Who Designs Australian Coins?

January 2, 2010

You're probably intimately familiar with the echidna on the our 5c coin, the lyrebird on our 10c coin, the platypus on the 20c, the coat of arms on the 50c coin, and 5 kangaroos on the renowned mob of roos $1 coin. All of these designs were sculpted by Stuart Devlin, the well known silver smith, coin designer and jeweller to the Queen. Devlin designed the $1 reverse in 1984 while the other coins were designed by him in the early 1960's for the decimal changeover on 14 February 1966. As is quite common Devlin marked his coin designs with his initials, and if you look closely at the reverse of the coins you'll still see his initials there more than 40 years after he designed the coins (other than the $1 coin).

However, unless you're a dedicated coin collector you probably do not know the names of the talented coin designers who are responsible for the many collector coins that are released each year. You probably don't even know their initials! The Royal Australian Mint seems to have stopped the practice of allowing the designers of the reverses of their coins to sign their work. In fact we believe the practice largely stopped in 1989 when Horst Hahne's initials disappeared from the reverse of the $2. There seems to have been odd issues in the intervening years that had the designers initials (such as the 2000 Sydney Dollar, the 2005 Dancing Man dollar). Oddly the initials of the designers of the obverse of Australian coins has continued to appear uninterrupted. It certainly seems a shame that talented artists such as Vladimir Gottwald, Wojciech Pietranik, Caitlin Goodall are not seeming to receive the consistent credit they deserve. However, we've noted that in the issues of the last 18 months or so that the designers initials seem to have re-appeared on the reverses of our coins. Here's a list of dollar coins we've seen initials on.

  • 2007 Peacekeepers Dollar - CG below right hand holding globe
  • 2008 Scout Dollar - CG under the second A in Australia
  • 2008 Year of Planet Earth Dollar- Incuse G at 4.30 next to rim
  • 2008 Quarantine Dollar - WP in western Victoria on map of Australia
  • 2008 MacKillop Dollar - Incuse G under hand of rightmost child
  • 2009 Year of the Ox Dollar - incuse G under ox neck
  • 2009 Astronomy Dollar - CG under fence on far right
  • 2010 Year of the Tiger Dollar - incuse G next to tiger neck
  • 2010 Centenary of Australian Coinage Dollar- incuse G under Edward VII portrait
  • 2010 Burke and Wills Dollar - WP under dig tree

So if you're wondering what the designers initials look like, then see the image below.

WP Wojciech Pietranik (left), Incuse G Vladimir Gottwald (centre), CG Caitlin Goodall (right)

So if you get a shiny dollar coin in your change (and it's not a mob of roos) or buy one of the new collector dollars from the RAM why not give yourself a minutes entertainment by taking a closer look and see if you can spot the designers initials.

Posted by mnemtsas at January 2, 2010 5:07 PM
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