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Australia 2016-P Year of the Monkey - Chinese Lunar Zodiac Opals Series #1 - $1 Pure Silver Dollar Proof Piedfort

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70494
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Product Description

Get this first in a new series! Celebrate the clever and ingenious Year of the Monkey in 2016 with this charming vignette of a monkey enjoying a peach on this proof finish, one troy ounce pure silver dollar piedfort (extra-thick coin), with a GENUINE OPAL insert and very low mintage limit!

Sold out at the Mint! Opals are beautiful, translucent, and semi-precious gemstones. Gemologists consider the opal the uniquely Aussie gemstone - 95% of the world's opals are mined Down Under! Following hot on the heels of the sold out Treasures of Australia Program, the new and innovative Australian Opals Lunar Series features a lunar zodiac animal rendered in genuine, Australian opals! Each pure silver dollar is struck on an extra thick planchet (it is a piedfort) with a proof finish.

Year of the Monkey Opals SilverEach case has a battery operated light that turns on when the case is opened! This light appropriately simulates the moon shining down on lunar animal, and can also be used to back-light the translucent opal panel in the center of the coin! Being part of an innovative new series, and with a very low mintage limit, we expect this beautyto sell out at the Mint rapidly! Read on for articles about opals; piedfort coins; and the lunar animal!

Click here for all the coins in the Australian Opals Series!

The Year of the Monkey - Clever and Ingenious!
Centuries ago, the Chinese invented a calendar based on the lunar (rather than the solar) cycle. There are twelve animals in the Chinese lunar zodiac, each corresponding in sequence to a year rather than a month.

Those born in the years 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and 2016 celebrate the Year of the Monkey. According to tradition, people born during a Year of the Monkey are said to exhibit that animal’s attributes. They are clever - they can be inventors, entertainers, anything generally creative and ingenious, and can be somewhat mischievous (although not spiteful). They are also considered great socializers, being very charming and persuasive.

A grumpy capuchin monkey defends his leafy bower in the tree branches! The Monkey is traditionally depicted in Chinese mythology with a peach. Why would this be so? The monkey is clever, and so he offers the peach fruit to ward off evil spirits and appease the ghosts of his forebears - thereby guaranteeing the protection of his ancestors and bringing him good fortune and luck!

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Monkeys are known for their intelligence and social ability, though they can be mischievous as well. Who doesn't love to go to the zoo and watch the primates play - although sometimes it's not perfectly clear whether we're watching the monkeys or they're watching us! Who can forget Bubbles the Chimp, whom Michael Jackson befriended. Bubbles must have been a particularly smart monkey, because Wacko Jacko claimed that Bubbles cleaned up his bedroom! Now that's one clever simian! (Okay, chimpanzees are apes, and therefore technically not monkeys, but you get the point!) To quote the Rolling Stones in the song called (what else?) "Monkey Man", "I'm a monkey!"

A squirrel monkey appears to be contemplating or even counting his toes on a tree branch! The year 2016 is ruled by one of the most popular and auspicious of all the lunar zodiac signs - the ingenious monkey, the Chinese lunar zodiac animal that most closely resembles humankind. The Monkey personality is supremely intelligent and charismatic, with boundless agility. He is highly social; the ultimate inventor, motivator and schemer. Even when you realize the Monkey has tricked you, your fondness and admiration for him will keep you from blowing your top. The Monkey is witty and charming; he will win your heart and keep it forever! The most intelligent sign in the Chinese lunar zodiac, those born in the Year of the Monkey are friendly and charming, and are able to use their brains instead of brawn to master a situation.

This is the first annual release in the Lunar Zodiac Opals Series from Australia!

Click here for the other Chinese Lunar Zodiac coins!

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An Unique Gemstone
A group of iridescent, Australian white opals similar to the ones ensconced in this 1 Ounce Pure Silver Proof from the Perth Mint There is nothing else in the world like opals - so beautiful and distinctive that they have necessitated an adjective just to describe them: opalescent. Opal is Nature's own kaleidoscope, with its ever-changing, prismatic rainbow of colors that shimmers and shifts as the light strikes from different angles. This lustrous, multicolored, iridescent light show has impressed humanity since antiquity. The desirability of opals is all the more augmented by the rarity of the milky white variety, such as are contained within this coin. Of course, the desirability of this coin is also augmented by its marriage of precious, pure silver with these unique gemstones!

