Modern Australian gold coins are among the most beautiful and recognizable in the world. They are the product of an outstanding craftsmanship. Because of their beauty, purity and variety of sizes that fit different needs, they have become very popular for investment, especially, but not only, in the Asia Pacific region.
This article will help you get to know these coins, to focus on which of them, in my opinion, are the best for gold bullion investing and also to spot some issues.
Royal Australian Mint vs Perth Mint
Nowadays, two different Australian mints are all the modern Australian gold coins.
These two mints are both public owned, but they belong to different entities.
These mints are the Royal Australian Mint and the Perth Mint.
It is important to know that, in order to avoid confusion, since these two mints make different coins, but sometimes with similar subjects.
So, what’s the difference between them?
The Royal Australian Mint is located in Canberra and is property of the Australian Federal Government. It was founded in 1965, initially with the task to prepare the new decimal circulating coins for Australia.
Today the Royal Australian Mint is still the only authorized to produce the ordinary circulating coins, the coins used in everyday life in Australia.
The Royal Australian Mint also is authorized to strike precious metals legal tender uncirculating coins for collecting and investing.
The Perth Mint is owned by the government of Western Australia. It was founded much earlier, in 1899, as a branch of the Royal British Mint.
Nowadays, the Perth Mint is also authorized to mint and market precious metals Australian legal tender coinage to investors and collectors worldwide.
Australian Gold Coins for Investing
These two mints are worldwide famous for their amazing skills and technology, and rightly so. Every year, they issue and market many different gorgeous coins.
Anyway, you should bear in mind that many of their coinages command higher premiums or because they are minted in limited numbers or because they are high relief proof coins or both.
So, if your goal is to accumulate coins and bars as a way to invest in physical gold, you should focus on that are “cost effective”.
So, what are the most “cost effective” Australian gold coins. Let’s see them one by one …
1) Perth Mint Australian Gold Kangaroos, the Most Iconic
These are the most iconic Australian gold coins and also the most widely known and recognized. Here are the highlights of these famous coins:
- PM Gold Kangaroos are made of fine .9999 gold (24K).
- They come in 5 different sizes: 1 kg, 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz; in the past years, also 10 oz, 2 oz and 1/20 oz coins have been minted.
- Introduced in 1986 by Perth Mint.
- On the head they bear a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
- The tail of the coin sports a different subject every year. This is quite unique among gold bullion coins, and makes the Gold Kangaroos also collectible items.
- Gold Kangaroos are also famous for their two tones frosted surfaces.
- From 1986 to 1989 the reverse (tail) depicted famous gold nuggets found in Australia, each with its own name and year of find. This is why these coins are sometimes still called “Australian gold nuggets“.
- From 1990 onward the reverse image features one or more kangaroos. Initially (1990-1993), different species of kangaroos, then red kangaroos in different aspects of their life and environment.
- The larger size coins (2oz, 10oz, 1kg) reverse does not change every year but it keeps the same design of the red kangaroo that first appeared in 1990.
Perth Mint Gold Kangaroos are, by far, the most common Australian gold coins. These coins are among the best choices for buying the most “cost effective”, cheapest gold bullion.
2) Royal Australian Mint Gold Kangaroos
Also the Royal Australian Mint issues Gold Kangaroos bullion coins, of the same purity (.9999 – 24K) and similar sizes of those minted by Perth Mint.
The two coins differ in the design.
Royal Australian Mint Gold Kangaroo reverse features a jumping red kangaroo, the same image which decorated one penny pre-decimals coins before 1966, enriched with the leaves, nuts and flowers of a Tasmanian Blue Gum tree.
Differently from PM Gold Kangaroos, the design of the reverse does not change every year.
RAM Gold Kangaroos are distributed by PAMP and are securely sealed and identifiable through PAMP own bullion identification security system Veriscan.
3) Australian Gold Lunar Series
Both Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint issue their own Lunar gold coins, that celebrate each year one of the different 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.
Both mints make Lunar series gold coins with .9999 – 24K pure gold.
All these coins are among the most beautiful gold coins worldwide. They have proof quality finishes, which may bring higher premiums to their price.
For this reason, some dates may not be the best choice for bullion investing. You should check carefully the difference with gold spot price.
The Perth Mint first Australian Lunar Gold coin was minted in 1996 for the Year of the Mouse/Rat (I series).
Each cycle of the Chinese Zodiac lasts 12 years, so the Perth Mint has issued in 2020 again a coin for the Year of the Mouse (III series).
The Royal Australian Mint Lunar series started later, in 2007, with a Year of the Pig gold coin (I series).
In 2020, the Royal Australian Mint, too, issued a Year of the Mouse gold coin (II series).
4) Australian Gold Sovereigns
When Australia was part of the British Empire, Gold Sovereigns were minted in Sydney (from 1871), Melbourne (from 1872) and Perth (from 1899).
The last Australian gold sovereigns were produced in 1931, when the Commonwealth exited the Gold Standard.
The design of these coins has been the same from 1817, with St. George slaying the dragon on the tail and the portrait of the sovereign on the head.
The only difference is the mint mark, which was S for Sydney, M for Melbourne and P for Perth.
Quite a few Australian gold sovereigns dates are rare and have a numismatic value far above their gold content … which is not good for investment.
But the most common dates are, in fact, so common, that the markup over the spot gold spot price is low, making them full-fledged investment grade gold bullion, especially if you are looking for a smaller size than 1 oz coins.
Gold Sovereigns are made with 22k gold, as they were minted for circulation. They exist in different sizes, one gold sovereign contains about 7.3 grams of fine gold.
5) Royal Australian Mint “Beneath the Southern Skies”
I want to finish this summary with a very beautiful gold bullion coin, stricken in 2020 by the Royal Australian Mint.
This new coin is called “Beneath the Southern Skies”. The reverse bears the design of the Southern Cross constellation, over imposed a globe with the Australian continent.
The coin commemorates Stuart Devlin, the outstanding Australian artist and goldsmith.
This beautiful coin comes in only 1 ounce size, has legal tender (denomination 100 australian dollars), and is made with .9999 gold.
Where To Buy Australian Gold Coins Online?
- SD Bullion Australian Gold Coins
- Liberty Gold and Silver
- BGASC – Buy Gold And Silver Coins
- Golden Eagle Coins
- Money Metals Exchange