In recent years, each New Year’s Day has seen The Royal Australian Mint release a distinctive commemorative dollar with various versions of the coin issued throughout the year.
Commonly, these dollars highlight aspects of the country’s history. Last year saw the start of a three-year Colonial Australia series. The 2018 coins were focused on the “Rascals & Ratbags,” Britain’s convicts who provided the reason for the first European settlement of Australia.
This year, the RAM celebrates Australian Bushrangers, or as the RAM refers to them, “The Bold, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
As in past years, four 25.00 mm, 9.00 g aluminum-bronze UNC dollars are available as a set bearing the “C” mintmark and “S” (Sydney), “B” (Brisbane), and “M” (Melbourne) privy marks. In addition, two commemorative proofs have been produced: a 25.00 mm, 11.66 g .999 fine silver dollar and a 17.53 mm, tenth-ounce .9999 fine gold $10. The gold and silver both bear the “C” mintmark. Mintages are 5,000 (silver), 1,000 (gold), and 15,000 (UNC).
The coin’s reverse design by Aleksandra Stokic shows two bushrangers front and right with a trooper seemingly departing rapidly stage right. The two bushrangers are not based on any particular historic figure but are intended to be representative of the genre – one male and one female.
BU “C” mintmark bushranger coins are available separately mounted on six different blister cards. Among many possible candidates, the RAM has chosen to feature seven different bushrangers on the six cards. They are Ben Hall, Mad Dog Morgan, Captain Moonlite, the Kenniff Brothers, Captain Thunderbolt & The Captain’s Lady (Mary Ann Ward), and Moondyne Joe.
Bushrangers achieved something of a heroic anti-establishment status in Australian folklore, especially among urban dwellers who were more or less immune from their predations. In the countryside, it was a rather different story. Those less able to defend themselves all too often became easy targets.
The common obverse of these new coins bears the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.