CANBERRA (XINHUA) - Featuring an ox standing in the river under willow branches, the gold and silver coins released by the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) were expected to bring people good luck in the Chinese New Year.
"This year we've been seeing tremendous demand for our lunar releases," said Betty Yang, Precious Metals manager with RAM in an interview with Xinhua before the Chinese New Year that falls on Friday (Feb 12).
Talking about the design, RAM coin designer Bronwyn King said "the ox is depicted in a busy and active stance, strong-willed and persistent. The use of a willow tree is included alongside the ox as a symbol of humility. This matches well with the honest and patient nature of people born in the Year of the Ox." The 55-year-old RAM which was founded to produce circulating coins for Australia started issuing lunar-themed coins in 2006.
"Lunar as a theme is really popular in the coin minting world given it's one of the most internationally recognised themes that has relevance to coins," said Yang.
She said the Chinese New Year was so popular that "you'd see it celebrated in the broader community in Australia."
"And it was our inspiration to issue a coin with that theme to celebrate the cultural relevance of Chinese New Year and to celebrate cultural inclusiveness and diversity of this community we live in."
The 2021 Lunar Series collection includes a Tetra-Decagon uncirculated coin of 50 cents, silver uncirculated ingot of one Australian dollar, silver proof domed coin of five Australian dollars and gold proof domed coin of 100 Australian dollars.
The series was released late last year. "We normally issue the lunar coins about four to five months prior to the celebration of the Chinese New Year, just to allow the market enough time to react," Yang said.
Yang said that both Chinese and non-Chinese were interested in purchasing these products as gifts.
"Money and coins are traditionally associated with prosperity," she said, noting that they were auspicious gifts wishing people good luck for the coming new year.
"Because of the expanding influence of the Chinese New Year and Chinese culture here in Australia, we are also seeing other communities being interested in the lunar releases and purchasing these products for themselves as either gifts or collectible items," Yang said.
"These coins have been intricately designed to capture the relevance of the Lunar New Year and serve as a beautiful tribute in 2021," said Ross MacDiarmid, CEO of RAM.