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January will see the debut of the 2019 Australia $1 1-oz Silver Wedge Tailed Eagle uncirculated coin, which features a new design on each side for the first time since the series started in 2014. These spectacular coins are struck at the Perth Mint in Western Australia – a global leader in precious metal coin production and innovative coin designs, concepts, and technologies.
Designed by renowned metallic artist and engraver John Mercanti, the stunning and dynamic new reverse shows a wedge tailed eagle in flight, with its large wings spread and its talons forward, as it prepared to close in on its prey.
Crafted from 1 oz of .999 fine silver, the new bullion release of this globally popular coin will have a mintage limited to 50,000 coins, which is the same as the mintage of the 2014 and 2018 coins – the lowest for the series. The series ranks in the top three best-selling ones at the Perth Mint.
Wedge Tailed Eagle coins are also offered in a range of different sizes, finishes, and metals at different price points such as the popular 1-oz high-relief silver proof and the 2-oz silver piedfort that debuted in 2018. During the course of 2019, we will also have those coins available for sale.
We are the exclusive worldwide distributor for the series except for Australia.
The Wedge Tailed Eagle series was born out of US-Australian collaboration when our company introduced John Mercanti, the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint who has produced more coins and medals than any other U.S. Mint employee, to the Perth Mint. This marked the first time an American artist had created a design for a coin of a foreign mint, something which Mercanti said he considered a real honor.
Mercanti was selected for this project because of his stellar reputation and impressive body of work, including the most well-known eagle design that appears on a modern U.S. coin -- the reverse of the American Silver Eagle which has been issued since 1986. He also created the obverse design for the American Platinum Eagle issued since 1997 as well over 100 other U.S. coins. The latter include, for example, the 1986 Statue of Liberty silver dollar and the obverse of the 2000 Library of Congress $10 bimetal coin.
When he was asked to create the first design for the new Wedge Tailed Eagle series in 2014, Mr. Mercanti said he wanted to depict the bird in an original way. As Perth officials said in an interview at the time with Mercanti, “There is no doubting the power and splendor of this mighty bird from John’s superb portrayal. To satisfy the requirement for a unique viewpoint, he chose to capture an eagle preparing to land on the branch of a dead tree.” “I decided to show the eagle in flight, approaching the stump, wings spread so that the viewer could see the majesty of the wings,” Mercanti said.
The obverse features a new royal portrait of Queen Elizabeth II deigned by Jody Clark, one of the British Royal Mint’s most well-known and accomplished artists best known for designed the current effigy of the Queen that appears on British coins. In the new Australian effigy, she appears facing right as usual and wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem that she wore for her coronation in 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London. This design is also being used on coins issued by the Royal Australian Mint, which issues coins for circulation and collector issues.
Eagles, which are a symbol of freedom, spirit, and strength, are something that both countries share, even though the U.S. is known for a different type of eagle, the bald eagle found in North America. The wedge tailed eagle, found in Australia, Tasmania, and southern New Guinea, is one of the largest birds in the world and the largest bird of prey in Australia – known for its huge wing span of 8.2 feet and its wedge-shaped tail from which its name derives. It is featured on the badge of the Royal Australian Air Force, just as bald eagle feature prominently in the U.S. such as on the presidential seal.
The various versions of the 2014 coin that shows the eagle’s feather in intricate detail were so appreciated by collectors and so successful for the mint, that Perth decided to use the same image for the 2015 coins.
Then for 2016 and 2017, the dynamic story of the wedge tailed eagle was continued with a new design showing him sitting on that dead tree branch, and then for 2018 an entire family of eagles was featured with a large mother eagle tending to its baby, and the father flying above.
The 2019 design continues the story with a design showing the eagle flying in the air as it begins its descent to close in on its prey with multiple rays circling the eagle in the background. This design will be used for one year only, so collectors can now look forward to another exciting design each year in the future.
Each reverse also features inscriptions for the name of the series, year, weight, and purity as well as the traditional “P” mint mark for the Perth Mint.
Like most other bullion coins from Perth, each coin leaves the mint in a protective plastic capsule, helping to ensure that each piece is of the highest quality.