Nov 302012

This medal from The Perth Mint’s historic collection demanded further research – what possibly prompted the old Sydney Mint to strike such a dramatic portrayal of a Viking longship?

The inscription N.S.W ROWING ASSOCIATION SYDNEY ESTBD 1878 provided the obvious starting point for an investigation. What emerged was a fascinating story about the rise of rowing as an amateur sport in Australia – one of the most successful nations at modern Olympic and World regattas.

The first intercolonial rowing events in Australia took place in Hobart during the 1830s between whale boat crews. The development of four-oared gigs soon provided competitive oarsmen with a more streamlined craft in which to test their prowess.

But rowing’s blue riband event is ‘eights’. In The Victorian Oarsman, John Lang reported that the longer boat emerged on the intercolonial rowing scene during the 1870s.

“In October, 1877, the year in which eight-oared boats may be said to have first come into general use in many of the rowing centres in Australia, a challenge was sent by the Victorian Rowing Association to the Sydney and Mercantile [now Mosman] Clubs in New South Wales. This was taken up with spirit by the-last-named club, and the first eight-oared race took place on the 6th March, 1878.”

The intercolonial eight-oared race 1878. (Image courtesy State Library of Victoria)

The crews raced over four-miles on the ‘old Lower Yarra course’ in what is now considered to be the first Australian Championship. The Victorian oarsmen triumphed at the end of an exciting race.

In response, the New South Wales Rowing Association was formed in November 1878. When the second intercolonial race for eights took place over 3 miles 330 yards on the Parramatta at Ryde in May 1879, the home crew was better prepared.

According to a contemporary press report: “The Intercolonial Eight-oar Race was rowed on Saturday afternoon at the appointed time, and proved an easy victory for the New South Wales crew.”

In the course of our research we discovered this image of a stunning silver version of our medal. Its inscription demonstrates that these medals were presented to members of winning crews during this era.


J. BOOTH. – 2

(Image courtesy Noble Numismatics)

Fitted with oars along almost its entire length, the Viking longship is characterized as a graceful, long, narrow, light, wooden boat with a shallow draft hull designed for speed. What better inspiration could the designer of a medal for Australia’s elite rowers have asked for?


Nov 292012

These two coloured coins are teeming with imagery symbolising Chinese good fortune – a treasure chest full of golden coins to represent ‘wealth’; an abacus, a calligraphy pen, an hour glass, an ancient map and a pyramid to signify ‘wisdom’.

A limited release made from pure silver, it’s a double delight for anyone born in the Year of the Snake – 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013.

Lunar Good Fortune 2013 Year of the Snake 1oz Silver Proof Two Coin-Set


Nov 222012

I am pleased to announce we’ve started the process of declaring the mintage figures for numismatic coins issued since 1986.

As of today, production is officially closed-off for all 1986 to 2002-dated numismatic coins that have not sold their maximum mintage.

The declared mintage information will shortly be confirmed in the relevant tables of numismatic mintages on our collectables website.

This action provides 100% certainty that no more of these coins will be released by the Mint, thereby preserving their current rarity forever.

Designed for collectors, Perth Mint numismatic coins feature proof and specimen quality finishes (see Mintage Policy – Glossary of Terms for more information).

They come in presentation packaging accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, unlike our bullion quality coins which are mass produced for investors seeking exposure to the price of gold and silver.

Looking ahead, we will declare mintages for 2003 to 2011-dated numismatic coins that are not sold out following our annual review of year-dates in early 2013.

Shortly thereafter, these mintage declarations will be formally announced and confirmed in the relevant tables of numismatic mintages.


Nov 202012

The new Perth Mint Mintage Policy has been finalised.

It addresses issues and questions raised on our blogs and in other coin forums about some Perth Mint practices.

If you are one of those who contributed, thanks for your input. The opportunity to review our practices and provide clarity to collectors and investors is timely.

Here are the key points that will be of most interest:

Maximum Mintage

Every limited issue coin will have its Maximum Mintage clearly stated upfront. A Maximum Mintage is the total number of pieces we will strike for release – without exception.

The Maximum Mintage will be announced in advertising and promotional materials, on our web platforms, and (for collectable issues) in accompanying Certificates of Authenticity.

Packaging Variation Issue Limit

We will continue to release some coins in packaging variations – ie individually, in a set, or as part of a collection. As stressed above, however, Maximum Mintages will not be exceeded.

In such a scenario, we will apply an Issue Limit to each packaging variation. Both the Issue Limit and the Maximum Mintage of the coin or coins concerned will be clearly stated in promotional materials and the Certificate.

Bullion Manufacturing

Some commenters have discussed what they refer to as “re-strikes”, a case in point being the 1992 Australian Kookaburra 1oz silver bullion coin which has become something of a cause célèbre.

