The first coin of 2021, celebrating the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force, is already flying out of the Royal Australian Mint after a woman from Queensland won the first minted coin in an online ballot.
The first coin of the year event is usually a tradition that sees keen coin collectors line up outside the Mint in Canberra on New Year’s Day hoping they will get to press the first coin of the year, but the ballot went online due to COVID-19.
Lorraine Edgar of Charleville in Queensland was the lucky winner and receives a unique, one-of-a-kind coin set that includes the coin pressed by Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, the ‘C’ Mintmark and Privy coins, a silver proof coin and a certificate authenticating the coin.
The highly anticipated theme will be featured on the coins pressed on the Mint’s public gallery press throughout the year.
The Mint’s acting CEO, Cristy England, said that ensuring the much-loved event went ahead despite the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 was important.
“This is such an important event for the coin collector community, and after an unparalleled year, we wanted to be able to keep the first coin of the year tradition alive, in whatever way possible.
“We are excited that so many people from across Australia embraced the new format of the first coin of the year event,” Ms England said.
Air Marshal Hupfeld joined Mint staff onsite in Canberra to unveil the theme and press the first coin of 2021.
“The opportunity to have Air Force members and aircraft featured on the 2021 Royal Australian Mint coin sets is a superb way to honour the sacrifice and service of our people over the past 100 years,” he said.
“Air Force’s contribution to the Australian Defence Force is one to be commemorated, particularly for our people serving today and as we look forward to continuing to evolve into the future.”
Three iconic Royal Australian Air Force planes are depicted on the reverse of the coin, alongside a wedge-tail eagle which is also featured on the Air Force badge. The packaging of the 2021 gallery press coins includes inspirational stories from a selection of Air Force personnel from the last 100 years.