Money Consumer New 50-cent coin hides a secret code
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New 50-cent coin hides a secret code

asio 50 cent coin
Australia's new spy-inspired 50-cent piece is hiding a few tricks. Photo: Royal Australian Mint
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The Royal Australian Mint has gone all Bond-esque with the release of a tricky new coin to mark the 70th birthday of Australia’s spy agency.

The shiny new 50-cent piece was released on Monday to mark 70 years since the founding of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

It is a limited edition coin, with just 20,000 available.

The history-making coin is the mint’s first to feature a secret code – and one customer who cracks it will win a prize.

The encryption on the coin is similar to “one-time pads” used by Soviet spies during the Cold War.

Some of those codes were broken by Western allies – revealing the presence of an active Soviet spy ring in Australia and prompting Britain to urge Australia to establish a security service. That led to the establishment of ASIO in 1949.

50 cent coin asio code
The code on the coin is based on one used by Soviet spies in the 1940s. Photo: Royal Australian Mint

Customers who buy the ASIO 70th anniversary coin and crack the secret code can also enter the mint’s Coincryption competition. That will put them in the draw to win the only proof of the ASIO coin.

“Spooks and spies is an intriguing theme and often the stuff of novels and film,” Director-General of Security Duncan Lewis said.

“It is exciting to see this theme interpreted in such a creative and enduring way.”

The uncirculated ASIO 50-cent coin costs $10, and can be bought from the mint’s website. The site also has full details for entering the Coincryption competition.