If you have been collecting proof coins and bullion for any length of time then there is a good chance you have come across the Perth Mint. There is an equally good chance that you have also liked what you have seen, because the Perth Mint are one of the most exciting mints in the world right now.
Who are the Perth Mint?
Although they carry the name of just one city in Australia, the Perth Mint is actually the official mint of Australia. It used to be a branch of the Royal Mint, back when Australia was part of the British Empire, but throughout the 20th century and until now, it has operated independently.
The Perth Mint are based in Perth, Western Australia, and as well as their main building, which has stood since their founding, they also own a huge manufacturing plant that is located adjacent to it and allows them to produce vast quantities of bullion to keep up with growing demand,
The Perth Mint is responsible for some of the most sought-after bullion in the modern world. Their bullion coins in particular are adored by collectors, as we shall discuss in greater detail below.
History of the Perth Mint
The Perth Mint was founded in 1899 by an Australian explorer and cabinet minister named Sir John Forrest. Located in the city of Perth, Western Australia, the main building had been in development for three years when it was completed in June of 1899.
This was the early days of modern Australia, with a rapidly expanding population and one that was still overseen by the British. In the four decades prior to the founding of the Perth Mint, the population of Australia had expanded nearly tenfold, most of which had flocked to the country in search of gold. Gold was the main currency at this time as there was very little actual money around, but there was no shortage of this precious metal. In the early days the gold miners would give their gold to the Perth Mint, who would then mint it into coins for them.
Gold was king for the Perth Mint in the early days and in their first thirty years, as the country was released from the control of the British and allowed to grow of its own accord, they produced over 100 million gold sovereigns that were to be used as currency in Australia, along with many other coins. They stopped minting these sovereigns in the early 1930s, at which point they turned to gold bullion bars.
The British still “owned” this mint until the 1970s, but it was doing its own thing long before then and getting a name for itself independently of the Royal Mint. In fact, in 1957 it produced a gold bar so fine that the Royal Mint purchased one to use as a benchmark for their own production of gold bullion.
The Perth Mint branched out into silver and other metals in 1987, and their main focus by then was on the investment and collecting markets. These days they produce a wide range of gold and silver coins and bars, and their quality is sought-after across the globe.
Perth Mint Popular Coins
The Australian Lunar coin series is perhaps the most popular, available in gold and silver. These coins are minted from fine gold and fine silver, with designs that follow the Chinese Lunar calendar and are changed every year. These coins have included Year of the Goat and Year of the Snake, and as well as the standard gold and silver coins, they also produce coloured coins in both metals. These carry a much higher premium than the standard coins, but that premium also increases at a much faster rate year on year. The beauty of these coins is that they are often available for close to spot when they are released, but if you hold onto them for a year or two, waiting for more editions to be released and for yours to become discontinued, then their value increases drastically.
There are many other coins available that don’t carry such a high premium and are not as sought-after, but are still valuable to collectors. These include the Australian Koala and the Australian Kookaburra. Available in gold and silver and common in 1 ounce editions, these coins are also available as 2 ounce, 5 ounce, 10 ounce and even 1 kilogram silver editions, with the rarity increasing with the weight.
Australian Outback silver coins, Australian Bus Babies II silver coins, Australian Age of Dinosaurs silver coins, Birds of Australia silver coins, Doctor Who collectable coins, Discover Australia gold coins, The Land Down Under gold coins and more are also available. There are also coins struck in other base metals, such as the Celebrate Australia — World Heritage Sites 2012 series, which are struck in aluminium and bronze.
Perth Mint Bullion Bars
The Perth Mint also produce bullion bars, although these tend not to have as high of a premium as their coins. Still, if you are looking for high quality precious metals from a reliable mint, then you can’t go very wrong. They sell a range of gold bars, most of which come in tightly sealed plastic packaging that has been branded with the logo of the Perth Mint and also includes some text, and they also sell a limited number of silver bars.
If you have a bar from the Perth Mint and want to know if it is legit (assuming you didn’t buy it directly from the Perth Mint or a licensed trader) then it should carry a Perth Mint stamp on the bar itself. This is a circle, with “The Perth Mint Australia” written around the edges. The gold bars minted by the Perth Mint also have a kangaroo motif across the back, and a stamp showing the purity and weight of the metal on the front. As mentioned above, these bars will also be packed in a specific case, which should be tightly sealed, as most investors prefer never to open them.
If you have a large silver bullion bar then the info above does not apply, but the bar will still come with a Perth Mint brand and it should also have a serial number on it that you can run past the Perth Mint themselves. They will tell you whether that number is legit and whether you have what you think you have.