It's lightweight, it's tough, and it boasts an array of applications from boat propeller shafts to spacecraft. Titanium is a pretty useful metal, but surprisingly, has only recently been used in coin production.
In 1999, Gibraltar rang in the new millennium with the world's first Titanium coin. Lighter to hold than other coins and yet still beautifully robust and lustrous, it quickly attracted collectors' attention.
But considering the fact that coins have been produced from other metals since 700BC, why did it take Titanium so long to catch up?
Tough - in more ways than one!
Titanium's weakness as a coin-making material lies in its strength. Literally.
Boasting the highest tensile strength to density ratio of any metal known to man, Titanium can't be made into coins with standard minting equipment. Only specialised, modern dies can strike this tough-as-nails metal and not shatter on impact. Most mints, for better or worse, lack the facilities. Titanium coins are relatively rare as a result.
All the colours of the rainbow
Want your metal in magenta? Turquoise? Forest green?
Like many materials, Titanium can be painted. But there's a more sophisticated way to create a stunning, coloured effect.
Under the right conditions, Titanium can produce a surface layer on top of the metal as a result of the movement of electrons. This surface layer can be manipulated by passing an electrical current through the metal, a process called Anodisation. The result? An array of stunning colours, with different voltages producing different hues.
Light in the hand
As anyone who has ridden a Titanium bike will tell you, this metal is beautifully lightweight. Coins struck from Titanium don't weigh as much as those struck from Gold, Silver, Copper or a familiar alloy, such as Aluminium-Bronze. This makes them surprisingly light to hold.
An Australian First
The new Titanium Collection comprises an array of coins, struck from 99% pure Titanium. While coins struck from this metal were issued across the globe nearly 20 years ago, this is the first time a Titanium coin collection has been released within Australia – a huge step for the world of collecting.
What does the future of minting hold for this beautiful metal? We're excited to find out!