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Gemologist consider the opal the quintessentially Aussie gemstone. One reason for this is that about 95% of the world's opals are mined in Australia. So synonymous with the Land Down Under have opals become that it is the official gemstone of the Commonwealth of Australia!

Please see the articles later in this presentation (after the blue Specifications box) for more information about and pictures of Australian opals!

Click here for all the coins in the Treasures of Australia program!

Greek Corinthian Helmet and the skull reportedly found inside it from the Battle of Marathon, now residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.What is a Piedfort?
Hard to find and popular with collectors for more than a century, piedforts are highly sought after. We get asked all the time, "What is a piedfort?" There are two different, but related, stories of the origin of the word "piedfort". The first says that it literally means "strong foot" in French (from pied, foot and fort, strong). The second says this word was appropriated by the mint centuries ago to mean "heavy measure" or "heavy weight". In both cases, the sense of serious heft to the coin is obvious.

Often the word "piedfort" is translated as "double-thick", but this is neither a literal translation nor a precisely accurate definition. Numismatically speaking, any coin that is 50% or more thicker than a standard version qualifies as a piedfort, although some piedforts are, indeed, twice as thick as normal.

Finally, the age-old question, "How is the word pronounced?" Coming from French, it is not pronounced as it is spelled; that is, don't say, "pide - fort". Rather, "pee - ay - four" (three syllables) is a good approximation.

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2016 Year of the Monkey Opals in BoxObverse
A monkey enjoys a peach, surrounded by engraved peach blossoms and an oriental key motif. The Perth Mint's "P" mint mark is judiciously placed at the 4:30 position near the rim. The legend YEAR OF THE MONKEY defines the theme, while the legend 1 OZ 999 SILVER guarantees the weight and purity. The date of issue is also indicated.

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Reverse
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, 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.

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Packaging
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. Each case has a battery operated light that turns on when the case is opened! This light simulates the moon shining down on the lunar animal, and can also be used to back-light the translucent opal panel in the center of the coin! An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

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Specifications
A group of iridescent, Australian white opals similar to the ones ensconced in this 1 Ounce Pure Silver Proof from the Perth Mint
Country Australia
Mint Perth Mint of Australia
Year of Issue 2016
   
Face Value One Dollar
Weight 31.135 g
Diameter 36.60 mm
Gauge (Thickness)   4.50 mm
Mintage Limit    5,000
   
Finish Proof with Opal Insert
Composition .999 Fine (Pure) Silver
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
   
Artist Natasha Muhl (obverse)
Ian Rank-Broadley (reverse)
Certificate Individually Numbered

The Andamooka (Queen's) Opal
One of the largest and most famous opal stones is the Andamooka Opal, also known as the Queen's Opal. In 1954, a search for the finest opal in the world was initiated by the government of South Australia. After an extensive quest, the Andamooka Opal was discovered in the South Australian opal fields, near the historic opal mining town from which this magnificent gem derives its name.

The famous Andamooka (Queen's) Opal set in its palladium choker necklace belongs to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth IIThe Andamooka Opal was cut and polished by John Altmann of Sydney to a weight of 203 carats. It displays a magnificent array of reds, blues, and greens and was set with diamonds into an 18-karat palladium choker necklace. This one-of-a-kind ensemble was presented to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her first official state visit to Australia, a gift truly fit for a queen! Today, the Andamooka Opal and its attendant pieces form part of Queen Elizabeth II's personal crown jewels.

Click here for all the coins in the Treasures of Australia program!

Opal Fun Facts
• In ancient times, the opal was believed to represent both hope and purity.
• In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that provided great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal.
• Opal is the traditional birthstone for those born in the month of October.
• The opal is often referred to as the "Queen of Gems".

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