The Royal Australian Mint launched a range of 2008 collector coin products at a gala movie themed event in Canberra last night.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement that the theme for the 2008 Year Set is the International Year of Plant Earth (IYPE). “The Royal Australian Mint has developed this stunning year set in partnership with Geoscience Australia. It recognises the important environmental and geological issues that currently affect Australia” noted Royal Australian Mint Chief Executive Officer, Janine Murphy. “The aim of the Year Set is to help raise awareness of these environmental issues, and is the Royal Australian Mint’s contribution to the International Year of Planet Earth” continued Ms Murphy.

NRL CEO Mr David Gallop, ARL CEO Mr Geoff Carr, and Raiders Captain Mr Allan Tongue were special guests at the event to help launch the first of the Mint’s 2008 Centenary of Rugby League coins, a $1 uncirculated aluminium bronze coin featuring the Centenary of Rugby League logo. “Commemorative coins have marked many of the landmark events in Australian history and it’s a tribute to the game that the Centenary of Rugby League is being included in that company” said NRL CEO Mr David Gallop. “It is a unique collectible for fans and a symbol of the significant place Rugby League holds in our community” he continued. It is the first Rugby League coin the Mint has ever produced.

The 2008 release of the popular Kangaroo at Sunset coin was also unveiled last night. The gold coin captures the isolation and beauty of a lone kangaroo crossing the Australian Outback. “The 2007 release of this product sold out within four days, and it is expected that the 2008 coin will follow suit. It is one of the most striking designs that the Royal Australian Mint has produced, and one of my personal favourites” said Ms Murphy.

Also featured in the launch was the 2008 Kangaroo coin designed by Reg Mombassa. Following Rolf Harris’ 2007 design, this coin is the second in the Great Australian Artist Series. Reg’s design is a quirky interpretation of a kangaroo playing football in a typical Australian backyard setting, and provides a fresh and contemporary perspective for this long running series. Providing commentary prior to the launch, Reg Mombassa commented “I used to collect coins as a kid, so I really liked the idea of getting to design one myself.”

The Mint also released the 2008 editions of its popular Baby Set and Wedding Set products. Both are among the highest selling products in the Mint’s Coin Shop, and have proved extremely popular gifts for births and weddings.

The evening event featured an outdoor pavilion with a movie screen at the Mint’s Deakin ACT premises. The movie presentation not only launched the 2008 products, but gave guests the opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at how the 2008 coins were produced, and to meet the people who were responsible for making them. A shortened version of the movie is available from the Mint’s website, www.ramint.gov.au.

For more information about the Mint’s latest 2008 releases, please visit www.ramint.gov.au or call 1300 652 020.