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The Land Down Under just happens to be home to some of the most sought-after and beloved coins produced in the world. There is no shortage of impressive coins struck by Australia’s Perth Mint. Although the Perth Mint is not the official production facility of Australia. The national government prints its official coinage and paper currency at the Royal Australian Mint. However, the Perth Mint is the nation’s oldest facility and its products enjoy legal tender status under the Currency Act of 1965. Learn all about the Perth Mint and its popular programs courtesy of Silver.com.
The Perth Mint is perhaps the most interesting facility on this list, due in no small part to the fact that it sits at the intersection of private and sovereign minting responsibilities. When Australia was a British territory, the British crown decided it was necessary to open Royal Mint facilities on the continent to cope with the influx of gold from Western Australia. When the Sydney Mint opened in the 1850s, it was the first Royal Mint facility ever opened outside the United Kingdom.
Founded in 1899, the Perth Mint is now Australia’s oldest operating mint facility. It was originally part of the Royal Mint system and opened following the Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint. However, following federation in Australia in 1901, the Perth Mint would spend a period of time acting as the official sovereign mint of Australia until the Currency Act of 1964 established the Royal Australian Mint.
Today, the Perth Mint exists in a unique position. As of July 1970, the Perth Mint passed from British possession to the state government of Western Australia. Its silver and gold coins are considered legal tender under that same currency act, however it is the responsibility of the Royal Australian Mint to produce circulation coins for the nation.
The Australian Kookaburra (1990-), Koala (2007-), and Kangaroo (1990-1993, 2016-) are the most popular bullion and proof products from the mint, but it also refines a great deal of gold and silver in bullion-bar form. The Perth Mint refines roughly 400 tonnes of gold annually.
For regular investors and collectors, the selection of silver coins from the Perth Mint probably needs no introduction. The oldest mint in Australia is well-known for its variety of silver bullion and proof programs. Options such as the Silver Australian Kookaburra have been around since 1990, with new designs each year. More modern options include the Silver Australian Koala (2007) and the all-new Silver Australian Kangaroo (2016).
A mint as large as the Perth Mint doesn’t simply produce a handful of long-running series and ignore the one-time release of unique designs. In the following paragraphs you’ll find information on some of the other silver Perth Mint coins available now on Silver.com.
One of the most extensive non-bullion coin programs launched by the Perth Mint since 2010 has been the Silver Australian Map-Shaped series of silver proof coins. These products start out as unique blanks that are shaped like the continent of Australia, and feature purity levels of .999 fine silver. Each coin weighs one Troy ounce and bears a face value of $1 (AUD) backed by the Australian government.
Perth Mint released the coins in groups of two each year, with a total mintage per design set at 6,000 coins. Each coin ships inside of the Perth Mint’s iconic black, clamshell display box and arrive inside a custom-designed, full-color shipper that features artwork representative of the species featured on the individual releases. Each coin also comes with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. The release schedule for the coins followed this schedule:
The coins come with a unique colorized stripe down the horizontal center of the reverse face that brings a different native species and its habitat in Australia to live on the coins. The obverse face of all coins in the Australian Map-Shaped Silver Coin series bear the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the center. Her Majesty’s image currently in use on Australian coinage was created in 1998 by Ian Rank-Broadley, and is depicted alongside engravings that include her name, the nation of issue, year of issue, and face value of the coin.
Believe it or not, the Perth Mint does offer other extensive coin programs, such as the recently released Silver Australian Cub Series. This five-coin series will feature the following designs, with three of the coins already available for purchase from the Perth Mint and listed on Silver.com:
The 2016 ½ oz Silver Australian Cub Series Jaguar Proof Coin is available on Silver.com. The coin’s reverse face features the colorized image of two playful jaguar cubs. Only the cubs, which feature a traditional yellow-and-black spotting and solid-black pattern on the other, have real-world appeal with colorized finishes. The jaguar is actually native to the Americas, which is why the Perth Mint designers used an Incan temple as the design backdrop for this cute and playful new coin.
The obverse of each coin in the series features Ian Rank-Broadley’s right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Created in 1998, it is the fourth-generation of Her Majesty to appear on Australian coinage since she ascended to the throne in 1952. Engravings include the Queen’s name, face value, nation of issue, year of issue, metal content, purity, and weight of the coin.
Each of the coins in the Silver Australian Cubs Series from the Perth Mint features one-half troy ounce of .999 pure silver, a face value of 50 Cents that is legal tender in Tuvalu, and inspiring, colorized designs on the reverse. The Australian Cub Series coins ship in the Perth Mint’s black display box, and arrive in a colorized shipper that features imagery representative of the cub species on the coin’s reverse. Additionally, each of the coins in the series is individually numbered and arrives with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Investors and collectors looking for Silver Australian Kangaroo coins are bound to run into confusion. The kangaroo is so popular as a symbol on national currency, that a separate program is run by the Royal Australian Mint that features the kangaroo on official currency released into circulation for use by the public in transactions.
The Perth Mint Australian Silver Kangaroo was introduced in 1993 as a proof coin. Each year the Perth Mint produces the proof Silver Kangaroo in limited mintages. In recent years, the coin has been struck in a brilliant high-relief proof to add to the collectible value of these stunning coins. The design motif remains the same on the coins each year, but the specific design of a kangaroo is changed from one year to the next, adding value and demand to the coin.
All of the Australian Silver Kangaroo coins produced by the Perth Mint feature 1 oz of .999 pure silver. The coins are considered legal tender in Australia, and have been issued a face value of $1 (AUD) by the Australian government as a result.
