Blog 56: Australian Bullion Coins: Delving into the World of Down Under's Precious Metal Treasures


Australia is renowned for its rich deposits of gold and other precious metals, making it a prime location for mining and minting high-quality bullion coins. With a long history of producing exquisite gold and silver coins, Australia has become a major player in the global precious metals market. In this article, we will explore the world of Australian bullion coins, examining their history, designs, and the various mints responsible for producing these highly sought-after collectibles and investments.

The Early Days: The Sydney Mint and the Australian Gold Rush

In the mid-19th century, the discovery of gold in Australia led to a gold rush that attracted prospectors from all over the world. To facilitate the conversion of mined gold into currency, the British government established the Sydney Mint in 1855. The Sydney Mint produced several gold coin denominations, including the iconic Australian Sovereign and Half-Sovereign, which featured the portrait of Queen Victoria on the obverse and a rendition of the Australian coat of arms on the reverse.

The Perth Mint: A Legacy of Quality and Innovation

Established in 1899, the Perth Mint has a long history of producing high-quality bullion coins. Originally founded as a branch of the British Royal Mint, the Perth Mint became wholly owned by the Western Australian government in 1970. Today, the Perth Mint is renowned for its innovative designs and world-class minting technology, making it one of the most respected mints in the precious metals industry.

  1. Gold Kangaroo: The Gold Kangaroo, first minted in 1986 as the Gold Nugget, is the Perth Mint's flagship gold bullion coin. The coin's design was changed in 1989 to feature a kangaroo, which has become an iconic symbol of Australia. The Gold Kangaroo is minted in various sizes, ranging from 1/20 ounce to 1 kilogram, and is struck from .9999 fine gold.

  2. Silver Kookaburra: First issued in 1990, the Silver Kookaburra is the Perth Mint's flagship silver bullion coin. Struck from .999 fine silver, the coin features a new kookaburra design each year, making it highly popular among collectors. The Silver Kookaburra is available in 1 ounce, 2 ounces, 10 ounces, and 1 kilogram sizes.

  3. Platinum Platypus: Introduced in 2011, the Platinum Platypus is the Perth Mint's first platinum bullion coin. Struck from .9995 fine platinum, the coin features an image of the unique Australian platypus on the reverse and is available in a 1-ounce size.

  4. Gold and Silver Lunar Series: The Perth Mint's Lunar Series, which began in 1996 with the first Gold Lunar coins and expanded to include silver coins in 1999, is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. Each year, a new coin design is released, depicting one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. These coins are highly sought after for their unique designs and limited mintages.

  5. Other Bullion Coins: In addition to the aforementioned coins, the Perth Mint also produces a variety of other bullion coins featuring Australian wildlife, such as the Silver Koala, Gold Emu, and Silver Swan, as well as commemorative coins for special events and anniversaries.

The Royal Australian Mint: A Modern Minting Powerhouse

Established in 1965 in Canberra, the Royal Australian Mint is the sole producer of Australia's circulating coinage. In addition to minting circulating coins, the Royal Australian Mint also produces a variety of bullion 

coins for collectors and investors.

  1. Gold and Silver Kangaroo: The Royal Australian Mint also produces Gold and Silver Kangaroo coins, which are distinct from the Perth Mint's Gold Kangaroo series. These coins feature various designs of kangaroos on the reverse and are struck in .9999 fine gold and .999 fine silver.

  2. Australian Nugget: The Royal Australian Mint has released limited-edition Australian Nugget gold bullion coins, which pay homage to the original Gold Nugget coins minted by the Perth Mint. These coins showcase different gold nugget designs and are struck from .9999 fine gold.

  3. Commemorative Bullion Coins: The Royal Australian Mint produces a range of commemorative bullion coins, often to mark significant events, such as the ANZAC centenary or the Lunar New Year. These coins are struck in gold, silver, or other precious metals and feature unique designs, making them popular among collectors.

Tips for Collecting and Investing in Australian Bullion Coins

  1. Research: Familiarize yourself with the different Australian bullion coins, their designs, and the mints responsible for producing them. Understanding the nuances of each coin will help you make informed decisions when building your collection or investment portfolio.

  2. Buy from Reputable Dealers: To ensure that you are purchasing authentic Australian bullion coins, buy from reputable dealers known for their expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction. This will help protect you from counterfeit coins and unscrupulous sellers.

  3. Store Safely: Store your Australian bullion coins in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box, to protect them from theft, damage, or loss. Proper storage will help preserve the value and condition of your coins over time.

  4. Diversify: Consider diversifying your collection or investment by acquiring a mix of gold, silver, and platinum Australian bullion coins. This diversification can help protect your wealth from market fluctuations and provide a well-rounded representation of Australia's rich numismatic history.


Australian bullion coins offer a fascinating glimpse into the nation's rich history, culture, and natural beauty. With their exceptional quality, intricate designs, and historical significance, these coins are not only valuable investments but also treasured collectibles that celebrate Australia's unique identity. By understanding the history and unique attributes of Australian bullion coins, you can make informed decisions as you build your collection or invest in precious metals.

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