Dec 172014
 

Not to be missed, this is the final UK Quarter Sovereign to bear the fourth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Struck from 22-carat gold in proof quality, the delightful little coin’s iconic design of St George slaying the dragon is widely recognised as a symbol of strength and continuity that has appeared regularly ever since it was first introduced in 1817.

The coin’s obverse portrait, designed by the renowned sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and introduced in 1998, will soon be replaced by a fifth, marking the next chapter in the life of the monarch and Britain’ gold coinage.

No more than 4,600 of these sought-after coins will be issued. Each coin offered by The Perth Mint is housed in a luxurious wooden case accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity and booklet.

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Nov 252014
 

Today sees the announcement of three exciting new releases celebrating Chinese themes.

2015 Chinese Lion Dance 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The Chinese lion dance is a form of traditional dance dating back to the Han Dynasty (205 BCE to 220 CE) in China. The dance is performed during Chinese New Year and other traditional, cultural and religious festivals and is thought to bring good luck and fortune.

LionDance

Incidentally, lions are not native to China; they were introduced via the Silk Road, sent to Chinese emperors as gifts in exchange for the right to trade with merchants.

The lion dance is performed to music made up of beating drums, cymbals and gongs. The dance and the accompanying music is said to fend off ghosts and evil spirits as they are afraid of loud noises.

Perfect for Chinese New Year celebrations, this coin features a coloured representation of the Chinese lion dance. A firecracker, two lanterns and the Chinese character for ‘prosperity’ are also included in the design.

Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality, no more than 5,000 of these 2015 Chinese Lion Dance 1oz Silver Proof Coin will be issued, each housed in a special illustrated card displaying the coin’s reverse and obverse.

Lunar Good Fortune Series – 2015 Year of the Goat – Wealth & Wisdom
1oz Silver Proof Two-Coin Set

Anticipating good fortune during the Year of the Goat, this stunning set comprises two 1oz silver proof coins with designs symbolising wealth and wisdom.

2015LunarFortuneCoinSet

The wealth coin’s reverse features the statue of a goat on a coloured background representing mounds of gold coins. The wisdom coin’s reverse depicts a wise goat standing before a coloured portrayal of a Tree of Wisdom. The setting sun is considered a symbol of knowledge and understanding that comes with age.

No more than 1,500 of these two-coin sets will be released, each housed in a display case with a lavishly illustrated shipper.

2015 Year of the Goat – 1oz Gold Proof High Relief Coin

Also available from today is the 1oz high relief version from the Australian Lunar Series II 2015 Year of the Goat Gold Proof Coin Series.

Struck from 99.99% pure gold, the spectacular release depicts an adult male goat standing on a ridge in a stylised mountain scene.

The coin’s stunning high relief reverse and obverse are minted on concave surfaces to ensure the optimum flow of metal is achieved by the strike of the die.

HRGoldGoatcoin

No more than 388 of these magnificent coins will be released, each housed in an oval-shaped display case and illustrated shipper.

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Nov 142014
 

When gold was discovered at Mount Alexander in November 1851, it is estimated that more than 8,000 men decamped from the fledgling city of Adelaide to the goldfields – taking with them most of the colony’s sovereigns.

The Adelaide Assay Office was hastily established under the Bullion Act of 1852 to meet the urgent need for currency in South Australia. At first it made irregularly-shaped ingots, each stamped to indicate its weight and purity, with the idea that they would be taken to one of the banks and offered as security against an issue of currency notes to the value of the gold.

These enigmatic slabs of gold, produced exclusively between March 4th 1852 and late September 1852, are now incredibly rare. Six Adelaide Ingots are in public collections around the world, and the only two in private hands held pride of place in the Quartermaster collection – easily the finest collection of Australian gold coins ever formed. They’re rightly regarded as being integral to the history of Australian numismatics and are highly coveted by collectors the nation over.

But the only real way most mortal collectors will ever be able to include a representative Adelaide Ingot in their collection is via the ownership of an “electrotype”.

What is an electrotype?

An electrotype coin is a reproduction made by a process combining chemicals and electricity. Although electrotypes are not original coins, they are not regarded in the same class as counterfeits, forgeries or replicas. The electrotype process has been used by collectors around the world ever since the process was first invented in 1838 to create examples of rare and historic coins that were otherwise unobtainable.

