Oct 072014
 

Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver, this coin celebrates the exhilarating and dangerous activity of rock fishing. Extremely popular in Australia and New Zealand, rock fishing involves fishing straight into the sea from a rocky outcrop or platform.

Rock-Fishing_silver-coinFor your chance to win this amazing Rock Fishing 1oz silver proof coin, simply rearrange the following letters to solve the anagram.

Clue: A great catch!

ROD_GROW_MEN

How to enter: Email your answer to anagram@perthmint.com.au marking your reply ‘October 2014 Anagram Competition’ in the subject line. Please include your name, address and telephone number. Entries close on 3 November 2014. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email. Terms and conditions.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for notification of anagrams and other great coin competitions.

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Last month’s winner: Congratulations to Sharon Markwell, QLD for the correct answer of Cretaceous Period.

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Oct 072014
 

This month sees the launch of some special releases celebrating the 2014 Year of the Goat. These beautiful coins are magnificent collectables, gifts and keepsakes for anyone born under the influence of the lunar goat in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 and 2015.

Coloured Gold Coins

Coloured Silver Coins

For the ultimate silver collectable marking the Year of the Goat, this year’s Typeset Collection features Proof, Bullion, Coloured and Gilded coins in one stunning presentation.

This month sees the release of many more exquisite coins catering for a broad range of tastes and interests in the wonderful world of modern numismatics.

Happy collecting!

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ANNOUNCEMENT

 Posted by  News
Oct 072014
 

Dear Collector

We have a technical issue this morning that is preventing us from uploading October new products to The Perth Mint website. We’re working to resolve the problem as soon as possible – sincere apologies for this delay and the frustration it is causing.

Kind regards

Blog Team

Oct 032014
 

Tuvalu_flagThe Perth Mint is well-known for producing commemoratives and collectables issued as legal tender of Tuvalu. Reposted with permission from United States coin specialist Modern Coin Wholesale, this article reveals that the tiny Polynesian island nation’s role in modern numismatics has spread well beyond these shores.


At first glance, it seems strange that a country like Tuvalu issues world-class commemorative and bullion coins. The big names (China, Canada, the United States, etc.) tend to be big countries, or at least have “big” histories (the United Kingdom, for one). Yet Tuvalu–one of the smallest countries in the world–not only releases such coins, but also puts American motifs by American designers on some of them.

I, for one, was curious.

Why Tuvalu?

Tuvalu (pronounced “too VAH loo”–and let’s get this out of the way now, you’re going to see this word a lot; it’s just plain fun to say) is the fourth smallest country in the world, covering a mere 10 square miles (26 sq km). Only Monaco, Vatican City, and the island nation of Nauru are smaller.

It’s located in the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, and consists of three islands and six atolls. The highest point in the entire nation is only 16 feet above sea level.

The native people of Tuvalu are ethnic Polynesians, with origins in other island chains. Where, exactly, depends on which local version of the founding legend you accept.

And while the first Europeans to spot them were Spanish, the islands that would become the nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati (pron. “KEER ih bahsh”–look up why for some fun trivia!) became a British protectorate in the late 19th century. In 1976, the protectorate dissolved. In 1978, Tuvalu joined the British Commonwealth (now the Commonwealth of Nations) as an independent country.

Tuvaluan and English are the national languages.

Naturally, Tuvalu has strong economic bonds with fellow Commonwealth members Australia and New Zealand. So much so that its official currency is the Australian dollar, and between 1966 and 1976, Australian currency served as the circulating coinage of the islands.

With its independence from the protectorate in 1976, Tuvalu issued its first series of circulating coinage (though Australian coins continued to circulate alongside it). From the start, Tuvaluan coins were innovative and “fashion forward”. Each coin in the 1976 set features a different sea animal on the reverse and is attractively designed. Commonwealth coinage typically features the Queen’s portrait on the obverse.

And years before Australia and the United States did so, 1976 saw the introduction of Tuvalu’s copper-nickel alloy $1 coin, which also happened to be nine-sided. One wonders if it had any impact on the design of the future Susan B. Anthony dollar.

That same year, Tuvalu also issued silver $5 and gold $50 proof bullion coins–the start of what would become THE major part of that country’s numismatic output.

In 1994, Raphael Maklouf’s profile of Queen Elizabeth II replaced Arnold Machin’s design on Commonwealth coinage. This turned out to be the last year that circulating coinage was produced for Tuvalu, with Australian business strikes doing the job by themselves ever since.

However, Tuvalu continues to produce commemorative and proof bullion coins. The key to understanding why, I found, depends on two things: Tuvalu’s relationship and economic interdependence with its neighbor Australia and the idiosyncratic nature of the local economy.

“Not Intended for Circulation”

Detour time…

Several weeks back I wrote a defense of modern coins and the modern coin market.

It covered some of the arguments skeptics use to explain their disdain. I personally believe it boils down to fear of the new and people being set in their ways, but their arguments deserve respect, and there’s no denying that the coin market–especially the market for World coins–has seen a glut of NIFC coinage over the last few decades.

To many detractors of modern coins, the acronym NIFC is a four-letter word.

It stands for Not Intended for Circulation, and any coin produced by governments for sale exclusively to collectors and investors can be considered NIFC. And, if you think about it, the fact that money is being made that isn’t supposed to be used as money is a bit weird, if not disturbing. It suggests a Matrix-like, “red pill” kind of economic experience; after all, If money isn’t money, then what is money, anyway?

