Gold coins are arguably the most valuable assets that investors and collectors look for when purchasing precious metals. Gold is, literally, the standard of the industry. Countless mints around the globe, both sovereign and private, produce gold bullion options for numismatists and collectors alike. Listed here today are some of the most prominent and popular gold coin programs from mints around the globe. You’ll find each one available for purchase online from JM Bullion.
As the official sovereign mint of the United States, the US Mint is responsible for both the production of American currency and a range of bullion and proof coinage for investors and collectors. The two most prominent gold coin programs from the mint are the American Gold Eagle and the American Gold Buffalo.
The official gold coin of the United States is the American Gold Eagle, which is available annually in the three familiar versions and four different weights. These stunning coins serve as a reminder of the majesty, longevity, and strength of the American nation. Each Gold Eagle coin from the United States Mint features images of the nation’s most iconic symbols, from its official national emblem of the American bald eagle to that towering symbol of freedom and democracy known to most simply as Lady Liberty.
Like its silver counterpart, a historic American coinage design was chosen for the American Gold Eagle. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was hand-picked by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to help revitalize US gold coinage with a brilliant new design.
Saint-Gaudens crowning achievement was the Lady Liberty design that features Liberty in full-length figure, her hair and robe flowing freely in the breeze as she strides forward confidently from the nation’s capital. In her right and left hand are a torch for light, and an olive branch signifying peace; all the things she’ll need to guide the nation toward a peaceful, if unknown, future.
His original design was used on the $20 Gold Double Eagle coin. In circulation from 1907 to 1933, it is considered the finest design on the greatest coin in American history. Saint-Gaudens himself never lived to see his design come to fruition on an American coin though, passing away due to complications from illness just months before the coins were released in 1907.
In Saint-Gaudens’ original design, Liberty was featured striding forward with the US Capitol Building at her feet, the rays of the setting sun at her back, and 46 stars surrounding her along the coin’s rim. In 1912, Congress authorized the addition of two stars to his design to recognize the addition of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union. In order for the image to be used on the American Gold Eagle, two stars were added to recognize the post-World War II addition of Hawaii and Alaska to the Union.
The reverse side of the coin features a family of nesting bald eagles, and was designed by Miley Busiek. In the image, a male bald eagle returns to the nest with branches in its talons. In the nest, a female is depicted standing vigilant guard over the young hatchlings in the nest. Busiek’s design was created in 1986, and is used exclusively on the American Gold Eagle.
When the bullion Gold Eagles were introduced in 1986, demand exceeded 1.3 million for the 1 oz coin alone, with the ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz coins hitting 599,000, 726,000, and 912,000 respectively. The early to mid-2000s saw another significant decline in mintage figures, until the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, when the gold eagles soared to new heights with mintage figures of 1.49 million, 110,000, 110,000, and 270,000 respectively from 1 oz down to 1/10 oz
While the Proof Gold Eagles have likewise seen ebbs and flows in their demand, actual mintage figures have swayed much less distinctly in numeric terms compared to the bullion coins. While bullion coinage has since drops of more than a million coins in mintage levels over certain five-year periods, the proof coins have always remained within roughly the same range from lows of 12,000 to highs of 45,000. Only a few years have seen mintage levels far exceeding those maximums.
At this point in time, the 2017 Proof American Gold Eagle arrives with mintage figures on the rise across all four weights from a low in 2012 of 23,630 (1 oz), 12,809 (1/2 oz), 13,775 (1/4 oz), and 20,740 (1/10 oz) to levels of 32,652, 15,820, 15,775, and 26,769 respectively in 2015.
Burnished Gold Eagles were originally available in all four weights with high demand, but following the 2009 halt in proof and burnished production, the American Gold Eagle returned with only the 1 oz coin available and mintage figures that were much lower. The most recent figure is 6,888 coins for the 2016 release of the Burnished American Gold Eagle, which is down from post-2009 highs set in 2011 and 2014.
