Starting in 1996, the Perth Mint of Western Australia has issued lunar-themed designs in repeating collections of 12-coin releases. The first series was available from 1996 to 2008 and was known as Lunar Series I. The only series to feature a double release, with a 1996 Year of the Mouse coin and a 2008 Year of the Mouse coin, the Lunar Series I collection transitioned seamlessly to Lunar Series II starting in 2008, with the second collection offering its own Year of the Mouse design to kick off a second 12-coin collection. Below, you can learn more about the Lunar Series II collection.
The release of Lunar Series II coins was unique as the series debuted in 1996 with gold bullion coins only and did not offer a silver bullion coin until 1999. The series nonetheless ended in 2007/2008. The Lunar Series I collection technically featured two different Year of the Mouse designs, with a 1996 gold coin and a 2008 silver coin wrapping up the Lunar Series I collection.
In 2008, the Lunar Series II collection started with its own Year of the Mouse design. The Lunar Series II coins were the first to offer .9999 pure silver coins. From 2008 to 2016, the releases featured .999 silver. Following the 2016 debut of the Australian Silver Kangaroo with .9999 pure silver, the Perth Mint began enhancing the purity level of all of its coin programs. This hit the Lunar Series II collection in 2017 with all coins in the series from 2017 onward boasting .9999 pure silver.
All silver coins from the Lunar Series are made from .999 pure silver. Coins from the Lunar Series II are available in a range of sizes, as well. They are available in half an ounce, one ounce, two ounce, five ounce, ten ounce, and one kilo in most cases. The Perth Mint only offers certain sizes depending on the design and year.
Designs for the Perth Mint’s Lunar Silver Coins change each year corresponding with that year’s Chinese Zodiac animal. Being that the Chinese Zodiac calendar is 12 years long, there are 12 coin designs in each Lunar coin series. When series II is finished, 12 total animal themes will be available with a total of 24 different designs.
The obverse of each coin in the series features an image of Queen Elizabeth II as depicted in Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait design. This side is also stamped with the mint year. The reverse of each coin shows a beautiful design of each Zodiac animal, along with the animal, the year, and the Perth Mint mark. Each reverse design also depicts the Chinese character for the corresponding animal, as well. Silver coins are also available in colored and gilded designs, with the Zodiac animal specially treated for an even more unique design.
Different designers have created the images shown on the reverse of the coins. For the 2015 Year of the Goat, artist Natasha Muhl, who has designed many coins for the Perth Mint, designed the detailed image of a family of grazing goats. Another artist who has done many Perth Mint coin designs, Tom Vaughan, designed the 2014 Year of the Horse coin reverse, and the 2013 snake design was created by Australian designer Ing Ing Jong.
Generally speaking, the Perth Mint issued the Lunar Series II coins with unlimited mintages for its 1/2 oz silver coin, as well as the 2 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz, and 1 Kilo silver coins. Though this has varied in some years, it was generally the case for most releases in the series. The rarely-issued 10 Kilo silver coin was often limited to just 100 coins in the years it was made available. The 1 oz silver coin was the most common to feature a mintage cap, with later releases in the collection often capped at 300,000 coins per design. When the Perth Mint announces an unlimited mintage for coins in the Lunar Series II program, it means only that the mint plans to strike the design in those given weights until the next year’s design is ready for production and release.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. JM Bullion customer service is available to field your questions on the phone at 800-276-6508, online using our live chat, and via our email address. Our Payment Methods FAQ can guide you to quick answers regarding acceptable payment methods and any applicable purchasing minimums and maximums.