Mar 082012

This post is written in response to requests asking us to explain what The Perth Mint means by ‘specimen’.

We use three classifications to describe our precious metal coins – proof, bullion or specimen.

Proof Coins

The very highest quality coins produced by The Perth Mint feature a proof finish. The coin table (background) is highly-polished and mirror-like.

Traditionally, design elements are delicately frosted. However, as an alternative, we colour some or all design elements on many of our proof quality releases.

Because of the time and skill involved in creating proof quality coins, this finish is reserved for our most limited, highly-prized numismatic (collectable) issues.

Bullion Coins

Bullion coins are made for the purpose of investing in precious metals. They are mass produced to keep the price as close to ‘spot’ as possible. As a result, the finish on many bullion coins issued worldwide is uniform with no distinctively polished or frosted areas.

The Perth Mint takes a different approach. Our bullion coins feature a frosted table and a shiny design (the opposite way round to proof issues). The quality of each strike means that our bullion coins are sometimes referred to as “reverse proofs”. Indeed, we would claim they have the best quality bullion finish in the world.

(Visit The Perth Mint Bullion website.)

Specimen Coins

A Perth Mint specimen coin is a limited collectable release.

Akin to a bullion coin in so far as it has a frosted table, it also features one or more special numismatic treatments – including a coloured design, gilded design or a gemstone insert.

Specimen is also the classification we use for standard bullion coins released in limited presentation packaging for collectors.


  11 Responses to “Proof, Bullion and Specimen – What’s the Difference?”

  1. Is there a release date or price that can be announced for the 5 ounce proof lunar dragon?

  2. Could you explain the “Mint-to-Order only” process.

    For example, the 2011 – 1oz silver Specimen, carded Koala is still available; it’s a “Mint-to-Order only” coin but I also notice that the 2012 – 1oz silver Koala is available.

    It seems that about 40 of the 2011 Koala coins remain, so can we conclude the 2011 stock is near exhaustion?

    I always thought that mint to order meant exactly that; I place an order and the coin or coins are minted. If I wanted a 2012 – 1kg Lunar Bullion Dragon it is a mint to order coin.

    Any info would be appreciated especially regarding the 2011 carded Koalas.

    Kind regards

    Billy Black Smith

    • Sorry, that should read 10kg silver Dragon, not 1kg.


    • Hi BBS

      The 2011 1oz Koala on card was left on the website in error and has been removed from sale.

      Mint-to-Order means that there is no limit to the number of coins offered within a particular timeframe. At the end of the period, we announce total sales as the ‘declared’ mintage.

      After an initial manufacturing run, the Koala coin and packaging is put together in small batches. Anything remaining after the cut-off date is melted.



  3. Thanks for clarifying the Mint To Order category Blog Team.

    Can we now asume that as of today the 2011 carded Koala is sold-out?

    If orders were placed for the 2011 Koala before they were removed from the web-site will the order or orders be honoured by Perth? From last check there was about 40 coins available.

    And…do I get a free trip to Perth for being a good Perth Mint web-surfer? lol 🙂 Maybe a free Perth Mint Cap 🙂

    Kind regards

    Billy Black Smith

  4. Blog Team

    Any idea when the 2011 carded Koala specimen coin mintage will be known?
    If I click on the sold-out coins there are, final mintage details.

    The 1oz silver Koala “specimen” coins for previous mintages is as follows:
    Ref: Collector site.

    2011 – Unknown

    2010 – 2,752

    2009 – 6,292

    2008 – 4,601

    2007 – 3,060



    • Hi Billy

      I will post an announcement as soon as I receive the information – but please note it may take a while yet to complete the process.


      Stephen Ward

  5. […] advised by the Perth Mint blog team on their blog: (…) the only difference between the ANDA show coin and the bullion coin is the packing/certificate. […]


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