Still, I think the phenomenon is more a development of free market economics than a derangement, and as such shouldn’t inspire too much existential dread (though we should always –always– practice due diligence, as individuals and as nations).

And Tuvalu is one argument for why it might even be a good thing.

Tuvalu_Coins

Celebrating the USS Constitution, the Brown Bear and Charlie Chaplin, these examples of Tuvalu collector coins were struck by The Perth Mint.

A Postmodern Economy

So why is Tuvalu such fertile ground for NIFCs and Numismatics?

The island nation is simply too small for industry and intensive agriculture, though it does export coconuts and taro. The people tend to rely on time-honored farming and fishing techniques to feed themselves.

Many Tuvaluans work in Australia and New Zealand and send money home. Many other Tuvaluans work as sailors on international craft and likewise remit their paychecks. On the islands themselves, many work in the tourism industry but most people work for the government.

The government of Tuvalu depends on a handful of external sources for its operational budget. There is the Tuvalu Trust Fund, which is funded by Australia and New Zealand. There is the Falekaupule Trust Fund, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Tuvaluan government. Tuvalu also receives some aid from the United Nations and the Multilateral Fisheries Treaty (to which the United States is a party).

But this is where it gets interesting.

Besides their commemorative and bullion coins, Tuvalu is home to two other “unlikely” sources of income.

Most famously, Tuvalu earns over $2 million by leasing the rights to its designated higher-level internet domain name: “.tv”. To media companies in the U.S. and elsewhere, the appeal of having websites with the “.tv” suffix for your television properties is obvious. The domain is managed by Verizon subsidiary dotTV, of which Tuvalu owns 20%.

The island nation is also well-known for its stamps. The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau issues stamps and first day covers for stamp collectors around the world. The Bureau issues its first stamps in 1976, the same year Tuvalu gained its independence and the first year the country minted bullion coins.

Which means that NIFC coins have been part of a larger economic plan since the country’s founding.

It also implies that someone in a position of economic authority halfway across the world from the so-called centers of commerce not only knew where the coin industry was headed before many in the hobby did, but also that there was enough money to be made in Numismatics that it could help prop up the GDP of a small nation.

(And this was the early to mid-1970s. No wonder the investors came sniffing around in the ‘80s.)

Therefore, utilizing its mighty mining industry and copious mint facilities, Tuvalu launched its long and fruitful career in coins and collectibles…

…except that didn’t happen. I already said that Tuvalu has no “industry” to speak of, yet it most certainly produces coins.

How?

The answer is simple.

The Perth Mint

Part of the minor confusion surrounding Tuvalu and its legal tender coinage is the fact that it’s made in Australia.

Specifically, Tuvalu’s coins are authorized as legal tender by the Tuvaluan government but manufactured by the Perth Mint.

It’s one of two working mints in Australia; the other is the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, Australia’s capital. Founded in 1899, the Perth Mint originally refined gold from the Western Australia gold rushes of the 1890s and mint sovereigns for use around the British Empire.

Today, it handles the production of Australia’s gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins.

And like other major world mints (including the U.S. Mint), it also mints coins for other national clients, such as Tuvalu.

Tuvalu American Buffalo

I’ve seen my share of foreign coins that pander to American tastes, but the one-ounce silver American Buffalo high relief coin is high-quality bullion, guaranteed by the Australian government–and in case you didn’t know, the Perth Mint is famous for making some of the purest gold bullion in the world (up to 99.9999% pure).

High-Relief-American-Buffalo-Silver-Coin

2014 P Tuvalu Silver American Buffalo 1oz High Relief Proof struck by The Perth Mint on behalf of SilverTowne.

The buffalo reverse (remember, Maklouf’s Queen Elizabeth II is on the obverse) was designed by Michael Glass, an American fine artist currently based in Ohio. The Perth Mint had previously issued coins featuring the Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle, designed by retired Chief Engraver of the United States Mint John Mercanti, and the Bald Eagle. Perth is no stranger to American designers and American themes.

For a good look at the coin and its design, we have nice, deep cameo high relief 2014-P (for Perth) silver buffalo dollars available in First Strike Buffalo labels from PCGS: one a PR70, the other graded PR69.

2014-P silver buffalos are even available in special PCGS labels with Michael Glass’s signature. We have two: both are ultra cameo Early Releases, with one certified PF70 and the other a PF69.

Conclusion

If you’re a fan of modern coins and haven’t yet swam in the vast waters of modern World coins, I encourage you to take the plunge. The swim is full of surprises big and small, coins that arrest you and command your attention. Coins that bring the world to your living room and invite you to expand your horizons.

An American Buffalo from a country called Tuvalu is just one such coin. There are many, many more.

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Oct 012014
 

This coin features a colourful seasonal image of Mickey Mouse celebrating Christmas with his friends Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto!

The words ‘Season’s Greetings’ and delicate snowflake motifs are engraved on the coin’s mirror-like table.Disney-Seasons-Greetings-Silver_CoinA fantastic gift, the coin comes in book-styled presentation packaging vividly illustrated with Disney’s famous characters.

The coin is protected in a star-shaped capsule with a red ribbon, enabling it to be enjoyed as a sparkling hanging decoration year-after-year.

Disney-Christmas-2014_Silver-1_2oz_coinStruck by The Perth Mint from 1/2oz of pure silver and issued by New Zealand Mint as legal tender of Niue, no more than 10,000 of these amazing Disney Season’s Greetings coins will be released.

More information.

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