Australian Lunar Silver Bullion Coins

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

Size Silver Content Denom Weight Diameter Thickness
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.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’d like to get the 5 oz proof….but it’ll probably be $500.

    Off topic….my Chinese “Dragons of Legend” coins are now “picked”…how are everyones coming along? I look forward to seeing them in person.

  2. VABEACHBUM says

    Michael – I note with interest that Series I and Series II had “over-lapped” for three years. How did that work?? Did they literally issue one coin for each series simultaneously during each of those years?? Or did each of those 3 coins belong to each series?? I’m asking because I honestly don’t know, but think it could lead to some collecting challenges.

    WRT the DOL #2, my coin has dispatched. Should receive it on Monday or Tuesday.

  3. Shutter says

    VABEACHBUM,

    Yes, they did issue 2 silver coins for those years. The only collecting challenge was having to spend more money. The design was different for the 1st series. If you search eBay for something like “2010 australia tiger”, you will see the different designs.

    Their problem was that they decided to start the silver series before the end of the cycle.

  4. says

    My DoL and other coins also shipped last night. I’m expecting them Monday or Tuesday.

    On the five ounce silver proof, I think the lowest potential price will be $450. That is what they charged for the five ounce koala. I agree with Steve’s comment that a price of $500 is likely. I’m going to have to think about whether I’ll eat that price to get the coin. I would definitely like it, but a $450-$500 price is pretty painful.

  5. Two Cents says

    Regarding the possible $500 price tag for the upcoming Dragon 5-ouncer, it kind of makes the US Mint’s ATB 5-ouncers look like bargains.

    Speaking of which, where the heck are the 2012s? I hope the Mint doesn’t cancel the numismatic 5-oz. coins. I do hope they are waiting for the precious-metals volatility to settle down (preferably at a much lower level) before putting the new prices on the Federal Register — would love to get them at $175 or thereabouts.

  6. Louis says

    Got my HR Kookaburra today. It’s a terrific coin, one of the best of the year for sure.

  7. G says

    my DOL coins were ordered with talisman and downies so… i’m not sure when they will arrive. on a different note- my 2012 libertad BUs are on their way, and i’m waiting for the proof to be made available (got an order in for 1).

  8. Travlr says

    About the 5 oz Dragon coming out on the 5th. I noticed the other day that Talisman has a 2012 “reverse proof” 5 oz for sale for $218.88. Is this considered a bullion version then? Even so that seems a fair price. So in turn it would stand to reason that the “proof” version price would be closer to that than the $500 previously mentioned, correct?

    Thanks for the post, Michael. And the News letter I am sure will be as big a hit as your blogs!

  9. D says

    Travlr

    The “reverse proof” 5oz on Talisman is the bullion version (quite a few of these bullion coins tend to have a “reverse proof”-like appearance). One can acquire a 5oz bullion dragon for less than that price (~$183 on APMEX…I don’t know if that one will be rev proof-like or not, but it is definitely the same bullion coin). That also means that the proof version would not likely be close to that (they sell 1oz proof coins for ~$100, so the $400-$500 price tag that others have predicted will probably be correct for the proof).

  10. says

    Travrlr…the Perth Mint currently has a 5 oz Proof Silver Koala for sale at a price of $450, so the 5 oz Proof Silver Dragon will also be at least $450.

  11. Louis says

    Travir,
    It’s debatable whether they are really reverse proof. They do not come with a box or COA, just a capsule. In any event, APMEX had them on sale for about $175 last week. You may want to try them first. There is also a 10 ounce version in color for twice that amount. Personally, I would not pay a large premium over melt for those kind of coins. You will be hard pressed to get more than melt if you decide to part with them unless you find someone on e-Bay willing to pay extra. The ones from Perth will have more collectible value, but I would not pay $500 for 5 ounces of silver no matter what it is.

  12. Travlr says

    Louis,
    I’m with you….$500 ($450, Thanks Steve) seems quite steep for 5 oz, especially when there is a version of it out allready for so much less. I prefer having the box and COA but there is not $250 – 300 of value there. Does anyone think they could tell the differance between the “bullion” version and the one released on the 5th? Would be interesting to see….

  13. Samuel says

    Travlr. “differance between the “bullion” version and the one released on the 5th?”
    the proof one is going to be very shiny!

  14. says

    Travlr,

    The bullion and proofs are different. While I don’t have the standard proof, I do have the colored proof. They are pretty obviously different if you compare them side by side, much like a typical reverse proof and regular proof coin are different (if you have the 25th anniversary silver eagle set, that’s a good way to compare).

    Incidentally, there is now a proof silver dragon in existence for every size except the ten ounce variety.

  15. Schalk says

    The only Perth Mint coins worth investing for 2012 (so far):

    1) The 2 Oz Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II gold proof of which 60 coins were minted – Release price $5700 now selling between $15000 to $20000;
    2) The 2 Oz 2012 Australian Olympic Team gold proof coin, of which 30 were minted – Release price $5700 now selling between $20000 and $30000.
    3) The 3-coin Year of the Dragon silver proof set (2oz, 1oz, 1/2 oz). Release price $450 Now selling between $1500 – $2500.

  16. G says

    Don- I ordered them from “Don Bailey Coins”- they are the best source for libertads.

  17. Jeremy says

    Apmex currently has the black dragon. I was curious if anyone here was interested in these. There seems to be quite a demand for them.

    CO or anyone that knows, they are listed with a mintage claim of 5000, However, that isn’t quite accurate, is it?

  18. Rolling Thunder says

    “jeremy”
    yes – 5,000 black “Berlin” dragons in fancy boxes w/COA
    + 20,000 in 9-coin Asia sets
    + 2,500 in Perth 10-coin sets
    So total of 27,500 black colored 1 oz silver dragons

  19. Two Cents says

    Too bad the Perth Mint didn’t differentiate the variously packaged Black Dragons on the coins themselves, such as hidden dots in the design, or even a miniscule “B” for the Berlin Show coin, a “9” for the 9-coin China set, and a “10” for the 10-coin Perth set.

    In the beginning, when the Berlin Dragon came out, there was a great amount of interest in them (only 5,000 !!!) and prices soon shot to over $200. When more Black Dragons came on the market in the so-called limited sets, the prices dropped below $150, and can now be bought for $125 or so.

  20. Wes says

    I am wondering when the next Opal coin will be released? This is a series of Nocturnal animals. Is this going to be an annual release? The Koala coin sold out quickly with a one per household limit from the Perth mint even though you could still buy more from dealers.

  21. Wes says

    Michael, Thank you for that quick response and information. Next one should be out by August but could be anytime before year ends.

  22. natatack says

    I vote for an opal dragon for 2012, I’d perfer that over the Koala. I think it would have worldwide appeal.

  23. Wes says

    Natatak,That would go fast. Dragons are Nocturnal so it still might happen. Maybe they’ll make a Hobbit Opel coin too.

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