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The Perth Mint has released the latest edition of its wildly popular Lunar Series II collection. Lunar Series II is among the most popular series among collectors every year. This is due in large part to the annual changes in the design and the consistently exceptional quality of the pieces that the Perth Mint produces.
Lunar Series II began in 2008 following the success of Lunar Series I, which ended in 2007. The two series offer collectors some fantastic opportunities to put together full, modern sets. Collectors may choose Brilliant Uncirculated or Proof sets, choose to collect a specific size or sizes of each edition, or even choose to collect the full set each year, which includes both gold and silver coins. There are several types of coins issued each year, including colorized and gilded editions. Some collectors also choose to give the coins as gifts to those who were born in a corresponding lunar year.
Lunar Series II began in 2008 with the Year of the Rat. The rat represents the first year of the Chinese zodiac. It was chosen for that position because it is a prolific breeder. The animal is among the most despised in Western culture, but the Perth Mint’s depiction of the creature on its coins is a far cry from the disgusting creatures one might find in landfills. In fact, even some collectors with severe musophobia could not help but be drawn to the designs.
While every release of the series has been popular, 2012 was an especially important year. 2012 was the Year of the Dragon, the most important creature in Chinese mythology. Dragons, which are considered friendly in Asian culture, play a major role in Chinese culture even today, with the creatures often celebrated on such occasions as the Chinese New Year. The dragon is thought to control water, including rainfall, typhoons, and floods, and it symbolizes strength, power, and good fortune. To mark the occasion, the Perth Mint released a set of ten Year of the Dragon silver coins. One of the ten was not colorized, while each of the other nine bore the same design but with a colorized dragon. Just 2,500 sets were minted, and collectors around the world sought to be among the few to own a complete set.
In 2019, the mint closes out Lunar Series II with the Year of the Pig, which technically runs from February 5, 2019-January 24, 2020. The pig is considered social, inquisitive, and highly intelligent. They are also considered to have the ability to bring wealth to people.
The first issues in the final edition of the series are the Gold and Silver Proofs, which have just been released. The gold and silver designs differ from each other, and all the proofs have strictly limited mintages. The low mintages of these coins make them all the more prized by the handful of collectors who manage to get their hands on them.
The gold coins have a single pig strutting proudly in left-side profile. The pig holds its head high with its nose up. A tree branch extends over the animal, which is rendered in fine detail, and a little grass grows in the background, providing a symbolic setting. The Chinese character for “pig” is inscribed at the top, while “YEAR OF THE PIG” is inscribed in English at the bottom. All of the details about the individual coin, including its weight and purity, are among the inscriptions that encircle Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, on the obverse.
Gold proofs were issued in three weights: 1 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz. The two smaller coins each have maximum mintages of 8,000 pieces. This is a reference to the number 8 being considered lucky in Chinese culture. The one-ounce piece has a lower mintage of just 6,000 pieces.
The silver proofs show a mother pig in left-side profile. Like the pig on the gold coin, she has her nose tilted slightly upward. A tree branch also extends over her, in this case from the right side of the coin. Four baby pigs are on the ground next to her. “YEAR OF THE PIG” and the Chinese character for “pig” are also included, as is the Perth Mint’s “P” mint mark. As with the gold version, the mint mark is on the right side of the reverse. It is considered a symbol of quality throughout the world.
Four silver proofs were issued, including a kilo, 2 oz., 1 oz., and 1/2 oz. piece. Maximum mintages of the coins are 9,000 for the half ounce, 8,500 for the one ounce, 2,000 for the 2 oz., and just 500 for the kilo.
Additional releases in the final edition of the Lunar Series II series will follow soon. They will include bullion coins and colorized pieces. As in other years, these coins will likely inspire those who missed out on the initial releases to try to complete full sets, so the sooner you acquire yours, the better!
Perth Mint’s Lunar Series II has been one of the most popular series in the world for collectors of all kinds over the past decade. It has given collectors the opportunity to assemble full collections, varying by edition, size, and metal, over a manageable period of time, something that series that go on indefinitely, such as the Kookaburra and the Britannia, do not. What’s more is that the quality of each of the releases has been up to the high standards set by and expected of the Perth Mint, arguably the best reputed in the world.