I watched this gentleman for some time as he carefully sawed his way around the kangaroo’s neck and down to his feet.
Oddly enough my very first question to him had nothing to do with his art but on the legality of defacing coins. His eagerly offered response was that where there was no intent to defraud then there was nothing wrong with creating art from coins. This was not the story I had believed to be true so I decided to check for myself.
After reading the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 as amended, I came to the following conclusions.
Any coin deemed ‘current’ and legal for tender in Australia is covered by this act. Making jewelry from, being in possession of or selling such jewelry could lead to a $5000 fine and/or a two year jail term for each offence! Fortunately for our local artist the Australian penny is no longer current and in this case perfectly lawful.
That being said I may possibly have, though I can’t really be sure, seen a piece or two made from current coins. Good thing I can’t remember his name either!
Photo: Robert Rath, ‘Day 908, Penny Artist’ 1/80s f/4 ISO100 200mm