The Royal Australian Mint (RAM) is renowned for creating Australia's circulation coins and silver coins prized by collectors and investors from around the world. The mint was founded in 1965 to create Australia's circulation coins. These coins were originally struck at the Sydney Mint, Melbourne Mint, and Perth Mint, which were all branches of London's Royal Mint.
The RAM opened roughly one year before Australia's conversion to decimal currency in readiness for the change. It operated alongside the Melbourne Mint to create the new decimal coins. When the initial demand was met, the Melbourne Mint closed its doors.
The mint also produces a selection of bullion series products and commemorative coins for local and international collectors and investors. Renovations conducted between 1984 and 1986 helped meet the demand for these special coins.
All silver collector coins from the Royal Australian Mint are produced in limited quantities and sold in protective display boxes. Each one comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity, which guarantees that it's struck from 99.9% fine silver. In addition to standard bullion, the Royal Australian Mint offers proof-quality coins, which are minted to the highest-quality finish with specially polished dies.
The Royal Australian Mint acknowledges the culture of the many Australians of Chinese heritage with its Lunar series coins. The mint annually releases a range of coins featuring the animal representing the current year according to the Sheng Xiao, or Chinese zodiac. The 2015 designs feature goats to celebrate the Year of the Goat. This follows 2014 designs for the Year of the Horse and 2013 designs for the Year of the Snake.
The Lunar series coins are available in 0.5 ounce, one ounce, two ounce, five ounce, ten ounce, one kilogram, and ten kilogram varieties, in standard bullion and silver proof finishes. Round and tetradecagon Lunar coins are available. Production of each year's Lunar series coin ceases when the mintage is fully sold or the year comes to a close, whichever occurs first.
Since 2013, the Royal Australian Mint has released an annual Road Sign coin. Each coin in the series features an artist's depiction of popular Australian road signs. The first contains the image of the kangaroo sign, which warns motorists that these wild animals may be ahead. The 2014 koala design, released the following year, continues the theme with a rendering of the sign warning drivers that the cuddly marsupial may be in the area. The Road Sign coins feature distinctive frosted elements.
There are set to be five coins released in the series. The Road Sign coins are available in one ounce, five ounce, and one kilogram sizes.
The Southern Sky series is a three-coin collection celebrating the most distinctive constellations seen in the Australian sky. The fine silver coins have an unusual domed design and colored printing. Each coin features the image and coordinates of a beloved constellation of stars.
The first, the Crux coin, was presented with an Australian Engineering Excellence Award in 2013 and the International 2014 Coin of the Year Award. The Pavo coin was also acclaimed, and named the most beautiful coin at the 2014 Mint Directors Conference. The final coin, the Orion, was launched with great fanfare by former NASA astronaut Richard Hieb in August 2014.
The Royal Australian Mint's Kangaroo series is one of its most enduring, with the first introduced in 1993. Unlike most legal tender bullion coins, the design of the kangaroo coins changes every year. Previous editions have seen the iconic marsupial jumping, grazing, and socializing with others in a mob, and enjoying some solitude. No matter what its design, each unit is a one troy ounce silver bullion coin.
Each new kangaroo coin is generally released in proof and frosted uncirculated formats. Since 2003, some kangaroo coins have also featured selective gold plating.
The Royal Australian Mint is located in Deakin, a suburb of Australia's capital city Canberra. It holds an esteemed place in Australia as its first independent mint and the creator of all new legal tender coins in Australian circulation. Additionally, it produces military and civilian medals, including the Order of Australia medals and the medals for the 2000 Summer Olympics hosted in Sydney. The Royal Australian Mint also creates collector coins, commercial tokens, and currency for several Asian and South Pacific countries.
Extensive renovations in the 1980s helped the mint meet demand for its popular collector coins and improve its visitor facilities. Further renovations in the 2000s saw industrial robots becoming a part of the mint's high-tech manufacturing process. In 2014, the Australian government announced plans to privatize the Royal Australian Mint.
While the Royal Australian Mint is a relatively young mint, it was the first in the world to achieve accreditation to International Quality Standards ISO 9001. The mint's commitment to quality makes its silver coins popular among investors around the world.
Royal Australian Mint silver coins are produced in limited quantities ranging from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands. The number of units produced, and how recently that they were released, affects their availability. As a rule, the rarest Royal Australian Mint silver coins are those produced in very small quantities, especially when released many years ago.