The Great American Coin Hunt coincided with the April 21-28 National Coin Week. It was an event meant to encourage people to begin collecting coins. A virtual treasure trove of ‘older’ coins and bank notes were released back into circulation by both coin dealers and collectors.
The plan may be different, but the Great Aussie Coin Hunt that ended Oct. 21 had the same mission—to encourage the non-collecting public to participate in the hobby.
One big difference from Australia’s American cousin program is that the Australian hunt was initiated and sponsored by Australia Post and the Royal Australian Mint. The coin series features a virtual A to Z of what was promoted as an “iconic reflection of Aussie life.” Part of the circulating commemorative dollar coin program was released every Monday through Oct. 21. The coin subjects offer an eclectic mix of innovative reverses while retaining Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
Unintentionally, the coins were introduced following the release of 46 million ‘new and improved’ Australia $50 bank notes on which a typographically misspelling of the word ‘responsibility’ appears within a micro-printed quote made by Edith Cowan, Australia’s first female member of Parliament. This misspelling caught the attention of the public.
Australia Post’s Nicole Sheffield said the commemorative dollar coins offer “the opportunity for wonderful conversations about quintessential Australian life,” adding, “It’s a great way for grandparents to connect with grandchildren, and for all of us to share our own experiences and memories with each other – both here and with friends and family overseas.”
Australia Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing Michael Sukkar said, “We are excited that The Great Aussie Coin Hunt has now officially launched, giving families and all Australians the opportunity to participate in a fun and educational nationwide coin hunt.”
While in the United States, the program involved the release of older coins and bank notes into circulation, the Australian coins are new releases that were only initially available by receiving them in change when making a purchase at Australia Post. The number of coins given in change per individual was limited.
When challenged by a Twitter user with the question, “What can you actually buy from Australia Post?” the postal service replied, “Need some new stationery? A phone charger? Some lollies? Maybe an airbed or a sewing machine? There is a surprising array of gifts and goodies at your local post office these days.”
The commemoratives also benefit some commercial enterprises. Among the coin subjects is Sanitarium-owned breakfast cereal Weet-Bix, and the Arnott’s Biscuit and Seventh Day Adventist Church-owned Iced VoVo biscuit.
The reverse subjects appearing on the coins are as follows. Collectors may have to admit the subjects are “different” from the usual commemoration of something or someone out of the past. Readers can view the online site, auspost.com.au/great-aussie-coin-hunt, for an explanation of what some of the names mean in American English language.
A Australia Post
C cricket (the sport)
H Hills Hoist
I Iced VoVo
J jackaroo and jillaroo
M meat pie
N Neighbours (television show)
Q quokka (a marsupial)
R Royal Flying Doctor Service
S Surf Life Saving
T thongs (the shoes)
W Weet-Bix breakfast cereal
X Xantippe (township name)
Y yowie, Australia’s answer to Big Foot
Z Zooper Dooper