$ 1 silver coins were issued by the Royal Australian Mint featuring works by native artists depicting astronomical teachings.
The coins show ‘The Emu in the Sky’ and ‘The Seven Sisters’ by Aboriginal artists Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney from Wiradjuri in NSW and Wajarri-Noongar wife Christine ‘Jugarnu’ Collard from Western Australia.
The ethereal features in the artworks are prominent in the astronomical teachings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander across the country and showcase wildlife, seasonal changes, and cultural insights into indigenous knowledge.
Only 5,000 of each coin were produced, which is sure to make them popular with collectors and unique coin hunters alike.
“Indigenous Australians were the first astronomers and have used the stars for tens of thousands of years as navigational charts, calendars and storytelling,” the Royal Australian Mint describes.
Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney’s Emu in the Sky is one of two new silver $ 1 coins created by the Royal Australian Mint
Town Hall Coins and Collectables director David Jobson told Daily Mail Australia that the coins were silver because they were made with collectors in mind.
“The coins are not for circulation, they are made for collectors,” he said. “They are quite large, larger than a fifty-cent piece, and weigh half an ounce of silver.”
The Emu in the Sky is a dark constellation known as Gugurmin, with the coin depicting the emu stretching from the Southern Cross to Sagittarius for the Milky Way.
Mr. Towney is from the Wiradjuri clan in NSW
Mr. Towney’s Wiradjuri clan from central NSW is known for connecting the people and the land with the cosmos in their astronomy known as Wantanggangura.
In Wiradjuri astronomy, when Gugurmin rises at dusk in April and May, it means the start of the emu’s breeding season, before nesting in June and July and hatching in August and September.
A male emu sitting on eggs is seen on the base of the coin, along with three males in a dance ceremony.
Mr. Towney’s artwork was implemented in the Australian National Curriculum for students aged 7 and 8 to study native astronomy, as well as in Stellarium planetary software to show native knowledge of the movement of stars.
Ms. Collard’s piece The Seven Sisters draws on knowledge of the Yamaji people of the Murchison region of Western Australia.
The artwork shows the Pleiades star cluster as the seven sisters, known as Nyarluwarri, awaiting the harvest of the emu eggs on the horizon at sunset in April.
The Seven Sisters by Wajarri-Noongar wife Christine ‘Jugarnu’ Collard from Western Australia tells the story of Nyarluwarri
The traditional story involves Nyarluwarri taking to the skies to prevent a man from seeking one of the sisters as a woman, where they travel in the air from east to west every night.
Nyaluwarri is seen moving to the left over the base of the coin before an emu rises from the southeast after the seven sisters set after the sun in the west.
Both pieces were featured in the Ilgarijiri art exhibition, which translates to ‘things that belong to the sky’ and was intended to expand and share native astronomical knowledge using modern technology.
Mr. Jobson said that while the value of both coins was $ 1, he wouldn’t recommend redeeming them.
“All coins have face value, so technically you could spend it, but at $ 70 each, I wouldn’t recommend it,” he said.
Mr. Jobson said The Emu in the Sky is more popular than The Seven Sisters in his store and predicted their value will increase in the future.
“In this particular series, the coins are really eye-catching and have become very popular for their design,” he said.
“I imagine these would do reasonably well in the future.”
A third coin in the series will be released next year.
Both works of art were featured in the Ilgarijiri art exhibition meaning ‘things belonging to the sky’ with only 5,000 of each coin made
Unique coins from rare batches or misprints are often worth far more than their monetary value.
Coin collectors bid through auction site The Purple Penny on a unique $ 1 coin, a so-called ‘mule’.
The mule is a hybrid of a 10 cent piece and a $ 1 coin and was in production at the Royal Australian Mint for a year before the flaw was discovered.
The coins are thicker than a regular $ 1 coin, with a double-edged border and a queen image on the reverse.
The mule was created when a technician at the Mint in Canberra accidentally linked the crowd of ‘rose dollar reverse to the obverse of the queen’s head, normally used for the 10 cent piece’, the Blog about collecting Australian coins is reading.
The mule is listed for $ 4,250 and is described by the auctioneer as ‘the most beautiful we’ve ever seen’.
‘Easily in the top 10 of well-known coins of this type’, is the description. “Almost impossible to improve and represents excellent value.”
A rare ‘mule’ coin (pictured left) is sold at an online auction for over $ 4,000