It is not. It simply demonstrates the Mint’s prerogative to mint bullion and numismatic coins to their Maximum Mintage over time while interest remains. (The exception being the Australian Lunar I Series, which was permanently cut-off in 2007 and its mintage Declared.)

On a related point, we cannot change the year-date on any coin without submitting it as a design change to Australian Federal Treasury. If we were to do so, it would be deemed a new and separate coin issue.

Specimen Coins

Although we thought it was based on sound reasons, the previous decision to describe packaged bullion coins as specimen quality was inappropriate.

This practice is amended and our definition of specimen quality now relates exclusively to bullion-like strikes featuring one or more numismatic treatments.

Policy Implementation

The new Mintage Policy is being implemented immediately. As I said in my previous post, however, because we work in advance there are some products now awaiting release that may not fully adhere to its principles.

As usual, we’d value your feedback. Please leave comments or questions and I’ll be delighted to respond should further explanations be required.


Nov 162012

A reader comment inspired this post about the Blog Team’s favourite Perth Mint coins.

It’s a great question because on a daily basis we’re very focused on developing and selling new coins. The opportunity to consider the hundreds we’ve issued over the past decade or so was a really enjoyable process.

Other members of the marketing department asked to contribute. Our CEO, Ed Harbuz, was also pleased to get involved. Altogether, 12 long-serving members of staff each nominated two coins they found especially memorable for thematic, aesthetic or personal reasons.

For your enjoyment, here is the result. The Evolution of Time scored two nominations. But on three votes, our “winner” is… (scroll down):

Australian Kookaburra 2002 Evolution of Time Silver Proof Coin

Australian Lunar I 2000 Year of the Dragon Silver Bullion Coin

Australia 2000
Silver Millennium Coin

HM Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee of Accession 2002 Silver Coin

15th Asian Games Doha 2006 Kilo Gold Coin

Discover Australia 2008 Broome Silver Proof Coin

Centenary of Federation 2001 Bi-Metal Coin

The First Fleet 2008
Silver Proof Coin

Mawson Station 2004 Silver Proof Coin

Australian Kookaburra 2003 Evolution of the Alphabet Silver Proof Coin

90th Anniversary of the End of World War I 2008 Gold Proof Coin

Australian Kookaburra 2008 Silver Bullion Coin

Sydney 2000 Olympics Silver Kilo Masterpiece

Discover Australia 2006 Perth Silver Proof Coin

Australian Lunar II 2010 Year of the Tiger Silver Proof Coin

Sydney Cove Medallion 2010 Silver Proof Coin

Discover Australia 2006 Uluru Silver Proof Coin

HM Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee 2012 Gold Proof Coin

Australian Platypus Annual Platinum Bullion Coin

Sydney 2000 Olympics Kangaroo & Grasstrees Silver Coin

Winner – Gregorian Millennium 2001 Bi-Metal Coin


Nov 072012

The Perth Mint is working towards the publication of a new Mintage Policy in response to recent debate on this blog site.

It‘s a fairly complex document that requires a bit more work before we’re ready to make it public. However, it’s advanced enough for me to present our ideas on the major concerns expressed by those who have left comments.

Just before I go any further, I want to say that we’ve been listening very hard in recent weeks, not just to your contributions via our own blog, but also on the well-known forums where we’re discussed.

The insights many of you have provided are invaluable to us. Of course, we have never deliberately set out to upset anyone, but it is clear that some of you are far from happy. In response, we launched an immediate investigation to underline that we are an open, honest and ethical organisation – not beyond mistakes – but one that is happy to listen, learn and take corrective action.

So let’s cut to the chase about mintages.

We are dispensing with the concept of ‘packaging mintages’. This, I believe, lies at the heart of your dissatisfaction with what otherwise are products extensively admired for their quality and aesthetics.

As you have urged, the term ‘mintage’ will now refer exclusively to the maximum pieces of struck metal.

Just as important, every limited issue will have its mintage plainly stated. For clarity, this is probably best illustrated by an example of how it will appear in a Certificate or brochure, such as:

“No more than 10,000 of these coins will be released individually from a mintage of 12,000.”

This type of wording provides us with the potential to house up to 2,000 additional coins in one or more packaging variations. For such a variation you can expect the Certificate or brochure to state:

“No more than 2,000 of these coins will be released in this set from a mintage of 12,000.”

Our new Mintage Policy will make it perfectly clear that the mintages we announce in marketing brochures, on the website and in Certificates are absolute maximums.

The Mintage Policy is possibly a few weeks away yet, but I felt it was important to post early so that you are clearly apprised of our thinking and the urgency with which we are reacting.

I’m sure there will be plenty of questions. Please bear with us until a definitive document is available. It will be posted on the website and we’ll be pleased to engage in much more discussion then.

Please also be aware that because we work so far in advance, there are products currently in production that may not fully adhere to the principles I’ve outlined above.