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Australian $1 Coins

2000 Australia's First Victoria Cross

The $1 coin in its distinctive pack is dedicated to the man credited as having won Australia’s first Victoria Cross (VC). The VC was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 and is the highest award that any member of Commonwealth military forces can be awarded for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. Originally only granted to British military personnel, members of colonial military forces became eligible from 1867. Captain Neville Howse is considered Australia’s first VC recipient (and the only Australian medic) for his brave actions in saving a comrade in the face of enemy fire during the Boer War. He continued his military duties into World War I and later served in the Federal Parliament and Cabinet. Designed in the form of a Maltese Cross and cast in bronze derived from Russian cannon captured during the Crimean War, the medal includes the motto ‘For Valour’ personally chosen by The Queen. The VC was established as the pre-eminent Australian decoration on 15th January 1991.
Captain Neville Reginald Howse, was a doctor and volunteer in the New South Wales Medical Corps, serving in South Africa in 1900. On 24 July Australian and Boer forces clashed near Vredefort and the Australians began to take several casualties. At the height of the battle, Howse saw a trumpeter fall, badly wounded, and despite heavy crossfire, he rode to his aid. Before reaching him, however, Howse's horse was shot from under him, yet he proceeded on foot and tended the soldier's wounds, eventually carrying the man back to safety.
His Victoria Cross is the only one awarded to a member of the Australian medical forces. This medal can be seen on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The VC is the highest military award available to members of the Commonwealth military forces. This $1 legal tender aluminium bronze coin is a tribute to some of Australia’s bravest military personnel. The Royal Australian Mint is acknowledging those Australians who have made great sacrifices for our young nation, helping Australia to define its character and to uphold its values. With the name of every Australian VC recipient printed on the presentation package housing the coin, the $1 VC coin makes it possible for us to remember those who served with such valour.

Some mystery surrounds this issue, correspondence with the RAM states emphatically that "Some 50,000 folders were made", but no-one questioned at the Mint in 2001 mentions any other VC coins being made. This could be something as simple as not asking the right people but unlikely.
Annual Reports at the time of the VC folder and PNC indicate a total of 49,979 VC coins as ever having being made. In these same reports coins made for the 2000 The Last Anzacs, 2001 Army and 2001 Federation PNC's and folder are clearly indicated.
Correspondence and phone calls to Australia Post proved fruitless and produced a quite emphatic, "We do not keep those type of records....", several times. A most wonderful lady was a wealth of information, on many things. This lovely person provided the alert to the re-call of the 2001 Federation Folders, as well as de-crying the "waste" of the returns from customers. Expressing dismay at the way they were all summarily destroyed.
There is a general agreement within numismatic circles that it is highly possible that the total is divided between this folder and the PNC. Numbers seen on the market since its release would seem to bear this out, but as yet is still unproven.

Nominal Specifications

Issues Released
Denomination: $1
Metal: 92% Copper
2% Nickel
6% Aluminum
Mass: 9 grams
Diameter: 25 mm

Folder
Postal Numismatic Cover


Articles

Date Publication Page Article Subject Author
2005 August CAB
Volume 8
Number 7
p22 "Making the Victoria Cross is an exclusive task" Talks to the jewellers who manufacture the Commonwealth's highest award John Satterley
p23/24 "You're very special Queen tells VC winner" Private Beharry, the latest VC winner, citation, etc John Satterley
p25 "Memorial honors the bravest of the brave" Infomercial on opening of new Memorial dedicated to VC recipients in Britain John Satterley
2005 April CAB
Volume 8
Number 3
p9 "Another milestone awaiting the VC in 2006" Brief discussion on coin, folder, stamps and medals as well as Captain Neville Reginald Howse and a few others John Satterley

Publications

2000 Australian War Memorial
ISBN
0 646 39741 9
74p "Victoria Cross Presentations and Locations" Lists all VC's presented and their locations Dennis Pillinger & Anthony Stauton
2000 Australia Post
ISBN
0 642 36802 3
40p "For Valour" Australians and the Victoria Cross Richard Reid


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