The United States Mint unveiled the American Gold Buffalo bullion coin in 2006, featuring the historic Buffalo Nickel design from James Earle Fraser and a gold content of .9999 fineness. The American Gold Buffalo was the first-ever coin from the US Mint to feature 24-karat gold, and in 2016 the mint celebrated the 10th anniversary of this highly coveted bullion coin.
James Earle Fraser was commissioned by the administration of William Howard Taft in 1911 to create a design to replace the Liberty Head design from Charles E. Barber on the US nickel. A resident of the American Midwest, born and raised in Winona, Minnesota, Fraser was accustomed to life on the American Plains. He used images from his youth as inspiration for the coin design that would eventually grace the Buffalo Nickel.
Black Diamond, a resident bison of New York City’s Central Park Zoo was the inspiration behind his buffalo design, which features on the reverse of both the Buffalo Nickel and the modern American Gold Buffalo.
For the obverse, he used the right-profile of an American Indian as the primary design. It did not represent one individual, but rather a compilation of the facial features taken from three real-life Native American leaders. The identity of those men was shrouded in mystery for years, but in 1938 he stated that the inspirational figures had been Iron Tail of the Sioux, Big Tree of the Kiowa, and Two Moons of the Cheyenne.
The Bullion and Collectible Coin Production Efficiency and Cost Saving Act became law in the US on December 4, 2015. In addition to provisions impacting the American Gold and American Silver Eagle coins, the law set forth provisions to establish the American Gold Buffalo as the permanent .9999 fine gold bullion coin of the United States, meaning its annual production is all-but guaranteed following its 10th anniversary.
Demand for American Gold Buffalo coins has remained relatively stable since its 2006 introduction. The long-awaited debut of an American bullion coin with .9999 pure gold led to a rush for the coins in 2006, with 337,012 coins sold. Most ears the average sales are around 200,000 in total, with a low point coming in 2012 at just 100,000 coins. Heading into the month of December 2015, sales for last year stood around 220,000 and 30,000 coins have already sold in January 2016.
One of the world’s leading mints, the Royal Canadian Mint is well known for its popular annual release programs and beautiful coinage designs, but also for the impressive .9999 purity used in the vast majority of its bullion and proof coin programs. Today, the royal Canadian Mint strikes more than 1 billion coins annually. In addition to its popular Canadian Maple Leaf series of gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins.
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins debuted with .999 pure gold content, but were enhanced beginning in November 1982 to include .9999 pure gold. At times, the Royal Canadian Mint has even achieved .99999 pure gold content in its Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins. The obverse of all Canadian Maple Leafs, whether struck in silver, gold, platinum or palladium feature the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. On the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, three different incarnations of Her Majesty’s profile have appeared:
The reverse of all Canadian Maple Leaf coins features the image of the sugar maple leaf. Used on the reverse since the introduction of the gold version in 1979, this image has never changed. The only additions have been security measures, notably radial lines and a microscopic maple leaf privy.
Each Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin is available in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz, and now 1 Gram. The coins have face values according to their fractional weight, based upon the $50 (CAD) value of the 1 oz coin. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is so popular that the Royal Canadian Mint has launched numerous variants of the coin, including but not limited to:
The modern Mexican Mint is located in Mexico City, the national capital of Mexico. In 1535, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza arrived in what was then called New Spain to assume control of the territory of New Spain from the capital of Mexico City. The colony of New Spain not only included all of Mexico and most of Central America, but also Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, the Bay Islands, and the Philippine Island.
Originally, the Mexican Mint produced coinage that was used throughout the territories of New Spain, and its products were not only used in other regions of North and South America, but even served as the basis of future monetary programs such as the U.S. dollar, Japanese Yen, and Chinese Yuan. Since 1925, Banco de Mexico (the nation’s central bank) has controlled the minting of coins and printing of banknotes handled by the Mexican Mint.
In 1982, the Mexican Mint launched the Mexican Libertad coin as the nation’s official bullion coin. Available in both gold and silver, the Libertad evoked the same images of freedom and independence used on the original Libertad coins from the Mint. When the program started, both the gold and silver Mexican Libertad featured the exact same obverse and reverse images found on the original Centenario coin.
