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Discover Australia and experience the Dreaming with this original (and affordable!) work of Aboriginal animal art, struck in pure gold!
The designer of this unique smallest gold coin is none other than Darryl Bellotti, who also has designed the Australian Koala coins as well as the Rectangular Dreaming coins for the Perth Mint. He is an indigenous or native Australian, what we call an Aborigine, who for generations untold coexisted with the endemic Australian animals, hunting them as necessary but always respecting their Spirits. Separate articles in this presentation explore this noteworthy animal series; the artist; the Dreaming and Dreamtime; and the animal itself!
Discover Australia - The Dreaming Series
The Dreaming Series is the latest chapter in The Perth Mints prestigious Discover Australia coin program depicting iconic aspects of Australian wildlife, landscape and culture. Scheduled for release between 2009 and 2011, the beautiful new series comprises pure gold, silver and platinum proof coins depicting unique interpretations of 15 different Australian animals.
The Discover Australia - The Dreaming designs were created by Darryl Bellotti, an Australian Indigenous (aboriginal) artist of both Yamatji and Nyoongar descent. Bellotti is inspired by his boyhood memories of hunting trips in northwestern Australia, where he observed the unique fauna of the island continent and was guided by his elders. The aboriginal art depicts the animal surrounded by patterns that symbolize the Dreamtime and the native landscape of the outback.
There is huge international interest in Australian Indigenous art. Created through the millennia on rocks, on bark, on canvas and in sculpture, the oldest ongoing artistic tradition in the world stretches back tens of thousands of years. The coins of the Discover Australia - The Dreaming Series represent the perfect marriage of precious metals and modern technology with native Australian, aboriginal designs. Each is an original and investment caliber work of fine art.
For more information and pictures of Australian aboriginal artist Darryl Bellotti, including an extensive interview, please see the article at the end of this presentation.
Click here for all of the coins in the Discover Australia - The Dreaming program.
The Brolga (Grus rubicunda) is a common gregarious wetland species of avian found in tropical and eastern Australia, well known for its intricate mating dance. It was formerly known as the "Native Companion". The bird has also been given the name "Australian Crane", a term coined in 1865 by well-known ornithological artist John Gould in his Birds of Australia.
The full-grown brolga is a tall, mid-gray to silver-gray crane, 3.3 to 4.3 feet high, with a wingspan between 5-1/2 and 8 feet, and a broad red band extending from the straight, bone-colored bill around the back of the head. Adult males average a little under 15 pounds in weight.
The Australian crane is a gregarious creatures; the basic social unit is a pair or small family group of about three or four birds, usually parents together with juvenile offspring, though some such groups are non familial. In the non-breeding season, they gather into large flocks, which appear to be many self-contained individual groups rather than a single social unit. Within the flock, families tend to remain separate and to coordinate their activities with one another rather than with the flock as a whole.
Brolga are omnivorous and eat a variety of wetland plants, insects, invertebrates, and small vertebrates such as frogs. They also eat wetland and upland plants, seeds, mollusks, and crustaceans.
Brolgas are well known for their intricate mating dances. The dance begins with a bird picking up some grass and tossing it into the air and catching it in its bill. It then progresses to jumping about 3 feet into the air with outstretched wings, then stretching, bowing, walking, calling, and bobbing its head. Sometimes just one brolga dances for its mate; often they dance in pairs; and sometimes a whole group of about a dozen dance together, lining up roughly opposite each other before starting. The mating dance of the Australian crane is a sight to behold!
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Please note, the mint images of this beautiful proof coin do not do it justice. The fields are deeply mirrored, while the relief devices are white-frosted cameo, producing an incredible contrast!
The Dreaming and the Dreamtime
The aboriginal ideas of the Dreaming and the Dreamtime are spiritual concepts, related to but distinct from each other. In both cases the concepts were transliterated into English words that do not do them justice. The translations are inadequate and nearly completely unrelated to the Western concept of dreams.
The Dreamtime is the "Time Before Time", or the sacred "once upon a time" of the Aborigines. During the Dreamtime, the ancestral, totemic Spirit Beings formed all of creation. Traditional Australian indigenous peoples embrace all phenomena and life as part of a vast, complex system of relationships which can be traced directly back to the ancestral totemic Spirit Beings of the Dreamtime. Different spirits inhabit each and every aspect of creation, so the echoes of the Dreamtime can be seen and felt everywhere.
