Royal Australian Mint launches treasure hunt


SPECULATION about a 2019 “time travelling” $1 coin caused confusion among when it was discovered by some eagle-eyed Aussies this year and posted on social media.

But it turns out the forward-dated coin is part of a treasure hunt that the Australian Mint officially launched today.

Royal Australian Mint chief executive officer Ross MacDiarmid said three million $1 coins had secretly been released in September each stamped with either an “A”, “U” or “S” underneath the body of the largest kangaroo.

The challenge for Australians is to find a $1 coin of each letter for the chance to win prizes.

Sites such as Reddit picked up on the strange appearance of coins stamped 2019 and there was speculation it could have been a blunder by the Mint.

However, the truth was revealed today at a lunch in Sydney.

Belting out his own version of the song (I’ve Got A) Golden Ticket from the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Mr MacDiarmid launched the Dollar Discovery competition with an appropriately nostalgic flair.

Mr MacDiarmid said the Mint was being unapologetic about the competition’s aim to introduce coin collecting to a new generation, in a time when the use of cash is in decline due to the popularity of electronic payment including payWave.

The falling use of cash has seen charities like Salvation Army start using paypass and The Big Issue magazine announce its intention to start offering tap-n-go.

But the Mint is focusing on the benefits of cash, particularly in teaching children the value of money.

“How are we going to get people to understand financial literacy when they just swipe their card or actually just use a tap and go?” Mr MacDiarmid said.

According to a survey of 1000 people commissioned by the Mint, Mr MacDiarmid said most thought saving pocket money and collecting coins helped develop persistence and financial literacy, particularly among children.

As part of the major prize for the treasure hunt, eight winners from each state will get a trip to Canberra for four people, as well as the opportunity to visit the Mint for a private tour and to produce their own giant one kilogram silver coin. Officially the coin would be worth about $750 but being a collector’s piece, it is expected to be much more valuable.

The competition has been launched to mark the 35th anniversary of the $1 coin on May 14, 2019 and winners will be announced on this date. The coins are also marked with a tiny “35”.


* Check your $1 coins to see if they have a tiny “A”, “U” or “S” stamped on the front. They also feature the 2019 date and are marked with a tiny “35”.

* Once you get all three, register at to get one of 5000 free folders available to store the coins.

* You will go in the draw to win the major prize of a Canberra trip including two nights accommodation at Jamala Wildlife Lodge at the National Zoo and Aquarium, and a one kilo silver coin worth at least $750.

* You could also win one of 250 gift vouchers worth $150 to spent on any Royal Australian Mint product.

* For more information go to

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