Mar 082013

Platinum is a precious metal that many would love to add to their coin collections. This month we’re offering the Australian Koala 25th Anniversary 2013 1/2oz Platinum Proof Coin, a rare collectable providing the perfect opportunity to collect platinum.

Why Platinum?

Platinum is widely recognised as the most precious of the three ‘noble’ metals. Since the inception of the Australian Precious Metals Coin Program, The Perth Mint has endeavoured to offer coins in all three metals – gold, platinum and silver.

In 1988, the Australian Koala became the first legal tender platinum bullion coin to be launched by a major nation. Offered in four sizes as an investment coin, a 1/2oz Proof Issue with a limited mintage of 12,000 was also released for collectors (sold out).

The 99.95% pure platinum coin depicted a koala design by sculptor and artist Michael Tracey, whose distinctive portrayal has been painstakingly reproduced on the 2013 anniversary issue which is subject to a tiny mintage of just 1,200.

Featuring a ‘P25’ mintmark, the 2013 anniversary release is accompanied by an numbered silver medallion.

Quick Guide

With interest in platinum currently riding high, here’s our quick guide to this beautiful metal:

  • Platinum is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust – roughly 30 times scarcer than gold.
  • Pure platinum is a lustrous, silvery-white metal that’s also ductile, malleable and resistant to tarnish.
  • It is said that all the platinum ever mined in history would fit inside a 25 x 25 x 25 foot room.
  • Ancient Egyptians used platinum for decorating important objects as long ago as 700BC.
  • It was used by pre-Columbian Americans to produce artefacts of a white gold-platinum alloy.
  • The name platinum is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into “little silver”.
  • Believe it or not, Spanish conquistadors thought it was a nuisance, being difficult to separate from gold nuggets!
  • In the 1920s, two platinum deposits, each around 100 kilometres in length, were discovered in the Transvaal.
  • Today, South Africa has 80% of the world’s platinum reserve.
  • Approximately 10 tons of ore are needed to produce a single ounce of platinum.
  • About half of world demand is for use in autocatalysts, where it destroys pollutants in vehicle exhaust fumes.
  • There’s also significant demand for modern platinum jewellery, which is primarily made and sold in China, Japan and the USA.


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Mar 012013

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There’s no let-up in our desire to bring you the cream of modern numismatics with another extraordinary choice of offerings for March.

The Land Down Under goes up in size with two large- format versions of the spectacular Sydney Opera House coins that debuted last month.

The extremely popular Australian Opal Series makes a welcomed return with the third release featuring a kangaroo.

Rivalling it for intensity of colour is our new Aurora Australis coin from another familiar series, the Australian Antarctic Territory.

There’s never been a more exciting time for Koala collectors. Celebrating the platinum Proof Koala series of yesteryear, we’re issuing a prestigious 25th Anniversary tribute accompanied by a special mintmarked medallion.

Meanwhile, an absolutely extraordinary 5oz high relief silver Koala is destined to become a classic!

Also including details of this year’s ANZAC Day release, the latest new coin bulletin is one to savour.

Purchase these new releases on our website.


Sep 142012

Sales figures for 2011 proof and specimen collector coins to 31 December 2011 were released today.

The Perth Mint also updated sales figures for coins issued in previous years.

To review all mintage and current sales figures for collector coins issued between 1986 and 2011, please visit our Numismatic Mintages page.


Jun 062012

Because of its geographical isolation, Australia is a land like no other. It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of its flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to the continent, along with most of its freshwater fish and almost half of its birds.

ToM Vaughan

Since 2006, Discover Australia has been our numismatic showcase for a multitude of iconic Australian animals and other wildlife. To mark the release of our 2012 pure platinum coins, we caught up with one the designers, Tom Vaughan, to learn more about the creative approach to this year’s series.

“As artists we’re always looking for something new, some way to really move and inspire the viewer,” explains Tom. “With this year’s designs we wanted the creatures to be seen in their natural habitat.”

As a result, the latest coins pay particular attention to the realism of the environment in which each animal lives.

“Precise details are really important. The Red Kangaroo, for example, is shown against ochre-coloured earth. It’s a particular hue authentic to central Australia, where temperatures can reach in excess of 40 degrees…you really have to try to encompass that feeling.”

The fascinating Green and Gold Bell Frog, which can be seen resting on green reeds, is another example. “The colours have to reflect the real creature and its environment,” continues Tom. “The green reeds, for instance, really did have to be a particular type of rich green.”

Green & Gold Bell Frog, Goanna, Red Kangaroo, Kookaburra, Whale Shark.

It would be true to say that nature has inspired artists for hundreds of years and still today proves to be a continuing source of creativity for our inventive designers.

Adds Tom, “There is such a wide variety of beautiful animals and locations in Australia that it makes my job inspirational!”

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.

May 242011

Collecting coins made by The Perth Mint is a rewarding pastime for many people. There’s certainly a diverse range of historic and modern commemoratives to choose from.

The first coins made in Perth were gold sovereigns. Featuring our distinctive ‘P’ mintmark, more than 100 million were produced between 1899 and 1931. Even so, completing a full set can be a challenging prospect to even the most experienced collector.

Australian pre-decimal coins made in Perth include silver shillings, pennies and half-pennies. Later, the Mint prepared the way for decimalisation in 1966 with vast numbers of 1 cent and 2 cents coins, which stayed in circulation until 1992.

There was a momentous shift in emphasis in the 1980s, however, when the Australian Government authorised The Perth Mint to produce the nation’s official precious metal coin program.

The first coin to be made under the agreement was the famous Australian Nugget. As well as being offered in unpackaged, bullion quality for investors, an extremely limited number of stunning proof quality versions were released in special presentation packaging for collectors.

The silver Australian Kookaburra was the second series to be issued in what has subsequently become one of the most extensive ranges of  modern collectable coins in the world.

Today, The Perth Mint releases new collector releases every month. Keeping up with the all themes, innovations, sizes, metals and mintages, not to mention sell-outs, near sell-outs and special offers is quite a challenge.

Here we’ll cover just about everything a Perth Mint coin collector needs to know. Bringing together all the news from our websites, new product bulletins, newsletters and more, it provides one super convenient location… to which you can add your thoughts and comments too!

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