Sep 162015

On 16th September 1770, Captain Cook’s expedition to Australia witnessed the Aurora Australis, becoming the first Europeans to note the astonishing light show.

Aboard HMS Endeavour, botanists Joseph Banks wrote in his journal:

“About 10 O’Clock a Phaenomenon appeard in the heavens in many things resembling the Aurora Borealis but differing materialy in others: it consisted of a dull reddish light reaching in hight about 20 degrees above the Horizon: its extent was very different at different times but never less than 8 or 10 points of the compass. Through and out of this passd rays of a brighter colourd light tending directly upwards.”

Unknown to Cook and his fellow explorers, the lights are created when energetic particles, principally electrons, strike the upper atmosphere and travel along Earth’s magnetic field lines. (The same principle operates in a flourescent tube or neon light.)

Glow in the dark coin

Australian Antarctic Territory Series – Aurora Australis 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The reverse of this 2013 silver coin from the popular Australian Antarctic Territory Series features a representation of this natural wonder also known as the Southern Lights. Coloured with glow-in-the-dark ink, the portrayal of Aurora Australis glows in the dark!


Jun 052015

This month sees the introduction of our 12th Australian coin inspired by Earth’s southernmost continent – Antarctica.

History of Australia in Antarctica

Australia is one of seven nations that have claimed territory in Antarctica. At approximately 5,800,000 km², or 42 per cent of the total, the Australian Antarctic Territory is the largest claim over the remote and harsh polar continent.


The Australian claim is based on a long historical association with the eastern section of Antarctica. Several notable Australian explorers and scientists were responsible for establishing a connection with the continent during the early 20th century, including Douglas Mawson, whose famous achievements included reaching the South Magnetic Pole with Edgeworth David and Scotsman Alistair Mackay on 16 January 1909.

Today, the Australian Antarctic Division is responsible for the advancement of Australia’s strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in the Antarctic.

Australian Antarctic Territory Silver Proof Coin Series

Launched in 2004, the Australian Antarctic Territory Coin Series features designs related to the continent’s exploration and its awe-inspiring wildlife and environment. Prior to the latest release, the coins have featured:

  • 2004 Mawson Station
  • 2005 Leopard Seal
  • 2006 Edgeworth David Base
  • 2007 Davis Station
  • 2008 Humpback Whale
  • 2009 South Magnetic Pole
  • 2010 Husky
  • 2011 Killer Whale
  • 2012 Emperor Penguin
  • 2013 Aurora Australis
  • 2014 Wandering Albatross

2015 Elephant Seal 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The latest addition to the Australian Antarctic Territory portrays an Elephant Seal, the largest seal in the world.


Australian Antarctic Territory Series – Elephant Seal 2015 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Male Elephant Seals can grow to more than six metres in length and weigh up to 4,000 kilograms. The species takes its name from the adult male’s large proboscis, a trunk-like inflatable snout which is used to make extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season.

Southern Elephant Seals live in the brutally cold Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean, feeding at sea on a diet that consists mainly of fish and squid. Although cumbersome on land, they are superb swimmers and divers. Scientists have recorded them at depths of up to two kilometres and holding their breath under water for up to two hours! Their torpedo-shape helps them swim enormous distances while foraging for food.

Elephant Seals breed on sub-Antarctic islands from late September to early November. South Georgia Island is home to the largest population, hosting more than half of the world’s numbers. Other notable colonies are found at Tasmania’s Macquarie Island, the Australian external territory of Heard Island, the Falkland and the Kerguelen Islands, and at widespread islands near the Antarctic Peninsula.

The female of the species usually gives birth within ten days after coming ashore and does not leave the beach to feed until her pup is weaned. During this time she depends on her stored fat reserves to sustain her and loses an average of 35 percent of her body weight, a loss of eight kilograms per day!

The Perth Mint will release no more than 7,500 of these coin celebrating one of Antarctica’s most remarkable and precious creatures.


Jun 022015

Very Low Mintage Gold Coins

This month sees the release of superb gold coins with enticingly low mintages:

Sensational Silver Coins

June also sees the release of some tremendously exciting silver coins:


Mar 192014

The Albatross became an icon of Antarctica in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

In the famous ode, a storm blew the old mariner’s ship south to where it was ‘wondrous cold’, whereupon an Albatross appeared along with ‘a good south wind’ to help them escape the frigid sea.

To his eternal regret, the mariner shot the majestic bird with a cross-bow, an action for which he was doomed to wander Earth forever recounting his tale on the importance of ‘all things great and small’.

A Wandering Albatross is portrayed on our latest Australian Antarctic Territory Series coin. One of more than 22 species, it seems perfectly suited to Coleridge’s story. Like the mariner condemned to wander for eternity, it roams unremittingly across the Southern Ocean from the Antarctic to subtropical waters.


White in colour, the Wandering Albatross has black tipped wings which when fully spread at up to 3.5 metres, represent the largest wingspan of any living bird. This lengthy wingspan allows it to expend remarkably little energy while flying. Gliding effortlessly over the ocean on updrafts of wind, it can travel vast distances, covering several thousand kilometres in just one week.

In fact, this mighty seabird spends the majority of its life in flight, landing only to breed and feed, and will probably fly further than any other bird on Earth.

Known to reach the age of 50 years or more, the Wandering Albatross is also one of the longest living birds in the world – so long, of course, that it does not have the misfortune to encounter the ancient mariner!

Australian Antarctic Territory Series – Wandering Albatross 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin.


Mar 102014

How would you like to win the only Perth Mint coin ever to visit Antarctica? The Aurora Australis 1oz silver coin featuring an amazing glow-in-the-dark image of the Southern Lights can been seen here with CSIRO’s Jasmine Leong in the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent in the world.

Check out the CSIRO Helix blog to discover your chance to win


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.