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Perth Mint strikes tribute to horse

Jennifer McKenna’s 2017 reverse design of the silver bullion $1 featuring a frisky Australian Stock Horse. (Image courtesy The Perth Mint)

For a couple of years, Australia’s Perth Mint has been striking coins to celebrate the Australian Stock Horse, a distinctive breed developed Down Under.

This year, the mint has produced three coins: a 40.60 mm, 31.107 g (one ounce) .9999 fine silver bullion $1; a 60.60 mm, 15.533 g (five ounces) .9999 fine silver gilded $8 proof; and a 50.50 mm, 155.533 g (five ounces) .9999 fine gold $500 proof. Mintages are 10,000, 500 and 99, respectively.

The silver $1 design by Jennifer McKenna shows a frisky Aussie Stock Horse rearing on its hind legs; the gilded $8 presents a montage of Stock Horses doing their stuff in the Australian outback; and the gold $500 features a Stock Horse grazing peacefully in a rural setting. The $8 and $500 are the work of Natasha Muhl.

A montage of Australian Stock Horses in action and repose grace this 5 oz gilded silver proof $8. (Image courtesy The Perth Mint)

For those unfamiliar with the Australian Stock Horse, its roots date back to the arrival of Australia’s first nine horses with the First (Convict) Fleet in January 1788. Australia needed horses. It imported others and started an active breeding program. These included Thoroughbreds, Cape of Good Hope Horses, Arabians, Timor Ponies, Welsh Mountain Ponies and, in the mid-20th century, American Quarter Horses.

The need was for horses with stamina and strength. All weaker animals were culled. Eventually, two main breeds emerged: the Australian Stock Horse and the Waler. The latter is a larger and stronger breed that, among other matters, was used by the Australian Army in the First World War.

The Stock Horse is not as big but is well proportioned, with a finely cut and expressive head, large eyes and broad forehead. They are intelligent, courageous, and have great staying power. While agile and quick moving, they remain calm and responsive.

Natasha Muhl’s design for this year’s five-ounce gold $500 proof celebrating the Australia’s Stock Horse. (Image courtesy The Perth Mint)

Height ranges from 14 to 16.2 hands (56 to 66 inches, 142 to 168 cm). They were officially recognized as a distinct breed in 1971.

 

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