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Australia’s Northern Sky Cassiopeia Wins 2016 Dated COTY “Best Silver Coin”

Australia won the Best Silver Coin in the Krause Coin of the Year Awards for its 2016 $5 silver “Northern Sky Cassiopeia” dome-shaped coin.  It is the first of a three-coin series featuring the Northern Sky constellations.  It was designed by B. King.

Northern Sky Cassiopeia

The Australia Mint’s previously issued Southern Sky series of coins inspired the United States Congress to mandate a concave coin for the 2014 Baseball Commemorative $1 and 50 cent coins, which won Krause Coin of the Year awards for coins dated 2014.

“Northern Sky Cassiopeia” features both stunning colors and a unique curved design. It also captures the beauty of one of the famous constellations to grace the night sky. As described by the Australian Mint:

In Greek mythology, Cassiopeia was the beautiful but boastful queen of Ethiopia. While her beauty could never be questioned, her vanity became her tragic legacy.

The sea god Nereus was the proud father of many lovely nymph-daughters known as Nerieds. When Cassiopeia proclaimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than any of them, she invoked the scorn of the ruling sea god Poseidon.
His raging waters would destroy her kingdom unless she was tied to a chair in the sky and Andromeda was sacrificed.

Cassiopeia can still be seen in the northern skies today, with her throne circling the celestial pole and her arm desperately hanging on. As per Poseidon’s wishes, the constellation is sometimes seen upside down, and appears as either an M or W depending on when it is being viewed. After being catalogued in the second century by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy, it is still classed as one of today’s 88 modern constellations.

The obverse features the standard portrait of the queen designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.   

His initials, IRB, are located right below the bust truncation. The inscriptions ELIZABETH II, AUSTRALIA, and 2016 are located around the portrait as usual.

On the reverse, the constellation Cassiopeia is viewed from a wooded location against a background of blue and yellow, evoking the colors of the northern lights. Lines of latitude and longitude are offset to the left of center and extend to the bottom right. Wrapping around the design are the inscriptions: NORTHERN SKY · CASSIOPEIA (top) and FIVE DOLLARS (bottom).

Northern Sky Cassiopeia is a dome shape, one ounce .999 fine silver colorized coin.  It weighs 31.1 grams and measures 39.62 mm in diameter. With a mintage of only 5,000 coins, the highly-coveted coin sold out quickly at the Australian Mint.   It was priced at $120 AUD ($110 USA) by the Mint when it was first placed on sale on December 1, 2015.

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