2013 The Ashes 20 Cent

December 15, 2013

Australian 20 Cent 2013 The Ashes Coin (image courtesy www.ramint.gov.au)

It's that time of year again - summer - the sound of cicada's, the slapping away of mosquitoes, warm sultry nights, the smell of barbeque's, the promise of a holiday over the festive season AND cricket. And not just any cricket match, but the biggest rivalry of them all - The Ashes Series comprising of 5 Test matches between England and Australia, being played in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

And to celebrate the 2013-2014 Commonwealth Bank Ashes Series, the Royal Australia Mint is releasing a commemorative 20 cent coin. Australia's honour is on the line - a triumphant win is required to regain The Ashes series from the English, who have successfully won all 3 of the Ashes series played since 2009.

Most people by now know that this great sporting event was established in 1882 after Australia's first Test win on English soil, after a cheeky and satirical obituary was published in The Sporting Times declaring that "English cricket is dead, the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia' (Wendy Lewis, Simon Bladerstone & John Bowan - Events that Shaped Australia, New Holland, page 75, ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9) with the English captain Ivo Bligh vowing to "regain those ashes".

This started the tradition of The Ashes series being played biennially, alternating between the southern and northern hemispheres. However, this year, tradition is being broken - to avoid an Australian series being held immediately before a Cricket World Cup event, this Ashes series is being held only 3 months after the end of the English 2013 Ashes series. The traditional Ashes biennial competition will continue after the 2015 series.

The popularity, reputation and cult status of The Ashes has led to some interesting references and parody's.

In 1908, the rugby league rivalry between Great Britain and Australia was referred to, by the Australians, as the "Ashes".

And in the 1982 Douglas Adam's novel "Life, the Universe and Everything" (the 3rd book in the trilogy "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy") a fundamental element of the book's plot was that an urn containing the ashes of a burnt stump, was stolen by alien robots, with the ashes unlocking the Wikkit Gate and releasing an imprisoned world call Krikkit.

The game of cricket has certainly changed from the game played in 1882 - technology in particular is just an integral part of the game as the players. There's Hawk Eye (determining if Leg Before Wicket (LBW) decisions are correct), Hot Spot (has since been dropped but uses infra-red imaging to determine if the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad), Snickometer (sound analysis tool), Eagle Eye (ball tracking technology), stump microphones, television replays and the Decision Review System (DRS) where each side can contest a decision up to pre-arranged number of times.

To date, 67 series have been played - Australia and England both winning 31 times, with 5 drawn series. So there's a lot at stake - you can be sure that a large number of the Australian and British public will be glued to their radio's and televisions this summer.

This 2013-2014 Commonwealth Bank Ashes Series 20 cent is only available in uncirculated finish and is struck in copper-nickel. It weighs 11.3 grams and is 28.52 millimetres in diameter just like the standard 20 cent but is issued in a blister and printed presentation card for collectors. The depiction of a cricket player in full swing was designed by Royal Australian Mint's Aleksandra Stokic, with the obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. At present, the 20c unciruclated coin is being released with unlimited mintage but to be determined by collector demand.

The Mint has previously issued a number of coins celebrating the Ashes including the 2007 The Ashes Dollar, The Ashes PNC and the 2011 Six Stitcher 20 cent design also in a PNC.

Posted by harrisk at December 15, 2013 1:46 PM
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