In an announcement straight out of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’s playbook on the 31st of October, 2018, the Royal Australian Mint has unveiled a treasure hunt to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the $1 coin, and to educate children about the benefits of saving their pocket money.

It’s called the Dollar Discovery competition with Ross MacDiarmid, chief executive officer of the Royal Australian Mint, heralding the hunt with a rendition of (I’ve Got A) Golden Ticket from the iconic movie, reports

There’s been much talk on social media about the recently released new batch of $1 coins that were forward-dated 2019, with the theories floated that the currency was somehow a “time travelling” phenomenon, or just a major error by the Mint.

But it turns out it was all a ploy by the Mint to get consumers interested in traditional currency again, at a time when many are going cashless.

So you may want to check if you have one of the coins in your spare change and hang on to it, as it has some very intriguing features that you’ll want to look out for to take part in the treasure hunt.  

If you look at one of the three million $1 coins released in September you’ll see the letters “A” or “U” or “S” underneath the largest kangaroo on the coin. There’s also the numeral “35” on the coin to celebrate the currency’s 35th birthday in 2019.

How the treasure hunt works is that you have to find three coins with each letter on them, for a chance to win prizes. Once you’ve collected them all, you’ll need to go to to register to get 5000 free folders that you can store the coins in.

And the prizes are impressive, particularly the grand prize where eight winners from each state will get a trip to Canberra for four people, and the very unique opportunity to make their own huge one kilogram silver coin worth $750. But the value could skyrocket in price as a collector’s item because it will be so unique. You’ll even be able to press the button to set the production of the special coin in motion.

Also on offer in the prize pool is a two-night stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge at Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium, and 250 gift vouchers worth $150 to spend at the Royal Australian Mint.

MacDiarmid said there was a more serious element to the treasure hunt rather than just being good fun – to educate children about saving their pocket money and financial literacy. The Mint surveyed 1000 people who said that collecting coins for the money box fostered saving and persistence in children to achieve their goals.

“How are we going to get people to understand financial literacy when they just swipe their card or actually just use a tap and go?” Mr MacDiarmid said of the continuing trend away from using cash.

Winners of the competition will be announced on May 14, 2019, which is the $1 coin’s 35th anniversary.

To find out more and register your coins, head to

Do you remember when the $1 note was changed over to the $1 coin? Let us know in the comment section below.

This article was written in partnership with Over60.