On the obverse, Winged Victory was now featured atop a pillar to more accurately depict the statue of the Angel of Independence that was erected in Mexico City during the centennial independence celebrations of 1921. In the background, the twin volcanic peaks of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl were given greater prominence. On the Centenario, these volcanic peaks were smaller and drowned out by the size of Winged Victory. A slimmer Winged Victory is still central in the design, but greater detail and prominence is given to the volcanoes.
The reverse side, the design set was updated to include historic versions of the coat of arms. On larger coins in the series, the modern coat of arms for Mexico is featured in the center of the coin. Surrounding it around the outside are 10 historic versions of the seal used since the nation gained independence in 1821.
The first modern Libertad to appear was the Mexican Gold Libertad in 1981. Struck in a brilliant uncirculated version, a ¼ oz, ½ oz, and 1 oz coin were struck that first year in a total mintage that fell just short of one million coins in total. Production of the Mexican Gold Libertad didn’t resume until 1991 when a 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz coin were added to the lineup. This production run lasted for four years, ending in 1994.
Mexican Gold Libertads returned in 2000, halted in 2001, and returned for good in 2002 in all five weights. The BU Mexican Gold Libertad is struck is strictly controlled mintages each year, with production rarely exceeding 10,000 coins in total.
A proof version of the Mexican Gold Libertad was introduced in ½ oz in 1989, halted, reintroduced in 2004 in ¼ oz, and has continued on an annual basis since 2005 with all five weights available. Mintage for the proof version is half that of the bullion coin and is also strictly controlled.
Originally founded as the London Mint in 886, the British Royal Mint is one of the oldest operating facilities in the world. Throughout its history, the Royal Mint has produced some of the most widely used coins in the world, due in large part to the size and scope of the former British Empire. Coins from the Royal Mint were once used from North America to Europe, Australia, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Today, the Royal Mint remains one of the foremost facilities in the world. The most popular product from the mint is the official bullion coin, the Britannia. On the reverse face of each coin is the image of the mythical Britannia, a goddess from Roman times who was believed to have watched over the nation. She is featured on each Britannia coin with a trident in one hand and a shield bearing the Union Jack flag of the United Kingdom, her eyes constantly fixed on the English Channel separating the British Isles from mainland Europe.
Featuring the same designs as the silver version, the official gold bullion coin of the United Kingdom was introduced in 1987 with a gold content of .917 fine gold. Since 2013, the coins have been struck as 24-karat pure gold coins with .9999 fine gold content. Like its silver counterpart, the Gold Britannia coins are celebrating a milestone in 2017 having reached their 30th anniversary of release. Highlights of the modern Gold Britannia include:
As the Gold Britannia is from the same program as the Silver Britannia, and was in fact the design basis for the latter, the gold coins in this collection have the same design concepts as the silver coins and have also only seen changes in the design of the obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II over time. Details include:
Known as the British Queen’s Beast program, these brilliant bullion coins are available in both gold and silver, with the program offering beautiful designs and an extensive variety that is sure to attract investors and collectors of all walks of life looking to buy gold and silver.
This exciting series of gold and silver coins from the Royal Mint marks the newest release of numismatic or bullion coins from the mint. The British Queens Beast Coin program is a planned 10-design series that features new designs for each of the animals featured in the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II. In terms of gold coins, there are 1 oz and ¼ oz .9999 pure gold coins available in three different designs to date:
Founded in 1194, the Austrian Mint is the official sovereign mint of the nation of Austria. It is said that the Austrian Mint was opened at first using 15 tonnes of silver paid to Duke Leopold V by England’s Richard the Lionheart as ransom for safe passage through Austria for his troops during their march home from the crusades in the Middle East. Originally responsible for producing Shillings, the mint now strikes Euros for use in the Austrian economy as part of the European Union.
Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins debuted in 1989 with a 1 oz coin and a ¼ oz coin available. Both coins had face values listed in Austrian Shillings, the official currency of the nation at that point in its history. Today, the coins have a face value in Euros as of 2002 when the nation joined the common market of the European Union and the gold coin series has expanded to include a 1/10 oz coin (1991), a ½ oz coin (1994), and most recently a 1/25 oz coin (2014).
On the obverse of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin is the image of the Great Pipe Organ from the Musikverein Concert Hall. The home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, this image is surrounded by engravings of the nation of issue, weight, metal content, purity, year of issue, and face value of the coin. All engravings are in German.
The reverse of the 2017 1 oz Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin includes a collection of musical instruments, featuring the cello, four violins, bassoon, harp, and Vienna horn. Engravings on this face include only the name of the orchestra, which is again featured in German like those engravings on the obverse.
When the 1 oz and ¼ oz coins were introduced in 1989, they enjoyed high mintage figures of 351,000 and 272,000 respectively. However, in nearly every year following the 1991 release of the coin, mintage figures largely followed a downward trend that saw the coins bottom out at 54,700 and 25,800 in 2001. Even the introduction of the 1/10 oz and ½ oz coins saw those two programs shrink from highs of 151,100 in 1995 for the former and 94,700 in 1994 for the latter.
By 2001, the two newer fractional-weight coins had also sunk to lows of 26,400 and 26,800 respectively for the 1/10 oz and ½ oz The onset of the Great Recession pushed all gold coins upward in demand. The 1 oz coin set a record with 835,700 struck in 2009, and the 1/10 coin also hit a record with 437,700. While the ½ oz and ¼ oz coins saw revived demand, they did not surpass their all-time highs from earlier in the program’s history.
The Ukrainian Archangel Michael Coin program from the National Bank of Ukraine is just five years into production, but already mintage for these coins and the variety of options are on the rise. The collection is gaining increased recognition as investors and numismatists alike hunt down gold and silver precious metal programs to bolster their wealth with safe-haven metals.
The Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael coins feature the same obverse and reverse designs each year. The image of Michael used on the coin’s obverse face was designed by Volodymyr Taran, Oleksandr Kharuk, and Serhii Kharuk, with engraving of the design features onto the coin completed by Roman Chaikovskyi and Sviatoslav Ivanenko.
Michael is depicted in various reliefs throughout human culture. However, there is one portrayal of the Archangel Michael that seems to be pervasive throughout humanity. The most popularly used depiction shows Michael in a full suit of Roman armor and wielding a flaming sword in his right hand. His figure is often surrounded by a pair of bird-like wings that emanate from his back and the rays of the sun expanding from the background behind his relief. For the Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael Coin, the image of Michael employs another common design feature of his image, that of Michael standing above a dragon with his sword at hand ready to slay the beast.
On the reverse of all Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael coins you’ll find the coat of arms of Ukraine in the center of the design field. It is surrounded by engravings that are all in the native Cyrillic language, with “National Bank of Ukraine” located above the design set and outside of the octagonal cartouche that frames the coat of arms.
On the shield of the coat of arms there is the emblem of the National Bank of Ukraine, a pair of griffins with the hryvnia symbol (Ukrainian monetary weight) between the beasts. The symbolism is meant to represent the beasts as guardians of the nation’s gold reserves. You’ll also find the face value, year of issue, metal content, weight, and purity on this face in Cyrillic, as well.
The coin series was launched that year with very limited issues of a 1 oz Ukrainian Silver Archangel Michael Coin, as well as a 1 oz Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael Coin and ¼ oz Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael Coin.
Mintage of these Ukrainian Gold Coins has never surpassed 10,000 coins in any one year for any given weight individually. Collectively, the gold coins have surpassed 20,000 coins in total in recent years, but individual coins are often priced at a point such that most investors cannot afford the coins and the mintage figures remain quite low as a result of low demand.
Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael coin production expanded immediately in 2012 with the addition of a ½ oz coin and 1/10 oz coin to the gold program. During each subsequent year of production, the 1/10 oz Ukrainian Gold Archangel Michael Coin has been the top seller individually among the gold coins, surpassed only once by the 1 oz coin in 2014. In recent years, the ¼ oz gold coin has gained traction as well as a popular option among investors.
Founded in 1158 in the capital of Germany’s Bavarian region, Munich, the Bavarian State Mint is the oldest operating company in the city, and one of the oldest operating mint facilities in Germany and the whole of Europe. Today, the Bavarian State Mint is a state-owned entity of the government in the Free State of Bavaria, and operates as one of the five German government mints. Its history is one that is rich with coinage controversies, both past and present.
The Somalian Elephant coins were introduced in 2004 in a silver bullion version. The coins were produced in extremely limited mintages for the first five production years, 2004 to 2008. In each of these five production years the Bavarian State Mint capped mintage for the coins at just 5,000. The coins were immediately popular among investors and collectors for their beautiful, intricate designs and impressive .999 purity levels.
It didn’t take long for the popularity of these coins to lead to the growth of the program. Answering the initial demand for the coins and their design features, the Bavarian State Mint opted to introduce a gold version of the coin as well. The Somalian Gold Elephant was introduced in bullion and proof, with various fractional-weight coins available. Additionally, the mint eventually introduced a silver coin with gilded 24-karat gold designs on the reverse side of the coins.
In 2017, the Gold Elephant, already boasting fractional weights in addition to the 1 oz, and 1 Kilo coins, saw the addition of two more fractional weight coins with a new ¼ oz and ½ oz coin. For the latest release in the series, the Bavarian State Mint depicts the same motif, that of an African elephant on the open plains of the African Serengeti. In this particular design, the single elephant is shown standing amongst the grasses of the savannah, with a small grass-roof hut in the background field that has a single palm tree growing out around it.
The South African Mint is the official sovereign mint of the Republic of South Africa. Headquartered in Centurion, in Gauteng province outside of Pretoria, it produces coinage for the South African Reserve Bank.
South African Gold Krugerrand coins debuted in 1967 as South Africa sought to market its gold to private investors around the world. For more than two decades, the Krugerrand was the only option for those looking to invest in or collect gold coins. The introduction of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf (1979), Chinese Gold Panda (1982), and American Gold Eagle (1986) cut into the Krugerrand’s dominance, as did the economic boycott of its apartheid system.
Nearly 22 million South African Gold Krugerrands were sold and shipped to buyers in the United States alone between 1967 and 1979 when Western nations enacted an embargo on South African goods in retaliation for its apartheid policies. Today it remains a popular product, and is available in bullion and proof, with fractional weights of ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz now struck, as well.
On the obverse face of all Krugerrands is the image of President Paul Kruger, the first president of the South African republic in 1905. Kruger was so beloved, his image not only inspired the design of the coin, but also its popular name. Kruger’s likeness is surrounded on both sides by “Suid-Afrika” and “South Africa,” the Afrikaans and English spellings of the national name.
The reverse features the Springbok antelope, a native species of South Africa and the national animal of the country. This side includes the year of issue engraved on either side of the Springbok antelope, the name “Krugerrand” above, and the phrase “Fyngoud 1 oz Fine Gold” below.
The nation of Australia has two major minting facilities that produce gold coins for investors and collectors. The state-owned Perth Mint has a greater international profile courtesy of its popular annual-release bullion coins, and the sought-after Lunar Series coins. However, the official sovereign mint known as the Royal Australian Mint also plays a role with a major gold bullion collection of its own.
The Royal Australian Mint was opened in the federal capital city of Canberra in 1965. Though it might seem simple to switch from Royal Mint systems to the Royal Australian Mint, it was a process that took decades to fulfill.
Following Australia’s federation in 1901, the Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth Mint locations continued to produce circulation currency and British sovereigns for the newly formed nation. The Sydney Mint was the first of these facilities to close. With much of the production occurring at the more technologically advanced Melbourne and Perth facilities, the Sydney Mint closed in 1926.
