First issued in 1995 and now in its third round, the long-running Australian Lunar Coin Series celebrates the animals of the Chinese zodiac with a sequence of annual designs portraying the mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. These 2021 coins celebrate the Year of the Ox, whose rule over every second year in the 12-year lunar cycle is said to influence people born during 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 and 2021.
According to Chinese mythology, the order of the animals in the ancient zodiac calendar was decided with a great race across a river. Traditional storytellers say the magnanimous ox offered to carry the mouse across the water - and thus it was that on the opposite bank the diminutive creature was able to leap from the ox’s head and claim first place!
Legend has it that each zodiac animal influences the personality of the people born under its ‘rule’. Those born in the Year of the Ox are said to possess the same qualities displayed by the kind, hardworking and determined creature who first participated in the fabled event.
Portraying a charming image of an ox and its calf, each of the three coins features a different surface treatment: a stunning proof quality finish, selective colouring, or selective 24-carat gilding.