The Wedge-Tailed Eagle series was released in January of 2014. Many refer to this series as the Australian counterpart to the American Silver Eagle series, which began 28 years earlier in 1986. Similarly to the American Eagle, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, or "wedgies" as the locals say, is a symbol of power, patriotism, and the official symbol of the Australian National Defense Force. Each coin has been struck from 1 Troy oz. .999 fine silver and is backed by the Australian government for the amount of $1. The first release in the series had a limited mintage of only 50,000 coins. After meeting an overwhelming response by collectors around the world, the Perth Mint celebrated the success and first anniversary of the Wedge-Tailed Eagle by producing coins with high relief proof finishes.
As all other coins that have been produced by the Perth Mint and are legal tender, these coins bear the effigy of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Ian Rank-Broadley was the artist who created this design. Rank-Broadley's goal was to portray Her Majesty in a regal manner without meaningless flattery. Rank-Broadley once said, "There is no need to flatter her. She's a 70-year old woman with poise and bearing. Once doesn't need to see a rather distant mark." This allowed the general public to really see Her Majesty in a new light.
The reverse of the Wedge-Tailed Eagle was designed by American sculptor and engraver, John Mercanti, 12th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. As a master engraver and designer of the more coins than any other employee in the history of the United States Mint, it's no wonder that the Perth Mint relied on Mercanti's expertise and skill. While the obverse remains constant through the years, the reverse will be adjusted every year. The original release depicted a Wedge-Tailed Eagle that is amount to land on a bare branch.