A world silver bullion coin series that has received a lot of attention this year is the Australian Lunar series. These coins are produced by the Perth Mint and feature the 12 animals of the ancient Chinese Lunar Calendar. Each animal is believed to influence people born under its rule, leading to prominence of certain personality traits.
The Lunar Series I ran from 1999 to 2010, followed by the Lunar Series II, which began in 2008 and will run until 2019.
The releases for the current series will be as follows:
- 2008 Mouse
- 2009 Ox
- 2010 Tiger
- 2011 Rabbit
- 2012 Dragon
- 2013 Snake
- 2014 Horse
- 2015 Goat
- 2016 Monkey
- 2017 Rooster
- 2018 Dog
- 2019 Pig
The silver bullion coins are struck in .999 purity and currently come in seven different sizes ranging from 1/2 ounce to 10 kilo. For the 2012 releases featuring the Year of the Dragon, maximum mintages were established for the one ounce size at 300,000 and the 10 kilo size at 500.
Specifications for each of the silver bullion coins available are shown below.
Lunar Series II Silver Bullion Coins
|10 kilo||321.510 oz||300 AUD||10,010 g||221 mm||33 mm|
|1 kilo||32.151 oz||30 AUD||1,001.002 g||100.6 mm||14.6 mm|
|10 oz||10 oz||10 AUD||311.347 g||85.6 mm||6.6 mm|
|5 oz||5 oz||8 AUD||155.673 g||65.6 mm||5.8 mm|
|2 oz||2 oz||2 AUD||62.270 g||55.6 mm||3.6 mm|
|1 oz||1 oz||1 AUD||31.135 g||45.6 mm||2.6 mm|
|1/2 oz||0.5 oz||0.50 AUD||15.591 g||36.6 mm||2.3 mm|
The Perth Mint’s silver bullion coins carry a higher quality finish than typically used for bullion. The coins feature a frosted table, which includes the fields and some lettering, with mirrored design elements. This makes for a stunning presentation of the design, which is resembles a reverse proof finish.
The Year of the Dragon has been a particularly popular release of the series. The silver bullion coins were first released on September 1, 2011. Within about a month, the entire maximum mintage for the one ounce sized coins had been produced and sold. The relatively limited mintage and high demand resulted in immediate higher prices for the coins, which were initially priced by some bullion dealers at more than $100 each.
Also within the opening month, the Perth Mint suspended taking new orders for 1/2 oz, 2 oz, and 5 oz silver bullion coins in response to “unprecedented levels of demand, which was stretching production capacity to the limit.” The Perth Mint resumed accepting orders for these sizes, which are not subject to a maximum mintage but will have an unlimited mintage until the close of production at the end of 2012.
For anyone interested in the final sales figures for prior year Australian Lunar Series silver bullion coins, you can find that information here.
The Lunar series silver coins have also been offered in a wide array of numismatic versions with limited mintages. This year’s collector coins and products featuring the Year of the Dragon have all been quickly scooped up by collectors. These releases have included numerous colored versions, gilded versions, proof coins, a gem stone edition, and high relief.
Looking ahead in the Perth Mint’s product schedule, a five ounce silver proof version of the is scheduled for release on June 5.
This post continues an exploration of the different silver bullion coins from world mints.