Jun 272016

With the launch of our official eBay Store, here’s some timely advice on how to avoid buying fake coins and bars.

At The Perth Mint we don’t like hearing about buyers and collectors who have unwittingly purchased fake coins and bars. While you are safe buying direct from us and any of our official distributors, we understand that the coin collecting community also loves to buy and sell among each other.

Unfortunately, increasingly sophisticated copycats are trying to ruin your day! Despite eBay’s rules and policies forbidding the listing of replicas, counterfeit items or unauthorised copies, just about every major manufacturer and respected brand worldwide has had one or more of its products imitated and offered for sale!


As a measure of the problem, even people experienced in gold and silver have been known to be caught out by such scams. They then have to go through the rigmarole of claiming their money back, a hassle which once outside the refund deadline can prove frustrating.

One savvy and enthusiastic eBay buyer recently showed us examples of two fake minted bars he’d fallen victim to, even though the seller had excellent feedback ratings. Fortunately he had an industry contact with an XRF metal analyser and was in the habit of having everything he bought immediately tested. But not everybody is lucky enough to have access to such equipment when they need it!

To avoid the sickly feeling of being duped, buyers of gold and silver bullion need to become as knowledgeable as possible about the dangers. The following insights (which apply equally to buying from eBay, pawn shops or that bloke in the pub!) combined with a precautionary buying strategy based on commonsense principles will help relieve you from any nagging doubts.

What’s at risk?

The problem extends across the full spectrum of bullion and numismatic products, comprising cast (poured) bars, minted bars, as well as gold and silver coins.

Firstly, some good news! The web was abuzz not long ago with a scary story about a cast gold bar which was found to contain rods of tungsten. It led to massive amounts of conjecture about how many similarly defaced bars might be in the market. In truth, however, this unnerving episode was probably over sensationalised. In the long experience of senior staff at The Perth Mint refinery, such fakes are actually a rare occurrence.

On the other hand, the eBay buyer who visited the Mint not long ago said he believes there are large numbers of fake coins and minted bars out there. While they often appear to look like the real thing, generally these practically worthless rip-offs are nothing more than tungsten, copper, lead, nickel or alloy plated in a just a few microns of precious metal.

And hear this. The problem is probably going to get even worse because of the availability of technology that makes copying so easy. The canny counterfeiters may also be starting to target low mintage releases like some of our Australian Lunar coins in the knowledge that they stand a better chance of tempting a collector keen to finish a series.

Some tell tale signs

It’s now more important than ever to look out for any tell-tale signs that will suggest coins and bars offered for sale may be fakes. A listing marked ‘No Returns’ is an obvious red flag. But check carefully that the product’s full specifications are included. Official refiners and manufacturers advertise precise weights and dimensions for their coins and bars and by replacing gold or silver with base metal, counterfeiters are highly unlikely to be able to match these specifications precisely.

When compared to an authentic bar of the same weight, our visitor’s fakes looked good and were accurate in both length and width. But they were way too thick because the lighter metal inside – something that was not revealed by the photographs used in the advertisement. So if any of the specifications are missing from a listing or incorrect by even a single gram or millimeter, then treat it with enormous skepticism.

It’s really obvious that something is up when prices look drastically low. Gold and silver are commodities and cannot, therefore, be bought at a discount. If you think you’ve spotted a bargain or are offered the deal of a lifetime, think again. If it looks too good to be true, it will be!

Know your seller

Let’s be clear, collectors and investors are most likely to be exposed to the risk of fake coins and bars when buying from unknown suppliers. If you don’t know them, why take the risk? Our visitor reinforced this point emphatically when we asked what advice he would like to share with others. Simply “ don’t buy on eBay if you don’t know the dealer.”

In some cases you may be able to physically check them out by visiting the shop and meeting the owner. Maybe talk to some existing customers too. But if that’s impossible, let government-owned mints such as us help you out by referring to their list of authorised resellers.

This really is the golden rule for people on eBay anxious to avoid fakes. The Perth Mint publishes a list of reputable dealers on its website. Based all over the world, they’ve worked with us for many years and when selling on eBay, can be relied upon to provide honest and ethical service. In Australia, buyers can also be confident of dealing with members of the Australian Numismatic Dealers Association from whom you’re going to get what you paid for.

With a little research, you should be able to find similar information from other world mints too.

