The first collector coin of 2008 will be struck today at the Mint in Canberra at 10.00am.

Each year, coin collectors begin to line up from as early as 8.00am, for the rare opportunity to be amongst the first people in the world to mint their own coin, with a new design released each year.

A lucky visitor to the Mint will have the honour of first operating the press, making history and taking home a very special memory and collectible coin.

The first 100 visitors through the door will also take home a special memory; an official certificate proving they were among the first to visit the Royal Australian Mint in 2008.

The new design for 2008 will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original Australian Coat of Arms. The collectible coin bears the ‘C’ for Canberra mintmark, which denotes its place of minting. These coins will be the only coins in 2008 permitted to bear the ‘C’ mintmark symbol.

“I am proud to be unveiling our newest coin design, which pays tribute to Australia’s original Coat of Arms. With this new coin, each Australian has the opportunity to hold a piece of history in their very own hands,” said Mrs Murphy.

Australia’s first Coat of Arms was granted by King Edward VII, seven years after Federation on 7 May 1908. It incorporates the Cross of St George in the centre with the familiar kangaroo and emu supporting the shield. In 1912, it was replaced by a version incorporating the State emblems.

The original Coat of Arms continued to be used on various coins prior to decimalisation such as the Sixpence and the One Florin.

The Mint is open to the public from 9am to 4pm on weekdays, and 10am to 4pm on weekends and public holidays.

For more information, or to purchase this coin please visit the Mint (Denison Street, Deakin ACT) or alternatively visit www.ramint.gov.au, or call 1300 652 020.