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Australia 2010-P Discover Australia - The Dreaming - Saltwater Crocodile $5 1/25 Ounce .9999 Pure Gold Proof
(You save $10.00)
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 Saltwater Crocodile
The saltwater or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the largest of all living reptiles (and therefore of all living crocodilians as well). A large male can measure over 20 feet long and weigh over 2,500 pounds! The saltwater croc is found in suitable habitats throughout Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and the surrounding waters. Saltwater crocodiles are known in northern Australia as "salties" (as opposed to the smaller, freshwater crocodile species colloquially called "freshies"). Due to this species' tendency to travel very long distances at sea, individual saltwater crocodiles occasionally show up in odd locales where they are not native. Vagrant individuals have historically been reported on New Caledonia, Iwo Jima, Fiji, and even in the relatively frigid Sea of Japan (thousands of miles from their native territory.)
The obverse depicts a large male saltie lying in wait in its native river habitat, with water lilies all around. Saltwater crocodiles generally spend the tropical wet season in freshwater swamps and rivers, moving downstream to estuaries in the dry season, and sometimes traveling far out to sea. Crocodiles compete fiercely with each other for territory, with dominant males in particular occupying the most eligible stretches of freshwater creeks and streams. Junior crocodiles are thus forced into the more marginal river systems and sometimes into the ocean. This explains the large distribution of the animal (ranging from the east coast of India to northern Australia) as well as its being found in odd places on occasion (such as the Sea of Japan). Saltwater crocodiles can swim 15 to 18 miles per hour in short bursts, but when cruising go 2 to 3 mph.
A Powerful and Deadly Predator
The saltwater crocodile is an opportunistic apex predator capable of taking any animal that enters its territory, either in the water or on dry land. Domestic cattle, horse, water buffalo, sharks and gaur, all of which may weigh over a ton, are considered the largest prey taken by male crocodiles. As an ambush predator, it usually waits for its prey to get close to the water's edge before striking, using its great strength to drag the animal back into the water. Most prey animals are killed by the great jaw pressure of the crocodile, although some animals may be incidentally drowned. It is an immensely powerful animal, having the strength to drag a fully grown water buffalo into a river, or crush a full-grown bovid's skull between its jaws.
In its deadliest attack, called the "death roll," the saltie grabs onto the animal and rolls powerfully. This throws any struggling large animal off balance making it easier to drag it into the water. The "death roll" is also used for tearing apart large animals once they are dead. The only threats to adult saltwater crocodiles are other crocodiles and humans.
Of course, the saltwater croc also poses a threat to humans as well. In Australia, attacks are rare and usually make headlines when they do occur. There are, on average, no more than one or two fatal attacks reported per year in the country. The low level of attacks is most likely due to the extensive effort by local wildlife officials to post crocodile "warning" signs at nearly every billabong, river, lake and even at some beaches and also due to the relatively well-informed nature of the local citizens.
Click here for more coins and medals featuring animals!
Please note, the mint images of this beautiful proof coin do not do it justice. The fields are deeply mirrored, while the relief and 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 saltwater crocodile snaps and makes an aggressive display. The legends DISCOVER AUSTRALIA and SALTWATER CROCODILE 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.
Click here for more great gold coins!
|Mint||Perth Mint of Australia|
|Year of Issue||2010|
|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.