This medal is a collector and souvenir tourist piece struck by the Royal Australian Mint and sold in the Mint shop from 1970 to 1984 (after which the design was changed). It’s catalogued in the Carlisle reference book as R/7 and is incorrectly labelled as circa 1966. One can infer from the shape of the 50c and the lack of dollar coin it’s issue was sometime from 1969 to 1984 -this is confirmed in the information below. The medal is 54 millimeters in diameter. Whilst the design didn’t change within this time the alloy and finish did with the medal being first struck in 70% copper 30% zinc (brass) antique finish followed later by 95% copper and 5% nickel as struck and bright gilt finish and much later (1982) the alloy updated to and 86% copper and 14% zinc bronze known as tombac.
The box it was issued in changed over the years, the example above found in a small rectangular box and others in larger blue or brown boxes. All have velour lining and a material lined lid with words printed “ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT” on the inside and the Australian Coat of Arms on the outside lid. The below example housed in a brown vinyl flip case with green plush lining and the words “ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT” in small gold lettering printed on inner top lining of lid misaligned to the right. It is also seen in variations of the brown box – blue box, blue lining, blue writing.
The Chief Engraver at the Royal Australian Mint at the time (1970) and the Mint’s first Chief Engraver Vambola Veinberg designed the medal with his initials V V seen below the tree to the right of the Mint building. Interestingly Mr Veinberg designed the gold and opal ornate scissors used to cut the ribbon opening the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.
Australian Historical Medals 1788-1988 by Leslie J Carlisle is unable to give a mintage of this medal so I’ve super-sleuthed through the Royal Australian Mint annual reports for the mintages.
1969-1970 Mint Medal photograph. No mintage provided. Alloy 70 Copper 30 Zinc Florentine finish Diameter 2.125″
1970-71 Mint medal A total of 1,544 Mint Medals were struck in 70/30 brass with a florentine finish.
1971-72 Brass 20 pieces
1972-73 Brass 566 pieces
1973-74 Brass 88 pieces
1974-75 Brass 440 pieces
1975-76 Cupro-Nickel 856 pieces
1976-77 Cupro-Nickel 95/5 2205
1977-78 Cupro-Nickel 95/5 2,798, Gilt 398
1978-79 Cupro-Nickel 95/5 Gilt 1000
1979-80 Cupro-Nickel 95/5 3545, Gilt 1413
1980-81 Copper-Nickel 95/5 2000, Gilt 1000
Totals 17,873 in all finishes note: may also be contained in RAM annual reports not accessible by the author.
The Australian Coin Review Magazine September 1970
“NEW MEDAL FROM THE AUSTRALIAN MINT
The Royal Australian Mint has produced a handsome medal that should excite the interest of all collectors, particularly those in Australia. It shows the Mint on one side and an arrangement of all Australian decimal coins and a spray of wattle on the other.
The medal has a diameter of 2 1/8 inches, weighs 2 1/3 ounces and is finished in an antique Florentine bronze. It is packed in a plush-lined presentation box and is available at the Mint Canberra for $5.00 or by post $5.50. The initial striking will be 1000 in bronze and it is possible that a number may be struck in silver if the demand indicates a requirement.”
I have not seen the silver example mentioned above which I tend to think wasn’t struck.
The similar medal struck from 1984-1988 can be found here: Royal Australian Mint medal 1985-1988 Carlisle R/8