In 1996 the Royal Australian Mint released two five dollar coins to commemorate the life of Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman. The two pieces are both designed by Vladimir Gottwald and are similar in design. The first piece is a bronze proof and the second is a bi-metallic piece that features an bronze inner and a stainless steel outer ring.
Born in 1908, Donald Bradman, took an interest in sports from a very young age. He was born in Cootamundra in New South Wales and as a youth become passionate about cricket to the extent that he invented his own training technique that allowed him to practice batting by himself. He didn't have a bat so resorted to the use of a cricket stump instead. His solo cricket game required a golf ball that was hit into a curve in the wall of his house and as it deflected at random angles he would attempt to hit it again. Playing this game incessantly as a boy developed his great hand-eye co-ordination, and quick reactions.
By the age of 12 he was playing cricket at school and hit his first century of many to come throughout his long career as a test batsman. Throughout that career that spanned for over 25 years, he achieved a test batting average of 99.84. This incredible statistic not only makes him the highest achieving cricketer of all time but arguably the highest achieving sportsman of any kind. His career began before World War II when he began to make and break some incredible records, some of which still stand today. He made a dramatic comeback after the war captaining the Australian cricket team on their record-breaking unbeaten tour of England. This Australian team became known as The Invincible's.
Bradman's achievements soon led to him being considered a sporting hero and he was the subject of constant adulation and admiration everywhere he went. He was described by former captain Bill Woodfull as being "worth three batsman to Australia." He was uncomfortable with the amount of attention he received and in his later life, despite staying involved with cricket and administration he became quite aloof and somewhat of a recluse. After his wife died in 1997, he became even more withdrawn and after being hospitalised with pneumonia, he finally died at home peacefully at the age of 92. His memorial service, held at St Peter's Anglican Cathedral, Adelaide was broadcast live on TV and was seen by almost 1.5 million viewers.