Latest Niue Meteorite Coin: Gosses Bluff
?Within the field of world coins dedicated to astronomy and space-related topics, coins about meteorites and the craters where they were found are some of the most popular.
Beginning in 2014, a series produced by the Mint of Poland for the island nation of Niue called “Metorite Craters” has been issued with one coin per year.
Previous issues include the 2014 Diablo Canyon coin, the 2015 Wolfe Creek issue, and the 2016 Popigai issue. Each piece is made of one ounce of .999 fine silver with an antique finish, has a real piece of meteorite from the one celebrated on the coin and a mintage of just 666 coins, and is struck in ultra-high relief to create a kind of three-dimensional image of the crater. And all arrive in a nice wooden box with a colorful shipper that depicts the featured crater.
Now the fourth coin for 2017 is being released with shipping expected to begin this month. The latest coin is the Gosses Bluff issue, named for the eroded remnant of an impact crater called Tnorala that is located at Henbury within the Northern Territory, near the center of Australia.
The Gosses Bluff issue has a unique feature that none of the previous coins in this series have, which is a red copper finish, to make the coin the same color as the crater itself. At the center of the coin is a piece of Henbury meteorite.
This crater, which is also known as Gosse’s Bluff, was named by Ernest Giles in 1872 after Australian explorer William Gosse's brother Henry, who was a member of Gosse's expedition.
It is one of 13 or 14 craters at Henbury, a protected area within Northern Australia named for a nearby cattle station, that range in diameter and depth that that were formed when the meteor broke up before impact. Several tons of iron-nickel fragments have been recovered from the site. The site has been dated to 4.7 thousand years ago based on the terrestrial age of the meteorite and between 4.2 and 1.9 thousand years ago using fission track dating.
Wikipedia adds: “The original crater is thought to have been formed by the impact of an asteroid or comet approximately 142.5 million years ago, in the earliest Cretaceous, very close to the Jurassic - Cretaceous boundary. The original crater rim has been estimated at about 22 km in diameter, but this has been eroded away. The 5 kilometers’ diameter, 180 m high crater-like feature, now exposed, is interpreted as the eroded relic of the crater's central uplift. The impact origin of this topographic feature was first proposed in the 1960s, the strongest evidence coming from the abundance of shatter cones. In the past, the crater has been the target of petroleum exploration, and two abandoned exploration wells lie near its center.”
Henbury is one of only five meteorite impact sites in Australia where fragments of meteorites still exist, and it is one of the best preserved small crater fields in the world. For all these reasons, it is a very important location and a geological beauty.
The previous Niue meteorite coins have been very popular with collectors and have increased in value, something that is not easy when so many different world coins are coming out.
You can purchase Gosses Bluff from First Coin Company, which offers free worldwide shipping and refund of any import duties you might be assessed depending on where you live. First Coin Company is offering a special discount of 5% to readers of this column. Just enter the code 5bluff at the menu of your shopping cart by clicking edit.
It is also available from Powercoin in Italy.