Eager coin collectors gathered at the Royal Australian Mint this morning (1 January), with one lucky enthusiast able to make history.
They pressed and then took home the first coin of 2023 – not just in Australia, but for the world.
It’s the first time coin collectors have been able to enter the Royal Mint since the start of the COVID pandemic, with CEO Leigh Gordon welcoming everyone back.
“After a two-year hiatus, we are excited to bring back this annual tradition and have members of the public gather in person to collect the first coins, as well as observe the exciting new theme of the collection – Creatures of the Deep,” he said.
“This year, we collaborated with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, to showcase the incredible discoveries of scientists aboard the CSIRO’s research vessel Investigator.”
Along with the CSIRO’s flagship vessel, the newly released 2023 coin collection also features rarely seen deep-sea creatures, including the bigfin squid, dumbo octopus, gold coral, cactus urchin and the spiny king crab.
CSIRO Acting CEO Professor Elanor Huntington said the discoveries were made during several voyages along Australia’s southern and eastern coastline, diving down to the depths of some of the nation’s deepest habitats.
“So much of our deep ocean remains a mystery – we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about our deepest oceans. This area is one of the least explored areas on the planet with depths of up to 6 km below sea level,” she said.
“The 2023 new coin collection highlights these collaborative voyages and the significant contribution they have made to better understand life in our oceans.”
An image of Queen Elizabeth II features on the other side of the coins and includes the dates 1952 to 2022, the dates of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.