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Australia Battle of Sunda Strait

2002 Bi-metal Five Dollar reverse 2002 Bi-metal Five Dollar obverse

2002 Bi-metal Five Dollar

Reverse Designer:Vladimir Gottwald Obverse Designer:Ian Rank-Broadley Size:28mm Weight:10.6g Edge:Reeded Composition:61.33% Copper
33.33% Steel
4.67% Aluminium
0.67% Nickel


Sales History


The Battle of Sunda Strait commemorative bi-metal coin pays tribute to the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth.. The coin was released in 2002 in a copper and steel combination. The reverse of this bi-metal coin features a reproduction of the bell from the U.S.S Houston with the date of 1930 clearly visible. The legend 5 DOLLARS is arced underneath it and is set within the copper inner of the coin. The steel outer features the legend 1942 BATTLE OF SUNDRA STRAIT 2002 USS HOUSTON HMAS PERTH. It was designed by Vladimir Gottwald. The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II within the copper inner of the coin, whilst the outer steel has the legend reading ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2002.

Sunda Strait is a channel of water between Sumatra and Java, Netherlands East Indies. Late February 1942, a Japanese amphibious force was preparing to invade Java. Meanwhile, An Allied force of five cruisers and nine destroyers engaged the Japanese in the Java Sea. Two Dutch cruisers and four destroyers were sunk. The USS Houston and HMAS Perth both retreated to Tanjung Priok, Java, the main port of Batavia (now Jakarta). Later that day, Houston and Perth received orders to sail through Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap, on the south coast of Java. Airforce reconnaissance had passed information to the Allied force that the Sunda Strait was clear of enemy craft but the report was 24 hours out of date. Up to date reconnaissance had spotted the Japanese forces but the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth did not receive the information. Upon entering the area, they encountered the Japanese force and opened fire. A battle ensued but they were hopelessly outnumbered with the loss of some 350 men from HMAS Perth (AWM London, 2013) whilst another 300 survived but were taken POW. The USS Houston fared even worse as 696 were killed and another 368 others were taken POW.It is thought that the total losses for Allied forces during the battle were 1071 killed, 675 prisoners of war (POW), 1 heavy cruiser sunk, 1 light cruiser sunk and 1 destroyer sunk. The Japanese suffered minimal losses with 10 killed and 37 wounded. Their heaviest loss was a Japanese minelayer which was sunk by 'friendly fire' (Wikipedia, 2013) .

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