The Dreaming refers to an individual's or group's set of beliefs or spirituality. For instance, an Indigenous Australian might say that s/he has Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming, or any combination of Dreamings pertinent to his or her spiritual being. The Dreamtime laid down the patterns of life for the Aboriginal people, while the Dreaming is the spirituality passed on from the inception of creation.
Click here for the other beautiful Dreaming coins!
The marvelous minting and refining technologies of the Perth Mint have brought us this petite gold proof, in a purity (99.99%) that puts other, larger gold coins to shame!
Click here for more of the pure "smallest gold" coins!
A brolga sleeps or sits on its nest in a relaxed state. The legends DISCOVER AUSTRALIA and BROLGA define the theme, while the legend 1/25 OZ 9999 GOLD guarantees the weight and purity. The Perth Mint's "P" mint mark is also present.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, in crowned profile facing right. This portrait, featuring Her Majesty wearing a tiara and pearl earrings, was executed by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. The legend ELIZABETH II and the denomination also appear.
Click here for other beautiful Australian coins and sets!
The coin is encapsulated inside an elegant, luxury presentation case with a native Australian jarrah wood lid, protected by a full-color outer box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.
Jarrah is a species of eucalyptus tree found in the southwest of Western Australia. Because of its similar appearance to mahogany, jarrah is sometimes referred to as Swan River mahogany, after the river that runs through Perth.
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|Mint||Perth Mint of Australia|
|Year of Issue||2009|
|Face Value||5 Dollars|
|Gauge (Thickness)||1.40 mm|
|Composition||.9999 Fine (Pure) Gold|
|Edge||Reeded (milled, serrated)|
|Artist||Darryl Bellotti (obverse) |
Ian Rank-Broadley (reverse)
About The Artist - Darryl Bellotti, Indigenous Coin Designer
Much of the inspiration for Darryl Bellotti's stunning artistic creations comes from traditional Aboriginal art. Yet there is a contemporary, innovative feel to his work that stamps it with his own unique style. You will identify it as Australian Indigenous art, but I also want you to recognize it as mine as soon as you see it, is the way he explains his aim.
Darryl deliberately sets out to challenge people's understanding of what they perceive as Indigenous art. For example, he resists the use of too many dots, which would not have been successful in the context of his coin designs. He also strives for a modern edge, finding the design technology available at the Mint to be helpful. I am an Indigenous person of Australia, but I'm also modern in the way that I can create artwork on the computer, he says.
Behind the designs for The Dreaming Series lies Darryl's fascination with the interaction of Australia's native wildlife within the vast and varied landscape. The inspiration for each piece emerges as he imagines himself in the midst of the natural environment, where he relives the experience of its colors, warmth, textures and sounds in his mind. It comes naturally to him, having been brought up for an expected life in the bush.
Intensely familiar with many Australian native animals, Darryl observes them in his mind's eye, searching for a telling movement or posture which will reveal its experience. The different treatments of the kangaroo illustrate the result of this contemplative process.
On the silver coin he shows its power and speed a reaction maybe to being startled by a predator or a bush fire. The colored element, symbolizing Australia's red dirt, seemingly explodes beneath the impact of its feet.
In contrast, the gold coin portrays the animal in a calm mood its relaxed, comfortable stance revealing a tranquil, undisturbed moment, maybe at dusk as it comes out to feed.
With his platinum designs, Darryl subtly reminds us that the animals existed in harmony with the land long before the appearance of mankind. References to courtship rituals and progeny are used to symbolize their ancient process of renewal.
I have an inherent ability to tell a story, Darryl explains, My art, as well as the music I write, is art of my story telling. In the case of The Dreaming Series, it conveys the respect he has for the animals in the beauty of their own environment. The message reflects his optimism for the future. It feels as though everyone is starting to wake up and see things the way my people have been taught for so long through ancient stories about the Dreaming.
Each coin design, depicted with fluid shapes and patterns inspired by nature, represents Darryl's tribute to the animal. My main hope is that people might say, 'Oh, why is this happening?', or 'Why is the animal doing that?' They may never have even seen a brolga before. If they think it's beautiful, they might learn a bit more about it. They might want to learn about the traditional people who live on the land inhabited by these animals.