On Thursday, January 1, the Royal Australian Mint in the capital city of Canberra introduced the first Australian coin of 2015, with the unveiling of a new AUS$1 commemorating the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
The coin is part of the Official ANZAC Centenary Coin Program, which honors the men who fought in the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli. The Gallipoli Campaign was an attempt by British forces to wrest control of the Dardanelles (one of the straits linking the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, in modern-day Turkey) from the Ottoman Empire. While the campaign meant to open supply channels to Russia was ultimately unsuccessful, it was a pivotal moment in the development of a national consciousness–independent of the British Empire–in both Australia and New Zealand.
Gallipoli is from the Greek for “beautiful city”.
The ANZAC Centenary commemorative design features a somber group of soldiers (or “diggers”, as they’re referred to by Australians and New Zealanders) to either side of a bugler, who is portrayed mid-song. The Gallipoli coastline can be seen in the background. A cross honoring the war dead occupies the center of the composition, both aesthetically and spiritually.
Designers at the Mint worked with the Australian War Memorial to make sure they achieved the right tone. As the Royal Mint’s Chief Executive Ross MacDiarmid said in a press release:
“The 2015 $1 ‘C’ Mintmark Uncirculated Coin – Anzac Centenary is the first coin released for the year when we will mark 100 years since Gallipoli. The Mint takes its role as a chronicler of Australian stories very seriously, in particular when commemorating our role in the First World War.
“We are proud to continue to craft coins which share the stories of Australians in war, conflict and peacekeeping, through treasures which will be cherished and handed down for generations to come.”
The 2015 ANZAC Centenary $1 face value uncirculated coin with a ‘C’ (Canberra) mintmark is available for AU$3, but only by visiting the Mint in person. The first 100 customers to purchase the commemorative received a certificate verifying that it was one of the first 100 to come off the press. A disclaimer on the Royal Australian Mint’s website denied all responsibility for those who chose to wait in line to purchase the coin.
A $300 gold and a $50 silver coin were also released January 1. The gold edition has a face value of $10; the silver version has a face value of $1, same as the uncirculated coin. Unlike the uncirculated dollar, you can order them from the Royal Mint’s eShop at https://eshop.ramint.gov.au/product-category.aspx?KWD=anzac%20centenary or by calling the Mint’s contact center at 1-300-652-020.
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At the time of writing, one Australian dollar (AUD) trades for approximately $0.81 USD.