The Choice Change Challenge January update: the perils and pleasures of international travel

When we last left the Choice Change Challenge, both Alex and George were off to flying starts, with each leading in different categories. Alex had the lead in 20c and $1 commemoratives, and George led the way with $2 and 50c commemoratives. Since then, there have been two major shake ups, the first being a temporary (but major) handicap. It’s a doozy:

Alex has left the country!

George is still here in Australia, but Alex has been off for a month on a part holiday/part business trip to Europe. While Alex is collecting British and Euro commemoratives, George has found it a surprisingly challenging few weeks. Alex will return in about a week and we’ll get to see how long it takes for him to catch up!

The second shock twist is a new entrant! Hearing all the fun George and Alex were having, Jezebel here in the office decided to join in! She started over a month later, but has shot to the lead with $1 Commemoratives.

Here are the current standings:

Competitor 20c Series 50c Series $1 Series $2 Series
Alex 3 8 11 1
George 2 12 11 1
Jezebel 3 7 15 0

Our contestants have strict rules for this challenge (only commemoratives acquired through normal transactions can be included in the tally – no asking to rifle through shop tills!), but there are extra things you can do to get your collection up to speed! A reader of ours, Christen, handles a large amount of change across the counter every day and has found some crackers (and paid for them fair and square, obviously!).

1999 $1 Last Anzacs S Mintmark Al-Br

1999-$1-Last-Anzacs-S-Mintmark-Al-Br Honouring Australia’s Anzac heroes, the one-year-only 1999 $1 Last Anzacs Al-Br type was not issued for circulation and should never be found in change. Remarkably, Christen did indeed find one of the mere 53,286 Last Anzacs S Mintmark coins struck by the Royal Australian Mint in 1999.

1992 $1 Barcelona Olympics Al-Br

1992-$1-Barcelona-Olympics-Al-BrStruck in tiny numbers, with the mintage concluding at just 43,496, this one-year-only numismatic tribute to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 was not issued for circulation and, like the Anzacs $1 coin above, should never have been secured from change.

2007 $1 Ashes Al-Br

2007-$1-Ashes-Al-Br-Marking the 125th anniversary of the Battle for the Ashes between Australia and England, the 2007 $1 Ashes Al-Br was not issued for circulation and has a tiny mintage of a mere 49,438.

1998 $1 Florey C Mintmark Al-Br

1998-$1-Florey-C-Mintmark-Al-BrPart of the Royal Australian Mint’s long-running, ever-popular Mintmark $1 Series, the 1998 $1 Florey C Mintmark Al-Br had a mintage of 77,035. Not issued for general circulation, this coin should never be found in change!

2008 $1 Coat of Arms S Privymark Al-Br

2008-$1-Coat-of-Arms-S-Privymark-Al-Br-Celebrating the centenary of Australia’s Coat of Arms, approved by King Edward VII in 1908, the Royal Australian Mint’s 2008 $1 S Privymark Al-Br had a tiny mintage of just 48,365, and was not issued for circulation.

An important thing to note is that Christen’s coins are some exceedingly rare finds, none of which were ever intended for circulation and in reality you should never expect to find these in change.


Alex has also found some interesting commemorative and standard types while overseas, including the above penny that when combined with the other British definitives for the year forms the "shield." It shows that this stuff is out there – if you happen to be in Britain that is! The only way to guarantee you get the whole set of British coins in pristine Uncirculated or Proof quality is to buy the Great Britain 2013 Mint Set or Great Britain 2013 Premium Proof Set – you can get both from

More updates to come – in the meantime, tell us about your own collecting in the comments below: