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Australian Lunar Gold Coins honoring the animals of the Chinese Lunar Calendar have been minted annually since 1996. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is a twelve-year repeating calendar dating back to ancient times. Each year has an animal associated with it representing the qualities of the people born in that year.
All Australian Gold Lunar Coins struck at the Perth Mint display a similar design format. The reverse shows the Lunar animal, a Chinese Character representative of that animal, the date, and the weight of the coin. The obverse of each features a stately portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Australia, and the denomination in Australia Dollars.
Since the first 1996 Gold Lunar Coin featured the Year of the Rat, the mint is now well into its second Lunar series. With each passing year, this continuous stream of new desirable Lunar Gold Coins increases collector interest around the world, and as new collectors actively seek out the previous years' designs to complete their collections, it not only makes the previous years' coins harder to find, it also emphasizes the importance of securing Chinese Lunar Gold Coins from Australia the year they are issued, before they sell out.
The Perth Mint strikes a wide variety of Gold Lunar Coin sizes. All are minted in .999 Fine Gold and have a legal tender denomination in Australian Dollars.
The $15 Lunar Gold Proof is struck in one-tenth Troy ounce pure gold, the $25 Lunar Gold Proof is struck in one-quarter Troy ounce pure gold, the $50 Lunar Gold Proof is one-half Troy ounce gold, the $100 Lunar Gold Proof is one Troy ounce pure gold, the $200 Lunar Gold Proof is two Troy ounces pure gold, the $1,000 Lunar Gold Proof is ten Troy ounces pure gold and the massive $3,000 Lunar Gold Proof is one Kilogram pure gold.
In addition, the mint strikes the $25 quarter-ounce and the $100 one-ounce Lunar Gold Coins in spectacular Proof condition.
The Royal Australian Mint has also released a $10 Legal Tender Year of the Monkey Commemorative Coin in Proof condition. The coin features a monkey in a tree on the reverse and a Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. Struck in .9999 "Four Nines" fine gold, the Proof is one of the purest gold Lunar Coins struck anywhere. Its incredibly low mintage of only 1,500 Proofs makes it extremely desirable.