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How Far Can $300 Billion Get You 2?

Gold and silver coins (ironically, neither are gold nor silver) are the dominant species of Australian currency. They lurk in couches, cars, washing machines under furniture, and behind ears. They’re everywhere. I have a bucket full, but no bucket is big enough to fit every coin minted. How many are there? (More than 36, Dudley Dursley). Thanks to my friend, the Royal Australian Mint website, I have a list of coins created annually. Fun for me and my addition addiction. Let’s start with the newest member of our coin collection, the $2 coin.


It was born June 20, 1988. A year that saw Die Hard, Coming to America and Who Framed Roger Rabbit hit cinemas. Three brand, spanking new $2 coins (designed by Horst Hahn) could get you admission. Queen Elizabeth on heads, and Aboriginal massacre survivor, and first Aboriginal featured on a postage stamp, Gwoya Tjungurrayi, or One Pound Jimmy, (1895 - 1965), on tails. Both deservedly shine on 947 673 000 coins worth $1 895 346 000.

Our $420 billion could split into 210 billion 2.80 mm thick coins. That worldwide trip is nothing compared to change. 588 billion mm, 58.8 billion cm, 588 million m, and 588 000 km. That’s over 14.5 times Earth’s circumferences. Driving the fastest car built (the Thrust SSC reached 1 227.985 km/hr), it would take 478.8 hours, or 20 days, to get that distance. I’m going to need a bigger playlist and unhealthy amounts of coffee.


The $2 coin’s older brother, the $1 coin, came into existence on May 14th, 1984. It’s young, but still popular with 21 variants. Most commemorate something, but the OG features five Kangaroos and was designed by Stuart Devlin (1931 - 2018). (He designed all coins except for the $2 coin). Nothing more to say about that. Might as well jump (jump) to numbers. Add the ‘84 coins to the ‘85s and keep on adding until 2020. Our total is… 1 022 237 000, $1 coins. You can figure out how much that’s worth.

$1 coins are the thickest coins at 3 mm. Whole numbers is maths best friend. Our 420 billion coins stack to 1.26 trillion mm, 126 billion cm, 1.26 billion m, and finally, 1 260 000 km. Large enough to circumnavigate Jupiter 2.8 times (Jupiter’s circumference is 439 264 km compared to Earth’s 40 075). You can go to the moon, come back, take another lunar trip and have 107 000 spare kms. Screw my Thrust SSC, I need a jet. The X-15A-2 aircraft will do. That sucker reached 7 270 km/hr (6 times the speed of sound/Mach 6). A luxurious 173 hour, or 7 day, flight. I might leave the car at home and fly to work. It sucks small shopping centres don’t have runways. Anyway…


50 cent, the currency, not the rapper, is next on our coin list. Thankfully, every silver coin was released on 14 Feb, 1966 (Happy Valentines Day). No more need to mention dates. It features the coat of arms and was originally 80% silver (now 75% Copper). Oh, and it used to be round instead of a Dodecagonal shape (12 corners). I guess it wanted to stand out from the crowd. Attention seeker. Now, how much are we dealing with? 1 046 400 000 worth $523.2 million. If Musk was a country, it would hold 840 billion 50 cent coins


It shares its thickness with the $2 coin, which, in case you forgot, is 2.80 mm. Our pile is, 2 352 000 000 000 mm. Using my simple-level maths capabilities, I can transform that into 235 200 000 cm, or 2 352 000 000 m, and finally, 2 352 000 km. Distance is pointless, but time is not. The Parker Solar Probe (a probe that will touch the sun) has reached 532 000 km/hr. It’s the fastest man-made thing ever, with a destiny to travel faster. It would take 4.4 hours to reach that distance, or our plane 13.4 days (speed in space is unmatched to Earthly restrictions.) Three coins in and it’s hard to understand. Let’s keep going with 20 cents to see what happens.


It features God’s last second experiment, the duck-billed platypus. What did it evolve from? What will it evolve into? Nobody knows, except for evolutionary biologists… probably. Honestly, there is nothing interesting about the coin. Into maths. It eclipses the 50 cent coins circulation, with 2 017 610 000 worth $403 522 000. Delicious. With our $420 billion, we skip to 2.1 trillion. Now we’re getting places.

Each is 2.5 mm thick, so we have a 5.25 trillion mm, 520 billion cm, 5.25 billion, or 5 250 000 km pile. 1.2 times the sun’s circumference, but nowhere near close enough to reach our sisterly planet, Venus. She shifts between 261 and 38 million kms away from us. We are 13.6 times further than the moon, floating somewhere in space. The Parker Solar Probe would take almost ten hours to reach us if in trouble.


Our glorious 10 cent coin is one of two coins with only two different designs (the other being the 5 cent coin, but that’s bound to change soon. Get these coins more designs before they end up the next one and two cent coins.) It features the greatest animal impressionists to ever live, the Lyrebird. If the Lyrebird was a person, it would annihilate the comedy world. These magical creatures populate 2 461 940 000 coins worth $246 194 000. A sharp decrease in worth, but Lyrebirds have no concern for petty human needs. Not even if we divide them into 4.2 trillion coins.

They are 2 mm thick, but a pile would reach 8.4 trillion mm, 840 billion cm, 8.4 billion m, or 8.5 million km. Close to 2 times the sun’s circumference. Our Parker Solar Probe will reach a top speed of 692 000 km/hr, so at its peak, it would take our probe 12.3 hours to travel that distance. It doesn’t sound fast when talking about trillions, billions, and millions, but imagine driving down the Great Western Highway at 110km/hr. It will take roughly 2 hours to drive end to end, or just over one second in our Solar Probe. The more you know.


Finally, we come to the almost worthless 5 cent coin. It’s our smallest, but features Australia’s cutest native animal. The Echidna. I got to rub its belly, but you have to watch out for their spikes (called Spines). These coins are the grand champion of minted currency with 4 539 600 000 plaguing the lands. That’s slightly less than the population of Asia (4.561 billion). But their worth drops to $226 980 000. More coins for us poor folks, but also, a significantly less amount of money. Yay to us, but it would annoy Elon if his net worth transformed into 5 cent coins. Imagine 8.4 trillion of them. What a nightmare.

Our 5 cent coin is the thinnest at 1.30 mm, but I don’t think that will make a big difference to our final number. 10. 92 trillion mm, 1.092 trillion cm, 10.92 billion m, or 10 920 000 million km. Our Solar Probe buddy will get as close as 6 115 507 km to the sun (Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, is 50.847 million km away from that fiery ball of plasma). What to say about that distance? It’s unimaginably far. Space is a damn big thing. Our Solar probe, at its fastest, will hit that in 15.8 hours. 62.6 days if you want to fly, or 370 days if you felt like driving. Wanna hear something else impressive? That is nowhere near 1% the speed of light. Solar probe top speed: 620 000km/hr. 1% speed of light: 10 792 528.5 km/hr. It’s incredible how much more impressive nature is than us.

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