The original plan for the Royal Australian Mint called for the equipment and staff from the Melbourne Mint to move to a new facility in Canberra. Instead, the government moved forward with a plan to construct a new mint. Once the Royal Australian Mint was operational, the Melbourne Mint assisted in the production of the nation’s new decimalized currency, the Australian dollar (AUD). Once demand for the new coins had been satisfied, the Melbourne Mint was closed for good in 1967.
Starting in 2003, the Royal Australian Mint began to strike its popular kangaroo coins in a gold plated version as well. The depth and history of the gold coin is not as rich as the silver variant, but its rising popularity makes it a must-have coin for many collectors and investors. One of the major differences between the silver and gold coins is the issuance of different sizes.
The silver coins feature only a 1 oz version, while these 2016 Royal Australian Mint Gold Kangaroo Coins are available in a total of four weights: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. Like many of the worlds other popular bullion coins, the Royal Australian Mint Gold Coin features a popular image from the history of the mint. In 1911, the Commonwealth of Australia released a new copper penny for use in the nation as it transitioned from colony to federal republic. Copper pennies from the mint were struck with a common obverse theme of monarch portraits, featuring (in order) King George V, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II.
Starting in the middle of King George VI’s reign, the reverse side of the coin began to feature the image of a hopping kangaroo along with the star of the commonwealth. The coin remained in circulation in Australia through 1964 when the nation transitioned to decimalization in its currency. The use of this particular penny design ended that year, which was the same time the Royal Australian Mint formed.
On the reverse side of the Royal Australian Mint Gold Kangaroo coin you’ll find the original design elements from the copper penny. In the middle of the field is the image of the hopping kangaroo, which appears heading from right to left across the design set. The star of the commonwealth is also featured on this coin design. Additional elements include the use of leaves encircling the design that come from the Tasmanian Blue Gum. Engravings include the nation of issue, year of issue for the coin, and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content.
The obverse design features the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s image has appeared on Australian currency since she ascended to the throne in 1952, and this design from Ian Rank-Broadley represents the fourth-generation portrait used on commonwealth currency since 1952. Rank-Broadley designed this image in 1998.
Each 2016 Royal Australian Mint Gold Kangaroo coin contains .9999 pure gold content, with face values listed in Australian Dollars (AUD).
Australia’s Perth Mint has quickly established itself as one of the world’s finest precious metal refiners and coin producers. The mint was first founded in 1899, just two years before Australia’s federation as a commonwealth of independent states in 1901. The Perth Mint joined the Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint, both of which are now closed, in the Royal Mint system governed by the British Empire.
All three mints combined to refine gold and silver discovered on the continent dating back to the mid-19th century. The Perth Mint alone produced 106 million gold sovereign coins and 735,000 half-sovereign coins for use as currency across the British Empire between 1901 and 1936. Since 1970, the Perth Mint has been a state-owned entity of the local government in Western Australia.
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 Kookaburra Series is longest-running silver coin from the Perth Mint, which is also available each year in a gold bullion option as well. 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 Australian Gold 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.
The Australian Koala series of coins from the Perth Mint were first introduced in silver in 2007. The Australian Gold Koala debuted one year later in 2008, and remains in production on an annual basis. There is not as much variety available in the Gold Koala series as its silver counterpart, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a coin for everyone in the series. Perth Mint Gold Koalas are available in proof in a 2 oz, 1 oz high-relief, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, and 1/25 oz weight.
While the motif always focuses on the nocturnal marsupial in its natural habitat, the specific design characteristics change each year. In addition to the koala itself, its favorite source of food, the eucalyptus, is often featured in the design. In recent years, the design trend has skewed toward featuring just one koala. While the original coin in the series, the 2008 design, featured an adult and its young, many of the coins since then feature just one adult koala.
The 2015 Gold Australian Koala, for example, features a lone adult sitting in the crook of a tree. Its feet grip the base of the tree, while the claws on its hands hold on firmly to the branches for stability. The creature’s fur is featured in great detail, with its deep, black eyes gazing off into the distance. A random outcrop of the Australian Outback is visible behind the koala. Engravings of “Australian Koala” above and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content below accompany the design on the reverse side.
