Ron Currie

Hi, I’m Ron Currie, Sales & Marketing Director of The Perth Mint. I worked in the jewellery and diamond industries before joining the Mint in 1997 to focus on precious metal coins. The best part of my job is leading a team passionate about delivering sought-after coin programs to collectors and dealers worldwide.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Oct 262012
 

There has been some discussion on this blog recently in connection with our numismatic mintages.

Some collectors expressed irritation at the forthcoming release of a 2oz Silver Proof Lunar 12-Coin Collection, which in their eyes doubled the mintage of coins previously only available in an annual Three-Coin Set.

Similar concerns were raised about next month’s 2012 Silver Proof High Relief Four-Coin Set. Writers said that the release increased the mintages of Kangaroo, Kookaburra, Koala and Dragon high reliefs already available in individual presentation packaging.

I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the discussion and to let you know your comments were considered at a full meeting of the marketing department, as promised.

 Total vs. Certificate Mintages

In response, the maximum number of collectable coins we are permitted to strike is actually established in the Currency Determinations issued by Australian Treasury under the Australian Currency Act 1965. We always state a maximum mintage when we apply for approval of a collectable coin.

In the case of the high relief Dragon, Treasury (as requested by the Mint) gave approval to strike up to 30,000 coins. Subsequently, we decided to release just 7,500 coins in individual presentation packaging – leaving a balance of 22,500 that could still legally be issued.

For obvious reasons of rarity and collectability, it is unlikely that we will ever do this, although we have decided to make an extra 1,000 available in the 2012 High Relief Year Set. In most people’s books, that’s a relatively minor increase in the overall quantity available in the market.

There are many other examples of this practice. Just 1,500 1oz Silver Lunar Typesets are issued annually. Each coin in this collection is also released individually, and this hasn’t previously been raised as a problem.

Australian Nugget 1oz gold proof coin collectors may well recall the many packaging variations on offer in 2005!

Some of the 2005 Australian Nugget packaging variations.

What we’re doing with the new 12 Coin Collection and the High Relief Year Set is entirely consistent with past practice. Not everyone likes it, but we try to make available a variety of combinations of our products to suit the tastes of various collectors.

Where redress is required, perhaps, is in the wording of our Certificates of Authenticity. Consequently, we have agreed to amend the Certificate mintage statement to include the words “in this packaging”.

For example:  The Perth Mint will release no more than 7,500 of these coins in this packaging.

(Some Certificates for future releases have already been printed and this may take a few months to implement fully.)

I’d like to remind readers that Perth Mint collectables remain exceptionally limited by comparison with several other world mints. Combined with superb design and manufacturing quality, these mintages play an important role in explaining why so many have become avid fans of our numismatic pieces.

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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.

Jan 062012
 


This graph will be interesting to those who read our recent blog post New Coin Releases Come Early For Collectors In 2012.

In it we announced the online availability of our latest coins at just after midnight on Tuesday 3 January 2012.

As explained in that post, traditionally we announce details of new products around 9.00am Perth time on launch day. Recently, this has resulted in a stampede of online and telephone orders from within Australia, putting pressure on internal sales and administration systems.

The graph reveals the impact of the change of schedule. Even though January was not such a big month as November, it achieved a positive outcome.

The red line portrays the sharp rise in transactions in the first few hours of our November 2011 product launch.

In contrast, the blue line shows a more gently build up of transactions in January 2012, thanks to the earlier release hour.

As a consequence, our systems handled demand more effectively, resulting in improved levels of client satisfaction (although we did experience short-term difficulties with the availability of one product because of unrelated technical problems).

The result ensures that we will continue with this new practice. While it is encouraging, however, it is not the final solution to the underlying issues. Consequently, we remain fully committed to the complete review of our website, telephone, back-end systems and other support infrastructure.

This redevelopment is now in progress, but as I stated in the last post, the full extent of these changes will take time to implement fully.