This piece is a
coin, which pays tribute to the contributions made to Australian culture by the pastime of horse racing. This particular
coin is just one out of a set of five $5
coins, all which were struck into sterling Silver. Australia is a country of rich culture there are people and events
that have contributed to making it so. Each coin celebrates the achievements or effects of significant people and pastimes
which have helped to shape the national Identity that Australia holds proud today. Those chosen to feature on the coins are
believed to have played an important role in inspiring and motivating others on both an individual basis and a national one.
Joining horse riding in this collection of people and pastimes that have helped to shape Australia are Henry Lawson, Dame
Nellie Melba, The Stockman and Tom Roberts. Together they make up a set known as 'Shaping National Identity', which was released
in 1996 from the Masterpieces in Silver collection struck by the Royal Australian Mint.
This coin struck in sterling silver had the reverse designed by Wojciech
Pietranik, who has worked regularly on the Masterpieces in Silver collections for the RAM. The image featured on the reverse is of horses with riders on top, of course depicting the sport of horse
racing. The obverse of the coin features the traditional Maklouf effigy
of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the
ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1995 curls around the edge. This coin was packaged along with 4 others to create the complete
"Shaping National Identity" set, originally came in the simple black box which is a staple of the Masterpieces in Silver
Collection. A Certificate of Authenticity came with the set, which includes a short description of the coins and information
regarding the designers and sculptors. An extract from the certificate reads 'Each of the five coins are struck on specially
prepared blanks using hand-polished dies, following the Mint's strict quality guidelines. The finished product is a mirror-like
flat surface complemented by a delicately frosted raised design.'
Australians have long since had a love of horse racing and today the sport is considered to be an important part of the
countries culture. Horses were depended upon in the early days of European settlement when they were used by Stockmen to
work the cattle station. From this point skill on horseback has been considered a valuable talent as during the 19th century
it was necessary in order to travel the harsh terrain of the outback whilst taking care of the livestock. Horse racing was
one of the earliest sports that really caught on in the colonies and the Australian people's passion for the races has certainly
(All Down Under, 2013)
It is not and never was associated with a particular class of people and it is enjoyed both through participation and
observation by all classes of society. At its peak horses in Australia were one to every two people and today it is the third
most attended spectator sport behind Australian football and the Rugby League.
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