origins centuries ago. The southern sky coin depicted the sky in just that form; symbolic animals representing the many different constellations. This northern sky sibling is exactly the same. Amongst those featured are Pegasus, Taurus, Hercules and Andromeda, all having rich back stories attached to them from ancient times.

A domed strike, the sky is presented on the concave face with the effigy of the Queen on the convex obverse. It’s a classic numismatic, almost a modern take on an old subject and we think it deserves to do well on that basis alone. Eschewing all the usual gimmicks like adornments and colouring, the traditional collector will appreciate this one we’re sure.

Because it’s struck in an ounce of gold the market is smaller than if it were silver, so only 750 will be produced. Beautifully boxed, it’s a really cool package and we’d absolutely love to see a silver version of this and the earlier southern coin. How about it RAM? Available to order now, the coin is apparently ready to ship and sells for $2,600 AUD, although international buyers won’t pay the sales tax and will pay $2,363.40.

2017 CELESTIAL DOME: NORTHERN SKY GOLD COIN

NORTHERN CELESTIAL HEMISPHERE

The Northern Celestial Hemisphere or the Northern Sky is part of a rotating astronomical region in the sky. It is the northern hemisphere of the celestial sphere. The northern sky is that half of the starry sky, which is north of the sky equator. It can be overlooked from the North Pole. The farther south, the less is visible to the observer. In good visibility conditions, the observer encompasses around 2000 freely visible fixed stars, with the use of a field glass about 20,000 to 40,000 stars.

In the context of astronomical discussions or writing about celestial mapping, it may also simply then be referred to as the Northern Hemisphere. For the purpose of celestial mapping, the sky is considered by astronomers as the inside of a sphere divided in two halves by the celestial equator. The Northern Sky or Northern Hemisphere is therefore that half of the celestial sphere that is north of the celestial equator. Even if this one is the ideal projection of the terrestrial equatorial onto the imaginary celestial sphere, the Northern and Southern celestial hemispheres must not be confused with descriptions of the terrestrial hemispheres of the Earth itself.

SPECIFICATION

NAME 2017 NORTHERN SKY
DENOMINATION $100 Australian
COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIAMETER 38.61 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS Domed strike
MINTAGE 750
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT