In 2019, The Royal Australian Mint issued a series of one-dollar coins featuring a range of Australian symbols on the reverse side. It was promoted as the Great Aussie Coin Hunt. There were 26 coins in the series – one for each letter of the alphabet. Flip over from the image of an ageing Queen Liz (the “fourth effigy” according to the Mint) and you’ll see the likes of the B for Boomerang, Q for Quokka and T for Thongs.
A number of Aussie food favourites were included in the series. There was I for Iced Vo Vo, L for Lamington, M for Meat Pie, V for Vegemite, W for Weetbix. and Z for Zooper Dooper. It appears the iconic images were selected after extensive research, although finding appropriate symbols for X and Y must have been taxing.
X was for Xantippe, a town in remote WA. Hardly iconic and probably unknown to anyone outside Western Australia, it boasts a population of 20, a crumbling cricket pitch and a gigantic water tower, and has the distinction of being the only town in Australia starting with X. On the coin, it’s shown as a dot on the map of Australia.
Y was for Yowie, apparently a mythical man-like creature that roams the Australian bush. But, at a stretch, it could be included in the food category, as Cadbury makes a chocolate Yowie.
Foods memorialised on our legal tender were B for BBQ (okay, not so much a food but a cooking method), C for Cherry Ripe, M for Milo and N for Nobby’s Nuts (recalling the infamous slogan “Nibble Nobby’s Nuts”). Moving on down the list we find P for Pavlova, T for Tim Tam, W for Witchetty Grub and Y for Yabby. Perhaps we should also count E for Emu as a food reference, although the Mint probably thought of it more as a figure on our national coat of arms.
Once again the designers of the series had difficulty with X. They settled on Xanthorrhoea, commonly known as a grass plant, as a symbol of the Australian bush. At least it’s an image most of us would recognise.
The collections were produced in conjunction with Australia Post and promotion suggested that if you bought something from an Australia Post shop, and paid in cash, you might…just might…receive one of these special dollar coins in your change.