LONDON: When six-year-old Henry McArthur lent a hand drawing the raffle for the world’s first coin of 2018, he didn’t expect to pick his own ticket as the winner.
Royal Australian Mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid looked just as surprised, having himself asked the young man to “do the honours” as collectors gathered for the historic moment on New Year’s Day.
“I can’t believe it,” Henry said, holding up the ticket in delight. He was one of first 100 people to line up for the coin at 6am on Monday.
This year, for the first time, a raffle was held to decide who would claim the newly minted prize, ending an annual tradition of enthusiasts camping out to secure the first spot at the doors come January 1.
After a Belconnen teenager was struck down with food poisoning, dehydration and sunburn during his week-long wait outside the mint last year, it was decided things needed to change.
For the McArthur family, who moved to Canberra from Kangaroo Island only last month, it’s already paid dividends.
Just moments after drawing out his own ticket, Henry went on to pick his father’s – winning proud dad Robb the seventh coin of the year.
“We thought we’d do something a bit Canberra and come along today,” his mother Judith explained.
“Look how excited he is, he’s shaking.”
Mr MacDiarmid was quick to dismiss suggestions he had a hand in the family’s success.