The 2015 World War 1 Heroes red poppy dollar coin (see image above) is a collector only coin issued by the Royal Australian Mint as part of their Official Anzac Centenary Coin program. The coin is struck to circulation quality and is a standard 25mm aluminium bronze dollar coin weighing 9 grams. The obverse is the standard Ian Rank-Broadley obverse of Queen Elizabeth while the reverse has a design unique to this coin.
The reverse design features a central red poppy in a field of smaller poppies struck into the surface of the coin. The legend at the top of the coin reads WW1 WAR HEROES and the bottom shows the usual 1 DOLLAR. The red poppy on this $1 coin has a black center and on close examination appears to have been applied to the surface of the coin using the same process as the other Australian circulation coloured coins (like the 2014 green remembrance $2 and the 2015 red ANZAC Two dollar coin) rather than the pad-printing process used on earlier collector only coloured coins (like the Animals of the Zoo coins). We’re not quite sure who designed the reverse of this coin as there are no designer initials and we can’t find any references online to the designer. As soon as we know we’ll update this article to include the information.
The mintage of the coin is supposed to be 13,500 coins, but at time of writing we can find no official RAM confirmation of this mintage. Initially it was believed by many that the only way to get the coin was as part of the ANZAC Coin Collection which was marketed by News Corp Australia newspapers. The ANZAC Coin Collection included a number of carded 20 cent coins that could be purchased along with a daily newspaper, however the dollar coin was only available to paid up subscribers and Rewards+ members of the papers. Cost for the full 20 cent collection and the dollar coin was $49.95 to those who were eligible to purchase it. Collections were also made available to educators at just under $20 for the full set of coins. The coin was packaged in an information card (see image below) with the obverse completely covered by the card.
However, it turns out the coin was available via coin dealers too. An article on the RAM website regarding distribution of the coin dated 23 March 2015 said:
A special 15th coin in the collection was available for purchase by Rewards+ Members and subscribers who have a direct relationship with News Corp. The 15th coin is a $1 coloured coin, themed WWI War Heroes. Some coin dealers may have this coin for sale separately.
In early May 2015, well-known Australian coin dealer, Downies, announced via their web site that they had managed to secure an allocation of the 2015 red poppy dollar coins and made them available for pre-order at $39.95 each. Delivery of the coins was expected in June. We were also aware of some coin dealers who had allocations of the full ANZAC coin set including the dollar coin and they were marketing them at $150-$200 or so in May for delivery in June.
Value of the 2015 Red Poppy Dollar Coin
The newspaper ANZAC coin program got a LOT of publicity and there was keen interest in the 20 cent coins, however the exclusivity of the red poppy dollar coin added an extra level of desirability to coin collectors both new and old. At the time of writing of this article (May 21, 2015) the coins were fetching between $200 and $260 on eBay. The price didn’t seem to change much even if the coin came with the accompanying 20 cent ANZAC collection or if the coin was by itself. The number of coins traded on eBay was fairly large which was helping to establish a large group of people who owned the coin having paid more than $200 for it. This points to possibility that the coin could hold the value at or around that level for a number of years. Whether the coin actually appreciates in value above the $200-$250 point is a bit doubtful. The 13,500 mintage is not particularly small and enthusiasm for the coin may wane as the ANZAC Centenary is put behind us in 2016 and beyond.
That being said if you can get your hands on these coins for under $150 you might do well with them in the next few years.