Visit The Perth Mint’s official store on ebay.


Jun 172016

After three appearances at Supanova, The Perth Mint is excited to be heading back to this year’s Perth event with more stunning coins featuring favourite sci-fi and pop culture characters.


Geeks are urged to check-in at The Perth Mint booth (No. 1625) where members of the coin design crew will be waiting to say “hi” and to enter your name in the draw for some highly sought-after collector prizes.

As well as silver coins from the official Star Trek program, each accompanied by Certificate of Authenticity No. 1, you could also win a 50th anniversary wall graphic featuring life-size images of Kirk and Spock together with a diagram of the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701.

Plus, we’re giving away a sensational 2oz silver high relief coin depicting Thor, the hammer-wielding God of Thunder. Because of the stampede for this extremely limited collectable when it was released earlier this month, we’ve quietly reserved one for an incredibly lucky visitor at Supanova!



Exclusive discounts apply to all the coins sold from our Supanova booth. You can save between 15 and 25 percent on limited releases from programs like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Bruce Lee, and our Super Powers base metal collectables.


Supanova Perth has teamed up with an exciting line up of ‘Supa-Star’ guests for two action-packed days of fun! Come along in cosplay and participate in all sorts of competitions, check out many more exclusive expo deals and don’t forget to have a chat with our coin artists about their favourite characters and coin designs!

We’ll be at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre on Saturday, 25th June and Sunday, 26th June,  10am – 6pm. Get your tickets here!


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Jun 142016

The Perth Mint is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Dutch sea captain Dirk Hartog’s landing on the west coast of Australia. If you’re at all hazy on the history, here’s why we think it’s such a significant event.

  • Hartog’s landing pre-dated Captain James Cook’s famous exploration of the east coast by more than 150 years.
  • It was the first documented visit by any European in this part of the world.
  • By leaving behind proof of his landing in the shape of an inscribed pewter plate, Hartog created the oldest European object ever found on Australian soil.

Yet the whole remarkable episode was effectively an accident!

Dirk Hartog was skipper of a Dutch East India Company vessel called Eendracht. In 1616, he was sailing for Bantam, a trading city located in western Java.

Traditionally, ships stayed close to the coast in a protracted journey around Africa and India. But a few years earlier, a new route had been pioneered using the ‘Roaring Forties’, strong westerly winds at 40 degrees south, for a much faster passage across the Indian Ocean.

In an age before any reliable calculation of longitude was available, navigators had to estimate where to turn northwards for the run up to Java. Inevitably, some East Indiamen sailed too far and it was only a matter of time before one of them inadvertently ran into ‘Terra Australis Incognita’.

Hartog claimed the honour on 25 October when he anchored at the continent’s most westerly tip – an island that formed part of a large, shallow inlet later named Shark Bay by the English explorer/privateer William Dampier.

Hartog spent two days exploring the area before sailing northwards, charting the coastline which was subsequently referred to as ‘Eendrachtsland’ by the Dutch East India Company.

Before leaving, Hartog left his famed pewter plate inscribed with “1616, on 25 October, arrived the ship the Eendracht of Amsterdam” and names of some of those on board. Originally nailed to an oak post inserted in a crack on Cape Inscription, it’s probable that no one laid eyes on it for another 80 years until the arrival of Willem de Vlamingh.


Dirk Hartog’s pewter plate. Image supplied by Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

This Dutch sea-captain, the first European to venture up the Zwaanenrivier (Swan River) past the present day site of Perth, arrived on Dirk Hartog Island early in 1697. During his exploration he found the plate and replaced it with a new one inscribed with the text from the original and details of his own voyage.

By delivering Hartog’s plate to the Dutch authorities in Batavia (Jakarta), de Vlamingh played a crucial role in its safeguarding. A fascinating reminder of the role played by Dutch navigators in the charting of Australia, this astonishing relic is now preserved by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Equally valued in Australia as the oldest physical evidence of European contact with the continent, a replica can be seen at the Western Australian Museum – Shipwreck Galleries, Fremantle.

400th Anniversary Commemoration

Western Australia and the Netherlands will be marking the story of Dirk Hartog at Shark Bay between 21 and 25 October 2016.