Not only are electrotypes used to complete a set or collection that would otherwise have a glaring omission, they are also used for study purposes. Experienced collectors of ancient coins have been known to include an electrotype in their collection in order to completely tell the story of the coinage of a particular region or era. Museums have been known to include an electrotype in a display for the same reason, or to minimise the risk of loss in the event of vandalism or theft.

Several numismatists have created legitimate electrotype duplicates of Adelaide Ingots over the years. While these electrotype duplicates are nowhere near as rare as the original ingots, they are still a scarce and desirable collectable that allows a collector to display the story of the early days at the Adelaide Assay Office.

Setting aside some modern reproductions in gold, most Adelaide Ingot electrotypes traded on the collector market are from one of two sources:

Edwin Sawtell

Sawtell was a highly respected “chronometer and nautical instrument maker” who operated several businesses in Adelaide between 1853 and 1889. Reportedly he jointly-owned an Adelaide Ingot with politician Thomas Reynolds and headmaster Thomas Walters, who quite conceivably came together to preserve a unique item of South Australia’s heritage. Today their ingot is held in the Dixson Collection, part of the State Library of New South Wales.

Sawtell_Adelaide-Ingot

Edwin Sawtell electrotype duplicate of an 1852 Adelaide Ingot.

Sawtell’s electrotypes are extremely accurate duplicates, made within 40 years of the ingots being in circulation. They are readily identified by the name ‘SAWTELL’ being punched into one corner of the electrotype, and remain prized by collectors to this day for their rarity and historical importance.

George Wilkins

Wilkins has been described as one of the more “colourful” dealers that were active when coin collecting was at its peak in the mid-1960s. His electrotypes feature a small ‘GW’ within a circle, punched into one corner on the front.

The genuine ingot that Wilkins duplicated has been held by the State Library of NSW in the Dixson collection since 1912, suggesting he either had direct access to items in the Dixson collection, illicit access to the Dixson collection, or produced his electrotypes from an existing electrotype, as produced by Sawtell.

Wilkins_Adelaide-Ingot

George Wilkins electrotype duplicate of an 1852 Adelaide Ingot.

Made in base metal and uniface (blank reverse), they’re somewhat softer in the detail. Comparing one with the level of detail on an electrotype produced by Sawtell, we can also see that sections of the legend are missing. Nevertheless, Wilkins’ versions are highly sought-after.

Electrotypes of the Adelaide Ingots at Auction

Electrotypes of the Adelaide Ingots have been seen at numismatic auctions since at least 1973. In March of that year, auctioneers Geoff K Gray sold two versions from the collection of Gilbert Heyde, former President of the Australian Numismatic Society. Both items made $310 – equivalent to several Kookaburra pattern pennies, and more than a complete set of 1938 proof coins. In more recent years, Adelaide Ingot electrotypes have sold for up to $6,000 via auction.

Each of the Adelaide Ingot electrotypes that are available to collectors today has a unique appeal, depending on the original ingot it was duplicated from, and depending on the producer of the electrotype. They all remain an affordable and accurate representation of one of Australia’s rarest and most historic numismatic items.


Andrew Crellin’s numismatic career began at The Perth Mint. Subsequently he spent over a decade in Sydney with two of Australia’s leading numismatic dealers. In that time he wrote two acclaimed books on Australian numismatics, appraised The Perth Mint’s archival collection and was nominated to the position of Secretary of the Australasian Numismatic Dealer’s Association. Back in Perth, his company Sterling and Currency specialises in Australian coins and banknotes, from the Holey Dollar of 1813 through to the modern coin sets.

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Nov 042014
 

Found throughout mainland Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey, and with a wingspan of up to 2.7 metres, one of the biggest eagles in the world.

Identified by its long, wedge-shaped tail and feathered legs, the majestic bird is known to soar through the sky for hours on end, frequently reaching altitudes of up to 20,000 metres.

The Perth Mint is proud to issue this beautiful high relief coin featuring John Mercanti’s masterly portrayal of a Wedge-Tailed Eagle preparing to land. Made from 2oz of 99.99% pure gold, the magnificent tribute to Australia’s iconic eagle has a maximum mintage of just 1,000.


Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 2014 2oz Gold Proof High Relief Coin

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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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