Starting with the 2016 issue year, the Perth Mint introduced a new bullion coin featuring the beloved kangaroo on its reverse. Scheduled for annual release going forward, this new 2016 Silver Kangaroo is unique in that it is the newest silver bullion coin from the mint and the first to feature .9999 fine silver content. This will help it stand apart from the proof high-relief version from the mint, as well as the long-running Kookaburra and Koala programs.
The Gold Kangaroo coin actually has its roots in a coin known as the Australian Gold Nugget. First released in 1987, these gold coins featured the image of a gold nugget on the reverse side. In 1989, this coin’s reverse design was altered to represent the continent’s beloved kangaroo. Following adoption of the kangaroo motif on this coin program, the Perth Mint began following another popular rule used in its other bullion coin programs: rotating designs.
Each year, the Perth Mint releases a gold bullion Australian Kangaroo coin in .9999 pure gold with an all-new design on the reverse side of the coin. The motif always remains the same, capturing the kangaroo in its natural habitat. However, the specific design changes from year to year, with different artists and Perth Mint engravers contributing to the design sets used on the coins.
Without question, the longest-running silver coin from the Perth Mint is the Silver Australian Kookaburra. A unique bird species native to the continent of Australia, the kookaburra has appeared on a proof silver coin since 1990. The collector’s value of the Silver Australian Kookaburra coin comes from its changing design. Each year, the Perth Mint selects a new design for the coin, always highlighting the kookaburra in its natural habitat.
On the reverse side of each coin is the image of the kookaburra, surrounded by engravings that include “Australian Kookaburra” and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content. The obverse always features Queen Elizabeth II’s right-profile portrait, along with her name, the nation of issue, and face value of the coin in AUD.
Another popular Perth Mint silver coin is the Australian Koala coin. The Koala Silver coin was first introduced in 2007, and has quickly become the single most popular product from the mint. Like the kookaburra, the koala silver coin is struck in a variety of weights each year in both bullion and proof versions. The coins feature a brand-new image of the native marsupial in its native habitat each year, with Queen Elizabeth II’s image on the obverse.
Even more recently, the Perth Mint introduced a 2015 1 oz Australian Silver Kangaroo Proof in high relief. This new coin features the continent’s largest marsupial, the kangaroo, as it hops across the Outback on its massive hand legs and oversized, muscular tale. As with all other Perth Mint coins, Queen Elizabeth II’s image graces the obverse.
One of the increasingly popular coin programs from the Perth Mint is the Lunar Series of silver and gold coins. With the rising prominence of China’s economy and the spread of Chinese culture by immigrants moving to all corners of the globe, the impact has been felt in industries that include precious metal coins and bars. The Perth Mint of Australia was the first to capitalize on the popularity of Chinese culture, developing the first Lunar Series coin program in 1996 honoring the 12-year cycle of the Zodiac. Following the massive success of the original program, the Perth Mint launched a Lunar Series II in 2008, with equal success.
The coin program’s launch was timed to coincide with the appearance of the first animal in the Zodiac. The 12-year cycle of the Zodiac consists of a specific order of animals representing various characteristics and behavioral traits that those born under the sign of each animal are believed to possess.
The original Lunar Series from the Perth Mint included a gold bullion coin, as well as a silver, and featured simplistic designs of each animal. The program ran from 1996 to 2007, concluding with the 12th animal in the cycle, the Year of the Pig. Just in time for the Zodiac to restart at the Year of the Mouse in 2008, the Perth Mint unveiled an all-new Lunar Series II set of gold and silver bullion coins for investors and collectors.
The design of Perth Mint Lunar Series coins has advanced significantly between Lunar Series I coins and the latest Lunar Series II coins. For example, the original 1996 1 oz Year of the Mouse (Rat) coin from the Perth Mint featured a blank, matte background on the reverse with a central image of a rat. Engravings were simplistic, and the outside of the coin was surrounded by a beaded design that completed a full circle.
By contrast, the 2008 1 oz Year of the Mouse (Rat) coin featured an all-new design that focused on the mouse in the middle of the design, with elements of its natural habitat visible behind it. The beaded circle around the edge was gone, and an engraving of “Year of the Mouse” was added along the bottom. Additionally, inside each of the engravings was a deeply-mirrored, clear background field that contrasted nicely with the matte-like background of the rest of the coin.
To be clear, none of the Lunar Series II coins have featured the same design elements of the Lunar Series I coins. Each of the animals is represented with a refreshed design on the reverse, as well as an applicable engraving identifying the specific animal (such as “Year of the Horse”).
On the obverse side of the coins, the design features have remained the same since 1996. Ian Rank-Broadley’s right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, used on so many of the Perth Mint’s coins, has featured on the obverse side from day one. Surrounding Her Majesty’s effigy are the engravings of “Elizabeth II,” “Australia,” the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content, the year of minting, and the face value of the coins. A small “IRB” is visible near the Queen’s neck as a nod to the designer.
For more information about the Perth Mint products available from Silver.com, please glance through our online catalog of Australian coins. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Silver.com customer service. Our team members are available at 888-989-7223, online using our live web chat, or via our email address.
For more than a century, the Perth Mint has played a notable role in producing some of the world’s most beautiful gold and silver products. Their reputation for excellence and their innovative coin designs make their products a favorite of investors.
Their bullion bars make a worthy addition to any investment portfolio or coin collection. However, the Perth Mint really shines when it comes to coins that hold stunning numismatic value. Their most popular gold Perth products and silver Perth products include the Australian Kangaroo series, the Kookaburra Silver Coin series, the Koala Silver Coin series and the Australian Lunar series. Of course, it is worth the time that it takes to explore all of their exquisite products.
Silver.com offers a broad selection of products from the Perth Mint that can enhance your portfolio with beauty and value. We offer a secure and painless shopping experience, so make us your first stop when you’re looking to add some gorgeous Australian pieces to your collection.