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Australia 2011-P Bush Babies #4 - Baby Bilby and Grasshopper Endangered Species 50 Cents Pure Silver Half Dollar Proof with Color

Price: $149.95 $99.95
(You save $50.00)

Product Description

Get this adorable baby bilby (an original work of art!), the fourth in the new Bush Babies series of pure silver proofs!

Sold out at the Mint! The native Australian fauna has generated curiosity since the first Europeans set foot on the island continent. Most Australian mammals belong to the class Marsupialia, characterized by a distinctive pouch (called the marsupium), in which females carry their young through early infancy. These young are unique in that they are born helpless and live the mother's pouch before being able to venture forth to explore their habitat. Celebrating five adorable baby animals, the stunning new Bush Babies Program of pure silver proof collector coins is certain to enjoy the incredible popularity of the Sea Life - The Reef series that preceded it.

Click here for a large selection of coins featuring another marsupial, the koala!

An adult Greater Bilby, a native Australian marsupial, is bright eyed and alert.Only Two Species - And One is Now Extinct!
The bilby is a unique animal, looking like a cross between a rabbit, a jerboa, and a bandicoot. There are (or, more correctly, were) only two species of bilby - one of which, sadly, is now extinct. Like three of the other four mammals of the Bush Babies Program, the bilby is a marsupial. The Greater Bilby is depicted on this coin, with a grasshopper.

The Lesser Bilby (Macrotis leucura) was only discovered in 1887, fully a century after Australia was first settled by Great Britain. Unfortunately, its remaining time on this planet would last an even shorter span. Hunted by fur trappers for its soft, silky fur, pursued by non-native foxes (introduced for sport fox hunting), and in an unfair competition with the introduced European rabbit, the Lesser Bilby never really stood a chance. The last known live individuals were collected in 1932, and the last known remains (a skull, estimated at fifteen years old) were collected in 1967, putting its estimated date of extinction at 1952.

Bilbies are nocturnal omnivores that do not need to drink water, as they get all the moisture they need from their food, which includes insects and larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi, and very small animals. Most food is found by digging or scratching in the soil, and using their very long tongues. The Greater Bilby has an excellent sense of smell and sharp hearing. Its fur is blue-gray with patches of tan and it is very soft. The tail is black and white with a distinct crest. The Greater Bilby has strong forelimbs and thick claws, which it uses to dig for food and make burrows.

Bilbies are excellent burrowers and build extensive tunnel systems with their strong forelimbs and well-developed claws. A bilby typically makes a number of burrows within its home range, up to a dozen, then moves between them, using them for shelter both from predators and the heat of the day. The female bilby's pouch faces backwards, which prevents her pouch from getting filled with dirt while she is digging! Bilbies have a very short gestation period of about 12–14 days, one of the shortest among mammals.

The Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis, depicted on this coin) is currently an endangered species, a result of habitat loss and change as well as the competition with other animals. Feral cats pose a major threat to the bilby's survival, and it competes with rabbits for food. There is a national recovery plan for saving these animals: it includes breeding in captivity, monitoring populations, and reestablishing bilbies where they once lived. There have been reasonably successful moves to popularize the bilby as a native alternative to the Easter Bunny by selling chocolate Easter Bilbies (sometimes with a portion of the profits going to bilby protection and research). Reintroduction efforts have also begun, with a successful reintroduction into the Arid Recovery Reserve in South Australia in 2000, and plans underway for a reintroduction into Currawinya National Park in Queensland, with a recent success with six bilbies released into the feral-free sanctuary in early February 2006.

Click here for a other coins featuring Endangered Species!

Display box for the Bush Babies 5-Coin SetYour Own Personal Art Gallery!
Another clever innovation (and a neat little bonus!) is the colorfully illustrated outer box shipper. Each features a different, original commission by the designer of the coins, artist Elise Martinson (please see the section lower in this presentation for a short biography of the artist). When lined-up in release order, the outer boxes will form a gallery of original artworks of the five baby critters by a well-known, Australian animal artist.

A special, five coin display box is available at a nominal additional charge. This is a superb way to protect and present all five coins in their full color, illustrated cases.

The Baby Bilby Pure Silver Proof is the fourth in the new and exciting Bush Babies Series, to be released by the Perth Mint. Coins featuring the following native Australian marsupials (except the dingo) are planned:

    Sugar Glider
    + Five Coin Display Box

Click here to view all the coins in the Bush Babies Series!

Elise Martinson is an Australian artist, graphic designer, and illustrator who loves animals.About the Artist
The creator of the original artwork for both the coins and the colorful, outer boxes for the Bush Babies series is Elise Martinson. Elise is an Australian artist, graphic designer, and illustrator who loves animals (as you can see from her photo!). After studying multimedia design for four years and then working for year and a half as a graphic designer, she became eager to follow her dreams of creating 3D art for games or movies. Realizing that the limiting factor to 2D and 3D artwork was not software knowledge, but rather the ability to create concepts and accurately render them, she is now dedicated to further cultivating her drawing ability. Elise currently designs both coins and graphic artwork for the Perth Mint, and still hopes to break into the games industry one day as a concept or production artist. Two of her better-known projects for the Mint are the Outer Space Dollars 9-Coin Set and the 2009 Celebrate Australia Series of $1 Coins. Elise was formerly a resident of Melbourne, Victoria but now resides in Perth, Western Australia. Here are links for Elise Martinson's online blog and her professional website.

Click here for more coins and medals featuring animals!

Technology Note
The Perth Mint of Australia employs its own proprietary colorization technology, in which the color is actually sealed on the coin. The vibrant hues and precise execution of the technology create a stunning, full-color portrait on each coin.

Click here for other great colored coins!

Bush Babies - Bilby Silver Proof in boxObverse
The central, color image is Australian artist Elise Martinson’s original and gorgeous interpretation of a baby bilby, bright-eyed and alert. A frosted cameo relief outback setting with the flora and fauna of Australia forms the background, including a grasshopper. The Perth Mint's "P" mint mark is judiciously hidden in the grasses. The legend defines the theme: AUSTRALIAN BILBY.

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, the date of issue and denomination also appear. The legend 1/2 OZ 999 SILVER guarantees the weight and purity.

Click here for more great pure silver coins!

The coin is encapsulated inside a handsome taupe leatherette, clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and satin, and protected by a full-color outer box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

SpecificationsAn adult Greater Bilby, a native Australian marsupial, is bright eyed and alert.
Country Australia
Mint Perth Mint of Australia
Year of Issue 2011
Face Value 50 Cents
Weight 15.591 g
Diameter 36.60 mm
Gauge (Thickness)    2.30 mm
Mintage Limit    10,000
Finish Proof with Color
Composition .999 Fine (Pure) Silver
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
Artist Elise Martinson (obverse)
Ian Rank-Broadley (reverse)
Certificate Individually Numbered

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