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Cygnus final RAM sky dome coin

Royal Australian Mint, 6 November 2016

Reverse of the third and last colorized domed silver dollar. It celebrates the constellation of Cygnus. (Image courtesy RAM)

The third and final coin in the Royal Australian Mint’s northern sky domed coin series has been released. On the colored reverse of the spectacular silver $5 proof the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan, shines brightly.

Cygnus is one of the ancient constellations. It was one of the 48 listed by Ptolemy and remains one of the 88 recognized today. It is sometimes known as The Northern Cross – as opposed to the Southern Cross.

It is unclear who the constellation was named in honor of given the number of human-swan transformations that abound in classical mythology.

For starters Zeus took a swan shape for one of his many seductions. In this case he had his eye on Leda, wife of the king of Sparta. She subsequently gave birth to Castor, Pollux, Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.

After Orpheus was murdered he was transformed into a swan and placed in the sky next to his lyre.

Royal Australian Mint, 6 November 2016

The domed Cygnus coin as viewed from the side. (Image courtesy RAM)

Then there was King Cygnus of Liguria who became a swan after he drowned himself following the death of a buddy. No doubt he sang his swan song before he did so.

And Phaethon son of Helios was turned into a swan.

Today the Kepler Mission has shown many of the stars that make-up Cygnus have planets. And the eastern part of the constellation contains the largest known structure in the observable universe: the Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall, a giant galaxy filament.

As with the earlier issues the 39.62mm, one-ounce .999 fine silver domed coin has a mintage of 5,000. The design is by Bronwyn King.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.

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