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The kangaroo is perhaps the most iconic animal species from the Australian continent. Often overshadowed by Western Australia’s state-owned mint, the Royal Australian Mint has the duty of producing the nation’s official currency as well as its gold and silver bullion coins. The kangaroo coins from the Royal Australian Mint originated in silver only, but are now available as a brilliant gold specimen. On this page, you’ll learn all about the Gold Royal Australian Mint coins available today on Silver.com.
Prior to Australia’s federation movement in the early 20th century, starting in 1903, the nation’s coins were struck by the Royal Mint system governed by the ruling British colonial authorities. That mint system consisted of three facilities, located in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Today, only the Perth Mint remains open and operable, and though it used to produce the nation’s currency, that job now belongs solely to the Royal Australian Mint.
In 1964, the Royal Australian Mint was founded in the federal capital city of Canberra. The opening of the Royal Australian Mint coincided with a shift in the valuation of Australian currency. Following formation of the federation, Australia used a system of currency known as the Australian pound, modeled after the British pound. With the opening of the new sovereign mint, Australia transitioned to decimalization of its currency and adopted the new Australian dollar (AUD).
The Royal Australian Mint holds the sole duty of producing the nation’s circulation currency, a duty it overtook from the Perth and Melbourne Mints. Today, it also produces bullion and proof commemorative coins in gold and silver.
The Royal Australian Mint released its first kangaroo bullion coin as a silver version in 1993. Since that date, the mint has released the silver coin on an annual basis with a design set that changed on a regular basis, though not every year. Starting in 2003, the mint introduced a gold-plated version of the coin.
These 2016 Gold Royal Australian Mint Kangaroo coins are the latest gold bullion products from the mint, and feature a historic design from Australia’s transition to an independent nation. Inspired by the original copper penny from Australian authorities, these new gold bullion coins feature a kangaroo design n the reverse and the portrait of England’s monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, on the obverse.
On the reverse face of the coin is the image of a kangaroo hopping across the design field, from right to left. Also included in the design is the image of the star of the commonwealth. Both images featured on the copper penny in circulation prior to the founding of the Royal Australian Mint. The Royal Australian Mint introduced additional design elements for this coin’s reverse, which include the leaves of the Tasmanian Blue Gum, the nation of issue, the year of issue, and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content.
The obverse bears the right-profile portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, ruling monarch of the United Kingdom. Her Majesty’s effigy has appeared on the obverse of Australian currency and that of other commonwealth nations since she ascended to the throne in 1952. This particular design came from Ian Rank-Broadley, and was created in 1998 for use on British, Australian, and commonwealth nations. This is the fourth-generation image of Her Majesty to appear on Australian coins.
Each 2016 Gold Royal Australian Mint Kangaroo Coin features a gold content of .9999 fineness. The coins are available in four different weights: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. Face value on each coin is listed in Australian dollars (AUD), ranging from $100 (AUD) for 1 oz coins to $10 (AUD) for 1/10 oz coins.
When Australia went down the road to independence, the nation continued its use of the Australian pound. One of the most popular coin designs of the era was the original copper penny. These copper pennies were produced at the Perth Mint and Melbourne Mint from 1911 to 1964, but did not always feature the kangaroo on the reverse. The portrait of the ruling monarch was always on the obverse, and included images of King George V, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II.
The kangaroo was chosen for the reverse beginning in the reign of King George VI. It continued until the nation went through decimalization in 1966. This occured at the same time as the opening of the Royal Australian Mint. The image featured a kangaroo as it leaped across the design from right to left, and had the star of the commonwealth on it as well.
Australia is home to some of the world’s most beloved and well-known animal species. While spider species and crocodiles found in Australia are found in other parts of the world. The kangaroo is, however, a native species of the continent that is not found anywhere else in the world outside this corner of the South Pacific.
The kangaroo was first cataloged in human history in 1770 when British explorers referenced seeing a “kanguru” while sailing along the coast of Australia. Among those early explorers responsible for bringing the kangaroo to the outside world was Sir James Cook, an experienced navigator whose ship spent weeks near the shores of modern-day Cooktown as it underwent repairs following a collision with the Great Barrier Reef.
While most are unfamiliar with the marsupial species, those in Australia have a good grasp on an animal that has come to be considered the unofficial emblem of the nation. Kangaroos are the largest of three marsupials in the family, which consists of the wallaby (the smallest) and the wallaroo (a mid-size species). Kangaroos, which are commonly known for the translation of “large foot,” actually break down into four different subspecies. These consist of the antilopine, red, eastern grey, and western grey.
Today, the kangaroo is viewed as an unofficial emblem for the nation. It appears on the coat of arms for the nation, along with the Emu, and is used by many private and govermental organizations, including the global brand Qantas Airlines and the Royal Australian Air Force. Once viewed as an endangered species due to overhunting (the kangaroo’s meat and hide are highly prized), the kangaroo’s numbers have grown significantly in recent years. In 2011, the Australian government noted that roughly 34.3 million kangaroos lived on commercial hunting lands, a number that was up from 25.1 million just one year prior.
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