Perth Mint has an impressive coin edition commemorating the Chinese Zodiac Calendar and this year, they have unveiled their latest coin. According to the ancient 12 year Chinese lunar cycle 2019 is the Year of the Pig. The pig is also the last sign of the Chinese lunar calendar. However, it is not only honoured by the Chinese. The pig is also significant in other cultures around the world.
Pigs have been depicted in various forms ranging from the docile domesticated pigs to the fearsome wild boar. Regardless of the form that pigs are depicted in various cultures they all symbolise power, wealth and abundance.
To the Ancient Egyptians, the pig was the great mother. It was associated with Isis, the goddess of fertility and agriculture. Pigs were slaughtered and offered to the gods for an increase of the harvest and by childless women who wanted to children.
The Greeks also slaughtered pigs and offered them to Gaia who was the equivalent of Isis. They were also offered to Deter and Ares to increase the harvest. To the Greeks pigs were thought to have the intellect that is closest to humans.
The Celtic culture also valued pigs. They symbolised prosperity and strength. The pig appeared on money as far back as the 1st Century BC, when it was inscribed on the Celtic silver coin. Celtic lore associated pigs with fertility and abundance because of the rate they reproduce and the large numbers of their litters. Celts sacrificed pigs to the goddess Phaea and Ceridwen who were associated with fertility. The wild boar was associated with masculine power and it’s bristles were believed to possess magical powers. Wild boars were offered as a sacrifice before soldiers went into battle.
The pig was regarded as the harbinger of rain by Native American tribes. They were important because rain is essential for a good harvest. Like the ancient Egyptians and the Celts native American tribes revered pigs because they were associated with fertility and abundance.
Coming back to the Chinese lunar cycle, the pig is a symbol of prosperity and luck. People born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and those who will be born in 2019 are ruled by the pig. The people born under this sign are considered as generous, loyal and honest. This could also mean that 2019 will be an auspicious year, especially for those born in the year of the pig.
The first series of the Chinese lunar calendar coins was launched In 1996 starting with the year of the mouse. Altogether the Chinese Zodiac has 12 animal signs and the pig is the last one. The first 12 years were called the Lunar I series. In 2008, the second series was launched. This 2019 Year of the Pig coin is the last in the Lunar II series. The coin features a domestic pig with beautiful foliage behind it. The Chinese character for pig is inscribed on the coin as well as the traditional ‘P’ for the Perth mint. There is an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, the year, weight and fineness inscribed on the other side of the coin. The coin is struck from 99.99% gold and is issued as legal tender according to the Australian government’s Currency Act of 1965. The mint plans to make 388 proof coins which means they will be amongst the most sought after coins by coin collectors.