Two-up is Australia’s most famous game of chance. Its origins can be traced back to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, although it was not until the Australian gold rushes of the 1800s that the game really took hold. In those heady days, the game gripped the imagination of people searching for instant riches among the remote goldfields of Australia.
Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia and one of the richest and remotest gold mining areas in the world, also became the most famous venue for Two-up in the country.
The object of Two-up is to place bets on whether the two coins will fall heads or tails. Traditionally two pennies are placed, with both tails facing upwards, on the ‘kip’, a small, flat board. Once all bets are completed, the spinner tosses the coins by quickly raising the kip and twisting the wrist to ensure the coins actually spin in flight.
The game of Two-up was usually controlled by a ‘ringie’ or ringkeeper, who was in charge of the collecting and handling of all money, distributing winnings and controlling the spinning. He would also occasionally charge a ‘boxer’, or levy on winnings to pay for fines resulting from police raids, as the game was illegal for a long time.
Such is the spirit of Two-up, that it has evolved to a point where today it is now a legalised form of gambling permitted in Kalgoorlie and casinos around the country, and enjoyed by thousands of Australians.
This traditional Two-up set from The Perth Mint features two copper Australian pennies, featuring the famous leaping kangaroo design, and a typical wooden kip, made from plantation pine.