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 the Perth Mint, Australia’s oldest operating mint facility. You’ll find each one available for purchase today online from JM Bullion.
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. In addition to the ground-breaking collection of Lunar Series designs in gold, you’ll find the popular annual-release coins of the Australian Gold Kangaroo, Australian Gold Kookaburra, and Australian Gold Koala available for purchase as well.
During British colonial rule of Australia, vast resources of gold and silver were discovered on the continent, particularly in the Outback and western stretches of the continent. In order to profit from this discovery and export the precious metals around the globe, the Royal Mint of London established a mint system in the country to process, refine, and distribute the gold and silver throughout the empire.
The Sydney Mint was the first facility in the system to open, in 1855, and the first to close in 1926. The Melbourne Mint was the second to open, in 1872, and closed in 1967. The Perth Mint was the third and final Royal Mint facility to open in Australia, commencing operations in 1899. Today it enjoys status as the oldest operating facility in Australia and the South Pacific.
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.
Among its many feats, as of 2000, the Perth Mint has refined and produced 3.25% of mankind’s total gold production. As of 1970, the facility is a state-owned entity of the government in Western Australia. While it is not affiliated with the Royal Australian Mint, the federal government’s official facility, its coins are considered legal tender under the Currency Act of 1965.
The Perth Mint first introduced a koala coin in 2007 with the release of a Silver Koala coin. The gold and silver program share a few common traits. First and foremost, the design motif always focuses on the koala and its primary dietary source, the eucalyptus leaf. However, the specific design used each year changes to add value to and interest in the coin program. Although the design sets change each year, you can always expect to see either a single koala or an adult and youth, along with eucalyptus.
Perth Mint Gold Koala coins were introduced a year later in 2008, and the gold coins are only struck in proof versions, unlike the silver program which features both a bullion and proof version. The Gold Koala is also available in fewer weights. While the Silver Koala is struck in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, and larger 10 oz and 1 Kilo coins, the Gold Koala is only produced in 2 oz, 1 oz high-relief proof, 1/10 oz, and 1/25 oz by the Perth Mint.
As alluded to above, the Perth Mint alters the design elements featured on the reverse of its Gold Koala coins with each passing year. The design is shared with that of the silver versions of the coin and always focus on depicting the koala in its native environment. For example, the 2016 Gold Koalas depicted an adult koala as it walked on all fours along the branch of a eucalyptus tree. Steadily moving along, the koala puts one foot in front of the other in a linear path as it walks along. Engravings on this side always include the name of the coin series, the “P” mint mark, and the coin’s date mark, weight, purity, and metal content.
Engravings on the reverse side of the coin always feature the phrase “Australian Koala” above the design field, with the year of minting, weight, purity, and metal content engraved below. On the obverse side of all coins in the program, regardless of year of minting, is the image of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.
The face value of Perth Mint Gold Koala coins is based upon the weight of the individual coin in question. All coins are struck using .9999 pure gold, and the face value for each weight is as follows:
Each of the coins has a face value that is representative of the fractional weight of the coin itself, with only the 1/10 oz coin lacking a direct correlation to the weight.
Like many of the other popular coin programs from the Perth Mint, the Gold Koala coins are subject to a maximum mintage policy. This means that the Perth Mint establishes a maximum mintage for each coin program and coin within a series, and once that maximum is met no more coins will be produced in that given year.
For example, in 2015 the Perth Mint set the mintage levels for the 1/10 oz Australian Gold Koala Proof coin at just 1,500 coins. The previous year, 2014 ¼ oz Australian Gold Koala Proof coins were capped at just 1,000 coins.
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.
As with other Perth Mint animal-themed coins, the reverse side of these coins changes on a yearly basis. The reverse always features the same motif, that of the kangaroo in the Outback, but the specific features are added to keep collectors on their toes with each new release of the Australian Gold Kangaroo.
The reverse of the 2017 Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin, for example, includes the image of a kangaroo as it hops along the Outback. Kangaroos have a unique motion, but their movement is flawed in some ways. For example, kangaroos are not capable of moving backward with any degree of ease.
On the obverse of each coin you’ll find the image of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s effigy is featured on the obverse of Australian coinage each year, with a right-profile design preferred in those portraits. The design used on these coins comes from Ian Rank-Broadley, and was created in 1998.
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.
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.
All Perth Mint Gold coins from JM Bullion can be purchased with a variety of payment methods. We proudly accept most major credit/debit cards, paper checks, PayPal fund transfers, and bank wire transfers. There is a different processing period for each, with PayPal and bank wire payments offering immediate processing, while paper checks can take as long as six business days. Those paying via bank wire or paper check enjoy a 4% discount on the purchase price of their Perth Mint Gold coins.
JM Bullion also offers free standard shipping and insurance on your purchase of over $99. If you’d like expedited shipping, it is available for an extra fee. All packages are shipped in discreet boxes through the US Postal Service or UPS. If your package is lost or damaged during shipping, we’ll work to provide you with replacement products (if possible) or a refund of your purchase price.
For those with questions about Perth Mint Gold coins, payment methods, or our shipping and handling policies, we encourage you to reach out to a JM Bullion associate directly. You can reach us on the phone at 800-276-6508, connect with us online using our live web chat feature, or submit your questions to us in an email. Don’t forget to visit our website to find the current price of gold!