On the obverse side of the Perth Mint Gold Koala is the traditional image of Queen Elizabeth II. Featured in right-profile relief and designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, the Queen’s image is surrounded by engravings that include her name, “Elizabeth II,” the nation of issue, and the face value of the specific coin.
Regardless of the series that your Perth Mint Gold Lunar Coin comes from, there are a number of similarities that exist across the versions and series. First and foremost, all coins are struck using .9999 pure gold and carry status as legal tender coins in the nation of Australia. When it comes to the bullion version of these coins, the Perth Mint has always struck the Lunar Series I and Lunar Series II in the following weights:
On occasion, the Perth Mint has struck higher weight coins in 2 oz, 10 oz, and 1 Kilogram. Generally speaking though, this is reserved for special-edition coins and/or proof coins. Production of these higher weight coins does not take place regularly.
The face value of each of the coins is listed in Australian Dollars (AUD), and starts at $100 for the 1 oz coin. Each of the fractional-weight coins has a face value representative of its fractional value. As such, the values for the fractional weights are $50 (½ oz), $25 (¼ oz), $10 (1/10 oz), and $5 (1/20 oz).
The Perth Mint Gold Lunar coins in proof were restricted in production to a much greater degree than the bullion version. Beginning with the Lunar Series II, the mint expanded the program to include proof coins. The proof coins are only struck in 1 oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights. Mintage was typically limited on the proof coins in each year to 3,000 1 oz coins, 5,000 ¼ oz coins, and 5,000 1/10 oz coins. An additional 1,000 coins were struck in each weight for use in a 3-coin set released only in proof.
Finally, starting in 2012 with the Year of the Dragon, the Perth Mint introduced a gold proof coin in Lunar Series II with a colorized design set on the reverse side. Now the specific animal represented in a given year was colorized to match real-world expectations for that creatures color. These coins were not available in a 3-coin set like the standard proof coins, but did feature the same weights (1 oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz) and same mintage limitations.
Today, the Chinese Mint operates under the official name of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation. The company is owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, and overseen by the People’s Bank of China. Unlike in other nations, the Chinese Mint is not the only facility to produce coinage and other currency for the nation. The People’s Bank of China maintains its own printing and minting operations separate of the Chinese Mint.
The modern Chinese Mint system consists of the Shenyang Mint that opened in 1896, as well as the Shanghai Mint that opened in 1920. In 1985, the Chinese Mint grew to include its Nanjing Mint facility. There are other mints located in Shenzhen and Beijing as well, but it is impossible to determine where many of China’s modern commemorative coins are produced because the Chinese Mint does not use mint marks.
The first gold coin from the Chinese Mint was released in 1979 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the communist People’s Republic of China, but it was just three years later that the Chinese Panda was introduced. The coin series started in 1982 with a gold bullion coin, and quickly grew to include several other options.
Chinese Panda coins feature the same reverse image each year in both gold and silver. The Chinese Mint alters the specific design on the reverse each year, and has done so every year since the coins were introduced, with the exception of 2001 and 2002. As mentioned earlier, the coins always feature a panda in its natural habitat, but the specific designs change.
The obverse side of the coins has featured the same image since the coins were introduced in 1982. Beijing’s Temple of Heaven is featured on the obverse every year, along with the Chinese characters that bear the name of the complex. Literally translated as the Altar of Heaven, the building is actually part of a complex of religious structures that imperial leaders used to visit to pray for a good harvest across the nation.
From their introduction through 2015, the coins were struck with the industry standard Troy ounces used to measure the gold and silver content of the coins. In an effort to further establish a unique identity for its bullion coins, and bring them in line with the nation’s use of the Metric system, the Chinese Mint will now strike the Panda Coins with metal content and weight measurements in Grams.
The diversity of the silver and gold coins remains largely untouched by this transition in 2016, with silver and gold coins now available in the following weights:
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