Military Themes For Coin Collections - Royal Australian Mint (RAM) Coin Issues

January 30, 2009

Are you passionate about something in particular in your life? Do you have a specific interest or ideas that drive you? Some people like bugs, others build things, or maybe you have interest in planes or trains. Interest in war and our armed forces is often quite a popular collecting theme, and often coins may only form a small part of a persons militaria collection. There have been many militaria related coin issues in Australia over the years and I'll be talking about these in this post.

Interestingly enough the first commemorative coin release to feature this type of theme was the $5 coin featuring Simpson and his donkey released by the RAM in 1990. This commemorated the 75th Anzac Anniversary. Military themes almost always prove popular and increase in value but true to the normal level of popularity of $5 coins (yes sarcasm here) there was a failure like most other $5 issues in Australia. The proof version of this $5 coin issued in 1990 at $75 currently retails for $75, so no return on investment there!

1995 saw the Royal Australian Mint mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations on a 20 cent coin (the first commemorative 20 cent coin). In 1945 the United Nations had been founded and held it's first meeting on ANZAC day (April 25th for the non Australians) of that year. The RAM mint sets of this year also featured a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII. 1995 also saw a military themed 50 cent release into circulation and also in a PNC. The reverse of this coin featured the well known Australian World War 2 veteran, Edward "Weary" Dunlop.

A celebration of "The Last Anzacs" was the subject of the 1999 and 2000 (only in PNC) special dollar release by the RAM. These were the mintmark releases for 1999 with C, S, B, M and A issues. Also in 2000 a dollar remembering the warship HMAS Sydney II was issued as a collector dollar. One of the most prestigious military awards available in countries of the British Commonwealth is the Victoria Cross and a special dollar commemorating 100 years of it's inception was released in 2000. This is probably the most spectacular collector dollar because of its' appeal, the value of it has appreciated considerably from issue price of $5 to a current catalogue value of $285. This coin was also released in a joint RAM Australia Post PNC "For Valour" .

Clearly wanting to capitalise on the popularity of military themed coins the year 2001 brought NCLT issues of the Centenary of the Australian Army (also a PNC), 80th Anniversary of the RAAF and the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy . These were housed separately or were available in a 3 coin uncirculated set.

2002 commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait during WWII. This five dollar coin featured the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth.

In 2003 a national memorial was opened in Anzac Parade close to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This Korean War dollar coin depicts the architecture of this feature the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial. The anniversary of 50 Years since the end of the Korean War was the subject of the NCLT mintmark issue dollar for 2003 and features a peace dove.

In 2005 the RAM released the Coming Home 20 cent piece and the Remebrance 50 cent into circulation. 2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and was also the theme of the yearly mint and proof set releases from the mint.

Recently Australian military peacekeepers have been vital in holding stability to certain regions of the world. In 2007 the RAM released a commemorative dollar for their 60th anniversary.

I have really just covered the military themed coins from the Royal Australian Mint here. The Perth Mint in Western Australia has also released a number of coins that also cover this theme. World wide there are many countries that issue military themed coins. These include the commemorative half dollars of the first half of the 20th century in the United States, NCLT from small countries such as the Cook Islands and Palau, and circulating coins from countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada. You can see that even restricting yourself to coins of this theme from Australia that you can build an impressively large and well themed collection. If you were to branch out into coins from other countries you could expand your collection almost endlessly. Of course you could specialize even further, because the sheer number of military related coins is so vast!

Posted by harrisk at January 30, 2009 1:56 PM
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