Visiting the Minties
The Minties are in town again. Not the sweet, mint-flavoured lollies that plucked amalgam fillings from innocent teeth in the seventies. I mean the good people from the Royal Australian Mint who have brought their mobile coin press to the Gold Coast.
A couple of weeks ago, I dropped my plans for the afternoon, jumped on my Brompton folding bike and headed north to Broadbeach. The latest Mint News had landed in my emails that morning telling me the Royal Australian Mint had a pop-up shop at the newly-opened Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Superstore. The pop-up shop would be at Broadbeach for three days to coincide with Australia Day celebrations. Realising that afternoon was the only chance I’d have to see the pop-up shop over the three days, I pedalled feverishly into a hot northerly headwind for fifteen kilometres to get there before the Superstore closed for the day. I made it! Yes, sweaty. But I made it.
The Royal Australian Mint produces Australia’s circulating coins. It also produces proof and uncirculated coins to sell as collector items. If you’re wondering why the Mint is at the GC2018 Superstore, think medals. The Minties (the talented people from the Royal Australian Mint who design, mint and release coins) have been instrumental in producing the medals for the 2018 Commonwealth Games which will be held on the Gold Coast between April 4-15.
The design of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals was created by artist, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, a local Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul woman of Quandamooka Country. The shifting sands and tidal changes that define the Gold Coast coastline inspired her design. Motifs of shells and freshwater reed are present too.
Here’s how the Mint describes the process for making the GC2018 medals:
“The Royal Australian Mint used its largest coin press to produce all of the medals. Each medal blank is individually inspected by hand and then struck four times to ensure the design is perfectly formed on the metal surface. The gold and silver medals are struck four times, twice at 280 tonnes and then another two times at 260 tonnes. The bronze medals are also struck four times but at 460 tonnes. Once they are removed from the press, the medals are inspected again, ensuring the medal is faultless and ready to be awarded to the Commonwealth Games champions.”
As well as making the GC2018 medals, the Mint has also produced commemorative coins. Some of the XXI Commonwealth Games coins have limited mintage (there will be only 1000 of the $50 Gold Proof Coin produced). Others like $1 Coloured Frosted Uncirculated Borobi coin, will be unlimited. And this leads me to the Mint’s mobile coin press. For people who buy a Borobi commemorative coin at the pop-up shop, the mobile press will imprint a small map of Australia on the coin.
I met the Minties, had a yarn and learnt that I needn’t have rushed to the Superstore that afternoon because they’re coming back again. From February 23-25, the Mint pop-up shop will be at Broadbeach in the GC2018 Superstore. Apparently they’ll also be visiting again during the Games. The Superstore is filled mostly with souvenirs which may or may not be of interest to you. For me, the little corner occupied by the Minties made it worth the visit.