January 25, 2018 – Minting the very first coin in a new year had been so popular at the Royal Australian Mint that the Mint introduced a completely new procedure of establishing a winner of this honour.
Henry McArthur was the winner of this year’s raffle and minted the first coin in 2018.
The Mint stated that “due to concerns about health and safety issues, people will not be permitted to camp on the Mint entrance ramp”. The Mint changed the format to a ballot system for the first coin of the year, so no one had to line up for days on end. Indeed according to media the winner of 2017 ended up with sunburn for his dedication. So this year one lucky member of the public was drawn from the first 100 in line, who would have the unique honour of making the very first coin of 2018.
Early on 1 January 2018 over one hundred people eagerly awaited to see who would be the lucky individual to strike the first coin worldwide in 2018 at the annual Royal Australian Mint New Year’s celebrations.
The much anticipated event also saw the new visitor press theme and design revealed with this year paying homage to the contribution of convicts to parts of Australia’s history, heritage and folklore. The coin marks the 230th anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival and the 150th anniversary of the voyage of the Hougoumont, which bore the last of the convicts transported to Australia.
Mint CEO Mr Ross MacDiarmid said between 1788 and 1868, 162,000 convicts arrived in Australia and some of those were hardened criminals, whilst others were victims of poverty and desperation or political rebels.
“The whimsical illustrations and the interesting convict stories which appear on the packaging will share this history with over 120,000 people who come through the Mint’s doors throughout the year with this morning, seeing the very first 100.”
When CEO MacDiarmid was about to draw the lucky winner he asked six-year old Henry McArthur to do it for him instead. The boy who had only recently moved to Canberra with his parents was overwhelmed and it seemed unbelievable that additionally he even draw his own number!
The winning Henry, however, was not the youngest person with a raffle ticket. This record was set by two-month old Jack Kuffner from Germany whose coin-loving parents got married at the Royal Australian Mint.
The Last Coin of 2017 was minted by ‘Ted Silk’ from Canberra. Ted is regular to the Mint New Year’s Coin events since almost every event of the past 20 years as media reported.
Those unable to make it to the Mint for one of these coins, there is a four coin set, a fine silver proof coin and gold coin also available. For more details please go to the Royal Australian Mint website.