New Years Day January 2010 at the Royal Australian Mint

January 1, 2010

Each year on the 1st January the Royal Australian Mint swaps the dies on the gallery press machines allowing visitors to strike a newly designed coin for the new year (for 2010 it is the 100 Years of Australian Coinage Dollar). The first 100 visitors to the Mint received a special certificate stating that they were among the fist one hundred visitors to visit the RAM for the new year. Collectors and enthusiasts line up for hours to be first in the queue for a special honour.

Coin collector and dollar fanatic Bruce Mansfield arrived at the Mint at 4:20pm on New Years Eve, pulled out his deck chair and esky and sat at the front of the queue for nearly 30 hours and through a night that must have seemed like an eternity. There was no competition for him until after midnight a few more people slowly joined the queue. The blog team arrived just before 6am and got comfortable at 8th position in the queue.

6:45am queue outside the RAM

From there the queue gained momentum and by 10am the RAM almost had their quota of one hundred waiting patiently. The newly opened coffee facility inside the RAM had been attending to those early morning coffee urges taking money and radioing orders inside where they duly brewed up hot drinks and delivered them to those waiting outside. Visitors were not allowed into the building until 10am and the lack of "pitstops" was obvious.

ABC and WIN (channel 9) news arrived and interviewed Bruce about collecting and his overnight experience and how he had guaranteed 1st place in the queue.

RAM staff handed out numbered raffle tickets just before 10am signifying each person's place in the queue and at 10am the doors opened and everyone hustled inside. A brief speech by acting RAM CEO Graham Smith congratulated Bruce on his achievement and he was presented with a framed certificate to house his newly struck coin.

From left: Helen (Mint Shop Manager), Graham Smith (CEO) and 1st Visitor Bruce Mansfield

Whilst being filmed by the news and with cameras flashing from every direction Bruce then struck the first coin on the gallery press for 2010. He donned his white gloves so as not to mark the coin, fed his $3 into the press and hit the button.

Bruce striking the first coin for 2010

The RAM was surprisingly crowded now and everyone else lined up in their numbered order to press 2 coins on the left hand gallery press and up to 5 coins each on the right hand press. The RAM set these odd limits on the day to reduce crowding and allow everyone their chance to mint a coin. Graham Smith made himself available and was friendly and willing to autograph folders or certificates. It was overall a fun and exciting experience but I won't be getting up so early next year.

Framed Certificate Received by the First Visitor

Thanks to our new friend Belinda for keeping us company in the queue for hours and the other collector/forum friends for some interesting coin discussions in the lineup!

Posted by harrisk at January 1, 2010 12:59 PM
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Bookmark and Share