World Coins

The legend of Australian cricket who's on a new coin

Australian cricketer Richie Benaud is the subject of a non-circulating legal tender 2017 Uncirculated copper-nickel 50-cent coin.

Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint.

One of the most famous and influential names in Australia’s cricket history is now being honored on an Uncirculated copper-nickel 50-cent coin.

The Royal Australian Mint on Nov. 24 unveiled a commemorative noncirculating legal tender coin for “voice of cricket” Richie Benaud. An example of the coin was used in a coin toss to begin the Australia versus South Africa test match in Adelaide that day, marking the unofficial start of summer in Australia (Benaud was also known as the “voice of summer” because of when the cricket season is conducted). 

Benaud was the first player to reach 200 wickets and score 2,000 runs in test cricket, serving as Australia’s test captain from 1958 until his retirement in 1964.  

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After his retirement from playing, Benaud became a sports commentator and journalist, continuing in that capacity until 2012. He died of skin cancer on April 10, 2015, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered his family a state funeral, but his widow, Daphne, declined.

The reverse of the coin depicts an older Benaud at the microphone, calling out a match, while an image of the legendary batsman on the green appears in the background. A stadium scene, with a focus on the fan group known as “The Richies,” also appears. 

The coin weighs 15.55 grams and measures 31.51 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 95,929 pieces, the total inspired by statistics from Benaud’s unforgettable cricket career, including the number of runs, wickets, balls bowled and matches. 

To order, visit the Royal Australian Mint website.

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