Each year the coins in the Lunar Series II program feature new designs that honor the animal represented on the Chinese Lunar Calendar for that year. The 12-year cycle of the Zodiac is followed closely by the Perth Mint, with each new coin release reflecting the animal in question. For 2018, the Year of the Dogdesign has been released with variations between silver and gold.
The Perth Mint’s program is far and away the most popular lunar-themed collection in the world, and it also boasts the longest history. Lunar coins originated from the Perth Mint in 1996 when it released the original Lunar Series I program. Now, Lunar Series II carries on that tradition with a 12-year collection of new designs, each one impressive in its own right and entirely unique from the first series that ran from 1996-2007.
When it comes to the 2017 Australian Gold Rooster coin, they are again available from JM Bullion as Brilliant Uncirculated specimens with a metal content of .9999 pure gold. The available weights for the gold version of the bullion coin are more diverse, and include a variety of fractional-weight coins to choose from:
As is the case every year, the Perth Mint has its Lunar Series II coins available in silver as well. The 2018 Australian Silver Dog coins are available from JM Bullion in Brilliant Uncirculated condition, and include the following weights:
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.