The Perth Mint in Western Australia is well-known around the world for its collector coins, as well as its various series of silver bullion coins. Their popular series include the Silver Lunar I and II series, Silver Kookaburras, Silver Koalas, and beginning in 2014, Silver Wedge-Tailed Eagles. Those four coins are all sold in Perth Mint capsules and because most have rather low mintages, they trade as semi-numismatic or numismatic coins, especially older issues.
On September 21, 2015 the Perth Mint began offering a new silver bullion coin, the Australian Silver Kangaroo. This new silver coin, only issued in the weight of 1 Troy oz., was designed to complement Perth’s existing line of silver bullion coins. The Australian Kangaroo features the classic red kangaroo design by Stuart Devlin, surrounded by a background of radiating sun rays. This design previously appeared on Perth Mint's 1 Kilo and 1 Ton Gold Kangaroos, but never on a silver coin.
Like other Perth Mint coins, these Silver Kangaroos have a “P” Mint mark. Unlike other silver bullion coins issued by the Perth Mint, these coins are also the first bullion issues that are struck in .9999 (four nines) fine silver. To forge an even wider gap between these and other silver bullion coins, they are sold inside of a 25 coin tube, instead of a roll of capsules, and have no mintage limit. Similarly to many other major world silver bullion coins such as American Silver Eagles and Canadian Silver Maple Leafs, these Silver Kangaroos are issued to demand. That demand, it seems, was quite large.
On July 20th this year, the Perth Mint announced that sales of their Silver Kangaroos had reached the 10 million mark! This makes the Silver Kangaroo the world’s third most popular silver bullion coin after the American Silver Eagle and Canadian Silver Maple Leafs. This great success with the new Australian silver bullion coin on its first year of issue could be due, in part, to the efforts of the Perth Mint marketing towards the U.S.
In some aspects, the Silver Kangaroos were “aimed at winning a bigger slice of the lucrative U.S. market,” according to a June 20 article in the Wall Street Journal, which focuses on the how these coins have become so popular among U.S. buyers. That popularity caught Perth by surprise, which required the Mint to rapidly expand its production capacity in order to create enough coins for American stackers and collectors.
In June, Perth’s Chief Executive Richard Hayes said: “We thought we’d sell five million in the first year, then maybe 7.5 million in the second year as the coin became more well-known - but the best-laid plans don’t always go the way you expect. We’ve had to ramp up far more quickly and the five million we planned to sell in the first year, we will more than double.”
A month later, at the end of July, Hayes said: “Now that we can better gauge the popularity of the release, we predict sales in excess of 12 million this coming year.”
To make these coins more appealing to silver stackers, the Mint did several things. First, it decided to package the coins in boxes of 250 coins (ten rolls of 25 coins), which are designed to take up less space than the capsules the Perth Mint typically uses. The Kangaroos were also given a special authentication feature - a micro-engraved “A” in the word “AUSTRALIAN,” that can only be seen under a magnifying glass.
According to Hayes, they also decided it was important to: “secure an asset which features an Australian icon; to secure silver at an affordable price; to add 9999 fine silver to their portfolio; and to stack precious metals in convenient 1 oz. coins.”
These measures have clearly been successful with about two-thirds of the coins being sold to U.S. distributors, with the rest going to the German market. So far sales in Asia have only been nominal, but that could change if their tax treatment is eventually changed. Singapore currently imposes a 7% fee on the coins, according to the June 20 Wall Street Journal piece.
Coin dealers in the U.S. add that it is the kangaroo design in particular that also makes the coins so popular. Although American buyers are familiar with other iconic Australian animals - the kookaburra, koala, and crocodile - none of them are as readily identifiable as Australian as the kangaroo is.
Demand for these coins likely also stems from the silver stacker's constant quest to find high-quality, attractive coins sold at a very small premium over its melt value.
There is an interesting twist to these coins, which I discussed in a June 21 article in CoinWeek titled The Coin Analyst: Australian Silver Kangaroo Series Began in 2015, Not 2016.
It turns out that the 2016 Kangaroo is technically not the first issue in the series. A 2015 coin was struck with a mintage of just 300,000 pieces, and was only made available for sale this past summer.
The 2015 coins are in many ways a prototype or forerunner to the 2016 coins since, as I wrote in my article, there are several physical differences “between the 2015 and 2016 issues: the 2015 coins have a silver purity of three nines rather than four and they have a different finish (frosted or matte rather than brilliant). There are also design elements–small wavy lines that circle around the outer edge of the design are present on both the obverse and reverse of the 2016 coin–that do not appear on the 2015 issue. Instead, the relevant area is blank and frosted.
2015 Silver Kangaroo coins have a relatively unfinished appearance compared to the 2016 issue. For example, most Perth bullion series feature reverse proof surfaces rather than the duller matte finish of the 2015 coin.”
ModernCoinMart carries a large number of 2016-P Australia $1 1 oz. Silver Kangaroos that you can add to your collection or silver stack.Browse their ever-growing inventory today and enjoy free, domestic shipping on everything you order.
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|