Royal Australian Mint releases $2 honey bee coin to mark bicentenary of the industry in Australia

The Royal Australian Mint has launched a brand new coin, and there is a particular buzz about it.

Marking 200 years since the insect’s introduction to Australia, the $2 collector’s coin options two honey bees, commemorating “each the outstanding creatures and conscientious beekeepers”.

“We’ve obtained a job at the Mint to assist inform the tales of Australia by way of cash. So we’re at all times on the lookout for vital occasions, anniversaries and organisations that we will commemorate by way of cash,” Royal Australian Mint chief govt Leigh Gordon stated.

“It actually is a really engaging sight.”

 A $2 coin featuring a honey bee wrapped around honeycomb
The new honey bee coin, launched by the Royal Australian Mint in 2022.(Supplied: Royal Australian Mint)

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How the coin got here about

Mr Gordon stated the honey bee coin had been in the works “for about 14 months”. 

“We’ve obtained a product growth workforce right here at the Mint that is placing their pondering caps on all the time. But we additionally get options from the public,” he stated.

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In this coin’s case, the Mint labored with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council on each the idea and the execution.

“We [wanted to] seize the essence of what they thought was necessary in the coin,” Mr Gordon stated.

“And then we undergo the course of of truly designing one thing that appears stunning, that we will manufacture right here, that may entice individuals’s consideration and is of curiosity.”

The honey bee coin is what is named an “uncirculated coin” — so it isn’t one you can find in your spare change drawer.

Rather, it’s created as a collector’s merchandise — and Mr Gordon stated one in 4 Australians thought of themselves coin collectors. 

“Hopefully it’s going to ring a bell, significantly with people who have an curiosity in the honey industry — and it is a vital industry in Australia.”

Royal Australian Mint
Regular $2 cash, meant for circulation, being made at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.(ABC News: Gregory Nelson)

So, why the honey bee?

The Mint described the honey bee as small, but mighty, “producing scrumptious honey and contributing to the nation’s agricultural success by pollinating crops”.

And Australia’s honey industry is certainly vital.

“There are about 20,000 beekeepers, someplace in the order of 640,000 hives, they usually make about 30,000 tonnes of honey annually,” Mr Gordon stated. 

Trevor Weatherhead, chair of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, stated individuals mustn’t underestimate the humble honey bee.

A close-up of a bee on an orange flower
Honey bees each make honey, and pollinate crops.(ABC Landline: Leah White)

“We all know now we have the good 100 per cent Australian honey that is on the market, individuals can take pleasure in that,” he stated.

“But our largest worth is in the horticulture and agricultural industries, the place it has been estimated that about $14.2 billion price of crops which might be grown in Australia depend on honey bees for pollination.

Mr Weatherhead stated the quantity of registered hives in Australia was growing all the time thanks to leisure beekeepers, who’ve hives in their yard.

“During the pandemic, there appears to have been an inexpensive enhance in the quantity of individuals holding hives as a passion. They kind of immediately found that there is one thing that they’ll do [for bees] at residence and there is been an enormous enhance that method,” he stated.

“They most likely do not realise it however they’re pollinating quite a bit of the yard veggie gardens, whether or not it is one thing like zucchinis or in the event that they’re rising cucumbers or watermelons, in addition to getting a bit of honey.”

Storytelling by way of cash

The Australian Mint repeatedly releases cash to commemorate or honour completely different occasions and other people.

In 2020, they launched a “donation greenback” — a legal tender designed to be given to individuals in want.

Then, in 2021, a coin honouring Indigenous army service that includes paintings from Kalkadoon artist Chern’ee Sutton was launched.

A close-up image of a gold coin with a green centre.
The Royal Australian Mint’s ‘donation greenback’ is a particular $1 coin designed to be given away to individuals in want.(ABC News: Markus Mannheim)

“Some latest actually profitable cash that we have had have been round the historical past of steam engines in Australia,” Mr Gordon added.

“We had a terrific coin final 12 months that recognised the fiftieth anniversary of the Tamworth nation music pageant, and we clearly have honoured our first responders and our frontline employees by way of latest cash.”

Mr Gordon stated a key part of every coin produced was the storytelling side.

“It is foreign money as a method of serving to inform the tales of Australia,” he stated.

“It makes the folks that now we have working right here — the passionate designers, the marketing individuals in manufacturing — it actually provides them I suppose a bit of a buzz in return, to do one thing that is appreciated by the Australian public.”

A swarm of yellow and black bees sit on a piece of honeycomb.
There are over 700,000 registered honey bee hives in Australia.(ABC Rural: Bridget Herrmann)

Mr Weatherhead stated the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council hoped the coin would increase consciousness of the significance of bees.

“We’ve been amazed at the response,” he stated.

“Those avid coin collectors, effectively, they have one thing else to add to their assortment now that is obtained an excellent story behind it.

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