Issued by The Perth Mint, the Australian commemorative coin is housed in presentation packaging accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

As part of the commemorations, copies of Hartog’s plate and the plate that Willem de Vlamingh replaced it with in 1697 will be embedded at the original site where visitors will benefit from new interpretive panels.

Representative of Dutch ships of the era, the Duyfken will also embark on a six-week journey along Western Australia’s coast during which she will be open for public tours.

For details of these events and more, please visit www.sharkbay1616.com.au.


Courtesy of the Shire of Shark Bay


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Jun 092016

Donald Fauntleroy Duck is arguably Disney’s second most successful cartoon character. For more than 80 years, audiences have found his mischievous nature and agitated temper tantrums impossibly hard to resist.

The rascal with a heart of gold made his cartoon debut on 9 June 1934 in The Wise Little Hen. Less physically rounded in his early appearances, Donald was introduced in his trademark sailor’s shirt, cap and bow tie. Moreover, he communicated in a unique quacking-style, one of the most recognizable character voices in entertainment history.

By 1937, audience reaction to Donald’s comically irascible personality saw him move from supporting character to star in his own right. Nominated for seven ACADEMY AWARDS® to date, he won an OSCAR® statuette in 1943.

Often accompanied by his adorable nephews – Huey, Dewey, and Louie, love interest Daisy Duck, or his thrifty uncle Scrooge McDuck, Donald became cartoon royalty and one of the best-loved animated characters of all time.


© Disney

Presenting original and contemporary appearances of Disney’s most famous duck, these 1oz silver coins would delight any Disney cartoon fan.

Limited to a worldwide mintage of 10,000, the Disney – 80th Anniversary of Donald Duck 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin is presented in a wooden display case which comes in an illustrated shipper featuring an image of Donald in The Wise Little Hen.

With the same limited mintage, the Donald Duck 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin is housed in a modern perspex case surrounded by film-themed outer packaging illustrating the history of Donald Duck.

Available from The Perth Mint, both coins are issued by New Zealand Mint as legal tender of the South Pacific island nation of Niue.


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Jun 072016

TM & © 2016 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved

Although it was the sixth series to air, Star Trek: Enterprise predates the original adventures of Captain James T. Kirk. Its stories centre around the 22nd century voyages of his predecessor, Jonathan Archer, during the early days of interstellar travel.

For your chance to win this superb release from our official Star Trek: Enterprise coin series, use the following clue to help unscramble these letters.

Clue: Role undertaken by Jonathan Archer.


How to enter: Email your answer to anagram@perthmint.com.au marking your reply ‘June 2016 Anagram Competition’ in the subject line. Please include your name, address and telephone number. Entries close on 5 July 2016. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email. Terms and conditions.

See us on Facebook and Twitter for notification of anagrams and other great coin competitions.

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May 2016 anagram competition winner: Congratulations Janis Zappelli of WA for the correct answer of ‘Coleoid cephalopods’.

Jun 072016

The Perth Mint has released the second of three coins dedicated to Norse Gods. Like the preceding Odin release, Thor is a rimless, high relief coin struck from 2oz of pure silver with a unique antiqued finish.

Its detailed portrayal represents the final battle between Thor and the serpent Jormungand, son of Loki.

In Norse mythology, Jormungand was banished from Asgard for threatening the Æsir gods. Flung into the ocean, Odin hoped he would die there. But Jormungand survived, and in fact grew bigger – so big that he encircled the entire world.

During the conflict between the Æsir and the ‘world serpent’, Thor went to sea in an attempt to capture Jormungand on a hook baited with the head of an ox. The monster bit and was momentarily dragged clear of the water by his rival.

Thor was accompanied in the boat by the giant Hymir. Terrified at the sight of the angry serpent, Hymir cut the line, allowing Jormungand to slide back into the depths.

The final encounter between Thor and Jormungand  took place during Ragnarok, a cataclysmic period during which the Æsir gods were fated to perish.

As Jormungand rose up in a ferocious attack, Thor fatally wounded the beast with his powerful war-hammer Mjollnir. But the telling blow was too late to save him from a spray of deadly venom. Recoiling from the lifeless serpent, the God of Thunder staggered nine paces before falling dead.

Extremely Limited Availability

Like its sold out predecessor, this coin is expected to be extremely popular. Housed in a timber display case with a stunning engraved design on the lid, no more than 2,000 Thor 2oz Silver High Relief Antiqued Coins will be released worldwide.