The highly anticipated annual queue at the Royal Australian Mint to get the last coin of the year and the first coin of the new year will be a hands-off event for keen collectors.
To ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff due to COVID-19, the event, which is normally held onsite at the Mint in Canberra on the last and first days of each year, will be digital.
The event will also be one of the last for the Mint’s outgoing CEO, Ross MacDiarmid, who after 10 years, leaves the Mint with a strong balance sheet on 4 December.
Mr MacDiarmid said this year is the first time anyone from anywhere in Australia has the opportunity to get their hands on the first coin of the year without needing to be in Canberra.
“While we will miss seeing the familiar faces and long lines at the Mint, it is important for us to continue this tradition in a way that keeps our visitors and staff safe,” he said.
In previous years, avid coin collectors and enthusiasts have lined up outside the Mint for several hours for the rare opportunity to press the first coin of the year.
“We have celebrated the first coin of the year for more than a decade,” said Mr MacDiarmid. “It has become a much-loved tradition for people young and old from across Australia. This event is especially significant because not only is it the first coin in Australia, but also in the world.”
People from across Australia can now enter the ballot for both the last and first coins of the year.
For people who miss out, the 2021 ‘C’ mintmark gallery press coins will be available to purchase from the Mint’s eShop.
The 2021 Mintmark coin theme will be announced to the public on 1 January, 2021.
Mr MacDiarmid leaves the Mint with international and domestic sales revenue having grown from $25 million in 2010 to $100 million in 2019, successfully offsetting slowing demand for circulating coins.
After leading a number of organisations in Melbourne, and working in both tourism and business development in Canberra, Mr MacDiarmid led the Mint’s transformation into a high-performing business and a well recognised cultural institution.
Visitation has grown from 180,000 to more than 360,000 under his leadership and the Mint has won multiple awards, including national engineering awards, export awards, international product awards, tourism awards and safety awards.
“It has been an absolute privilege to lead the Mint through such a transformative program,” said Mr MacDiarmid.
“I want to thank the staff for trusting me that we could deliver, and in fact have delivered, on a shared vision of becoming a world-class leader in the minting world.
“I also want to thank Treasury and the Federal Government for trusting that we could adopt the private sector modus operandi by focusing on optimising shareholder value while still significantly enhancing the reputation and the brand of the Royal Australian Mint, now reflected in very positive national awareness and a net promoter score that would be the envy of many organisations.”