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Australia Steam Engine

1997 Proof Five Dollar reverse 1997 Proof Five Dollar obverse

1997 Proof Five Dollar

Reverse Designer:Wojciech Pietranik Obverse Designer:Raphael Maklouf Size:39mm Weight:35.79g Edge:Reeded Composition:92.5% Silver
7.5% Copper


Sales History


This commemorative coin celebrates the role played by the steam engine as a form of transportation that opened up possibilities and opportunities for the continued development of Australia as a nation. It is a five dollar proof coin struck into sterling silver by the Royal Australian Mint. The steam engine coin is one from a set of five that makes up the Masterpieces in Silver collection named 'Opening of the Continent.' (Coin Web, 2013) Each coin represents a different form of transportation creating a network that connected the wide-spread colonies from across the land, enabling the progression of industry, agriculture, trade and general cultural development. Other transportation networks that are remembered and celebrated within this collection are the Bullock Team, Camel Train,Paddle-steamer, and Steam Train.The collection had a limited mintage of 10,000 and was packaged in a cushioned black box and came with a 1997 Masterpieces in Silver Certificate of Authenticity.

The reverse of this piece is designed by Wojciech Pietranik and features an image of a steam tractor engine travelling down a road lined with trees along with the denomination "5 DOLLARS". The obverse features the Raphael Maklouf portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II along with the legend "ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1997".

The steam engine was a very valuable piece of machinery that not only enabled the use of the steam train but could also be used a variety of farming equipment. One of the most notable examples of which, is the steam engine tractor (Wikipedia, 2013) , as featured in this commemorative coin. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, Australia was establishing itself as a nation and the developing colonies were highly dependent on the use of agriculture for both their survival and for trade. The use of machinery such as the steam tractor engine would have made farming a great deal easier in order to pull ploughs and other implements. The introduction of steam power to Australia made many of the laborious chores of life living largely off the land significantly simpler and contributed to an improved standard of life. Unfortunately in order to get them up to full steam, an awful lot of timber was required, making them far from environmentally sound. (Goldrush Colony, 2013)

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