The nation of Australia has a unique minting history that differs from many of the other nations of the world. While most sovereign mints today have existed for decades, if not centuries, prior to their private counterparts, the minting history of Australian paints a completely different portrait. Founded in 1965, the Royal Australian Mint today serves as the official sovereign facility of the nation’s federal government.
Australia was first colonized by the British Empire beginning in the late 18th century. This gave the British a foothold on the continent, and eventually led to the development of economic, social, and government structures based upon the British monarch and its system of governance. The Royal Mint in London, opened in 886, oversaw the production of all colonial coinage during its conquest of the world.
When it came to Australia, the Royal Mint opened three different branches to refine and produce currency for the colony of Australia. In 1854, the Royal Mint opened the first of its three facilities in Australia at the Sydney Mint inside a former hospital building that had originally been constructed in 1811. This was followed by the opening of the Melbourne Mint in 1872 and the Perth Mint in 1898.
Australia’s most toward federation began in 1901, a process that would grant the nation independence from Britain, but only after several decades of work. The production of currency throughout this period was left in the charge of the Royal Mint facilities, but that would soon change.
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. Between 1901 and the opening of the Royal Australian Mint, the Melbourne Mint struck only gold sovereign coins. 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.
Today, the Perth Mint continues to operate as a state-owned facility in Western Australia. As the sovereign mint of the nation, the Royal Australian Mint was the first on the continent not associated with the Royal Mint in London. It has the capacity to strike a total of two million coins per day, and has so far struck upwards of 14 billion coins. It is the only mint in the country authorized to produce the nation’s legal tender coins and banknotes, though the Currency Act of 1965 does grant legal-tenders status to Perth Mint bullion and proof coins.
In addition to striking coins for the Australian government, the Royal Australian Mint produces currency for nations throughout Asia and the South Pacific, including but not limited to New Zealand (1969 only), Tonga, Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Malaysia.
The Royal Australian Mint produces a variety of investment-grade bullion coins, as well as commemorative proofs for collectors. The most famous of its coins at the moment is the Royal Australian Mint Gold Kangaroo, a series of gold bullion coins featuring the nation’s most iconic creature. The coins are available in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights.
If you have any questions about the 2016 Royal Australian Gold Kangaroo coins or other Royal Australian Mint products, please don’t hesitate to ask. JM Bullion associates are available on the phone at 800-276-6508, online using our live web chat, or via our email address.