Younger and lesser known than its ‘big brother,’ Perth Mint, the Royal Australian Mint has begun to take its place among the giants of modern numismatics. The government of the Commonwealth approved its construction in 1962, and broke ground the following year. On February 22, 1965, Prince Philip officially opened the Mint.
The Australian Mint is paving its own road to numismatic distinction. Collectors with interests in history and sport in particular would do well to follow the mint’s new releases. The first mint in the world to gain accreditation to International Quality Standards ISO 9001, the Australian Mint is earning its place in the hearts and collections of hobbyists around the world.
Circulating coins are at the heart of the operation and are a major part of the reason that the facility has become a tourist attraction. The facility mints 650 coins every minute from copper, nickel, and aluminum. These include commemorative coins that celebrate significant people, events, and organizations that have influenced Australian society, but the bulk of the reverse designs bear Australian fauna. One notable example is the $2 coin, which features an image of an Aboriginal elder.
The Mint also produces collector coins, bullion coins, and premium coins. Collector coins are struck with a variety of finishes and themes. Often functioning as gifts or souvenirs, these coins are made for people on different budgets and have a wide variety of themes. Bullion are struck from precious metals and have high mintages relative to premium coins. These coins would most appeal to “stackers,” collectors who are primarily concerned with the weight of precious metals coins. The final category, premium products, are also made from precious metals, but these have lower mintages. For collectors who value quality and scarcity, these are the crème de la crème.
Australia’s most famous animal, the kangaroo, frequently appears on coins and series struck at the Mint. The designs on these Kangaroo coins are different from those that are struck at the Perth Mint. In 2018, for example, the Mint celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Gold Kangaroo Series. It also issued a Kangaroo Seasons Change Silver Collection.
Like its counterpart in Perth, the Mint also has a Lunar Series. Unlike the Perth Mint’s series, which features a bullion issue but also includes variation releases, such as gilt, colorized, and proof coins, the Australian Mint’s lunar series is limited to proofs and is a highly exclusive issue. In fact, just 3,500 one-ounce silver poofs are issued, while 1,000 quarter ounce gold proofs are issued.
The Australian Mint also commemorates and celebrates its rich and unique history through a variety of issues. On example is the Convict Era coins that were issued in 2018 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the era. A 1/10 oz gold coin and a one-ounce silver coin were issued along with a collector’s set to mark the occasion, making it possible for collectors on all budgets to celebrate the occasion.
Commemorations of military history and figures are also a popular theme for the mint, making it a favorite of students of the topic. One recent issue celebrated Sir john Manash, whose distinguished career included service in the Gallipoli Campaign, the Battle of Hamel, and the Battle of Amiens, among others. He earned awards not only from Britain but also France, Belgium, and the United States, which awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal. He was honored with a silver coin in 2018. 2018 gold and silver issues also marked the centennial anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.