The Royal Australian Mint takes an interesting approach to selling one of their low mintage gold proof coins. Since the mintage is presumably smaller than the anticipated demand, they accept ballots from customers and conduct a drawing to determine who can order the coin.
I recently received the latest Royal Australian Mint catalog, which includes the 2012 Wheat Sheaf $10 Gold Proof Coin. This coin features a design of three wheat sheafs with a ribbon encircling the steam of each stalk. The design was used for the pre-decimal Australian threepence and revived this year to highlight Australia’s important industry of wheat production.
Earlier this year, aluminum bronze and silver proof versions of the coin were made available. See coverage on Coin Update. The silver proof version with “C” mint mark (shown above) is limited to 12,500. Each coin is struck in 99.9% silver with a weight of 11.66 grams. These coins can be ordered on the Royal Australian Mint’s website or by mail.
The 1/10 ounce gold coin is struck in 99.99% purity and has a limited mintage of 2,500. The only way to order this coin is by completing a ballot and having it selected from the drawing. Each ballot form must be completed with payment information and is identified with a customer number.
The terms of the ballot include:
- Only one ballot form per customer number per envelope is accepted.
- Ballots must be received by April 23, 2012.
- The ballots are drawn by the Royal Australian Mint CEO on April 24, 2012 with the drawing scrutinized by an independent security guard.
- Each valid ballot form selected entitles a customer to purchase one 2012 Wheat Sheaf $10 Gold Proof Coin.
- Out of the total mintage there will be 2,498 coins available, with two coins reserved for the National Coin Collection.
- Additional ballots are drawn in the event of coins becoming available.
- All unsuccessful ballots are securely destroyed.
The release of the proof gold version is the first time I have seen a world mint use balloting to allocate low mintage coins. From a marketing standpoint, I think it adds an element of excitement. Customers with successful ballots may feel like they have won something, when actually they are buying something. Also collectors who might not have necessarily ordered the coin outright, may fill out the ballot to see if they will “win.”
On the other hand, dedicated collectors of a series or completists may not enjoy the balloting process since there is a chance they won’t be able to purchase the coin.
What do readers think- Is balloting a good way to allocate low mintage coins? Does it discourage the most loyal customers? Is it just a marketing technique?