The kookaburra series is among the most popular collectible silver coin series in the world for its stylistic flair and considerable rarity. Buying these coins is a smart decision, but choosing the right retailer can make all the difference. Discover why each minting attracts increasing attention from both private coin collectors and private citizens looking to balance their investment portfolios.
Perth Mint introduced the vaunted Silver Kookaburra Coins in 1990. The series debuted at the same time that Perth transitioned the Australian Gold Nugget bullion series to become the Australian Gold Kangaroo. The Silver Kookaburra was the first major coin, alongside the Gold Kangaroo, to prominently feature a native animal species. The design of the Kookaburra is new each year.
In 1990, the series started with only a 1 oz silver coin available. This continued in 1991 before additions were made in 1992 in the form of 1 Kilo, 10 oz, and 2 oz silver coins. These four weights continued until 2010, when the 2 oz silver coin was dropped from the series.
Kookaburras always feature the image of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom on their obverse side. The native Australian bird from which coin derives its name — the kookaburra — sits in high relief on its reverse. Each minting year depicts the bird differently, including varying poses on gum leaf tree branches, new designs, and sometimes even colors.
For much of the program’s history, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was featured on the obverse of the coins. The Perth Mint used only a handful of artists to design these images, including Raphael Macklouf (1990 to 1998), John Bergdahl (1992), and Ian Rank-Broadley (1999 to present). A new bust of His Majesty King Charles III is anticipated to debut on 2024-dated coins in the series.
A high-quality finish on every coin, coupled with intricate frosting, gives kookaburras a glossy appearance. Other design characteristics common to each minting include:
Limited production of the one-ounce coins, coupled with even smaller special coins during certain minting years, make kookaburras highly collectible. Because the coin is legal Australian tender, only a relative few coins are available for purchase outside the country. The Perth Mint released just 10,000 of the one ounce 2014 mintage to international buyers. The 2012 Australian Outback Kookaburra, in contrast, saw a minting of only 5,000 coins.
The Australian Silver Kookaburra Coin may be the longest-running silver bullion coin from the Perth Mint, but it is also one of the few coins to have dealt with mintage maximums on its primary 1 oz silver coin throughout its history. From 1990 when the 1 oz coin debuted until 2010, the annual mintage cap was 300,000 coins. The first two issues in 1990 and 1991 sold out that entire allotment. The collection would not see another sellout in a given year until 2008 as the Great Recession began to take hold.
From 2008 to 2010, the mint held firm at just 300,000 coins annually and experienced a sellout of that figure each year. In 2011, the mint bumped the mintage maximum up to 500,000 silver coins each year and continued to experience a sellout amidst continued demand for silver through 2016. Though the mintage maximum remains set at 500,000 annually, the 1 oz silver coin has not experienced another sellout.
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