Australian Gold Lunar Coins

gold coin icon Australia flag icon Gold Lunar Series 2 - succeeded the popular 1st Lunar Series in 2008

The design of the reverse side of the Australian Lunar gold coins changes every year and always depicts the Chinese zodiac animal for the corresponding year of issuance. The first Australian Gold Lunar series already started in 1996. Already back then, each annual edition of the coins displayed the current year's Chinese zodiac animal on their reverse. The first Lunar series ended in the "Year of the Pig" in 2007. Due to the immense popularity of the coins, the Perth Mint decided to continue the 12-year-cycle of zodiac animals that appear on the reverse with a 2nd Lunar series. This 2nd series started in 2008 and will eventually end in 2019.

All Australian Lunar gold coins are minted out of 99.99% pure gold. The coins are offered in many different denominations from 1/20 oz up to 10 kg. The diameter and thickness of the various denominations differs between the 1st and 2nd Lunar series though. Buyers can choose between brilliant uncirculated and proof coins. High relief and ultra high relief proof coins as well as colorized versions of the coins are produced as well.

Both the 1st and 2nd Australian Gold Lunar series is fully backed by the Australian government. The coins have the status of legal tender in Australia and can be included in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's). Annual mintage numbers of the coins are generally quite low compared with other popular gold bullion coins.

reverse side of the 2017 issue of the brilliant uncirculated Year of the Rooster 1 oz Australian Gold Lunar coin
obverse side of the 2017 issue of the brilliant uncirculated Year of the Rooster 1 oz Australian Gold Lunar coin
reverse side of the 2016 issue of the brilliant uncirculated Year of the Monkey 1 oz Australian Gold Lunar coin
obverse side of the 2016 issue of the brilliant uncirculated Year of the Monkey 1 oz Australian Gold Lunar coin

Lunar Series 2 (2008 - 2019)

Weight Face Value Purity Diameter x Thickness
10 kg AUD $ 30.000 99.99% 180.6 x 25 mm
1 kg AUD $ 3.000 99.99% 100.6 x 9 mm
10 oz AUD $ 1.000 99.99% 75.6 x 6 mm
2 oz AUD $ 200 99.99% 41.1 x 3.9 mm
1 oz AUD $ 100 99.99% 39.34 x 2.5 mm
1/2 oz AUD $ 50 99.99% 30.6 x 2.5 mm
1/4 oz AUD $ 25 99.99% 22.6 x 2.2 mm
1/10 oz AUD $ 15 99.99% 18.6 x 2 mm
1/20 oz AUD $ 5 99.99% 14.8 x 1.4 mm
high relief proof 2016 Year of the Monkey Australian Gold Lunar coin
reverse side of the 2007 issue of the brilliant uncirculated Year of the Pig 1 oz Australian Gold Lunar coin
obverse side of the 2007 issue of the brilliant uncirculated Year of the Pig 1 oz Australian Gold Lunar coin

Lunar Series 1 (1996 - 2007)

Weight Face Value Purity Diameter x Thickness
10 kg AUD $ 30.000 99.99% 180 x ?? mm
1 kg AUD $ 3.000 99.99% 75.6 x 13.9 mm
10 oz AUD $ 1.000 99.99% 60.3 x 8 mm
2 oz AUD $ 200 99.99% 40.6 x 3.9 mm
1 oz AUD $ 100 99.99% 32.1 x 2.8 mm
1/2 oz AUD $ 50 99.99% 25.1 x 2 mm
1/4 oz AUD $ 25 99.99% 20.1 x 2 mm
1/10 oz AUD $ 15 99.99% 16.1 x 1.5 mm
1/20 oz AUD $ 5 99.99% 14.1 x 1.4 mm

All Australian Gold Lunar Coin Designs

Design

The coin's obverse side depicts the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II in profile wearing a royal tiara. The depiction of her majesty is meant to symbolize Australia’s allegiance to the crown and the British Commonwealth. Her majesty's title and the country’s name are engraved along the upper left and right edge of the coin and the year of mintage, face value, weight and purity information appear along the lower edge. The Lunar coins of the first series had the year of mintage, weight and purity engraved on the reverse side though.

The design of the reverse side of the Australian Gold Lunar coins changes every year and always depicts the Chinese zodiac animal for the corresponding year of issuance. The 2015 "Year of the Goat" issue depicts a lone goat standing atop rocky terrain. The Chinese hanzi character for “goat” is inscribed next to the animal and the words “Year of the Goat” appear along the lower edge. The mint mark P can be seen on the reverse side as well. The 2016 edition is dedicated to the "Year of the Monkey". The coins depict a monkey that is sitting on a peach tree branch. In China, peaches represent longevity and immortality. The new 2017 design depicts a rooster standing on one leg between leafy bamboo plants. There was no English "Year of the . . . " inscription on the coins of the first series yet.

History

The Perth Mint started producing the Australian Gold Lunar coins in 1996 with the "Year of the Mouse" coins. At first, only 1 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz coins were produced. The 1 kg, 10 oz and 2 oz coins were first produced in the year 2000 for the "Year of the Dragon". The 1/2 oz coin was added in 2004 for the "Year of the Monkey". Finally, a 10 kg version of the Australian Lunar gold coins was added to the lineup in 2006 for the "Year of the Dog".

Whereas the reverse side depicts the Chinese zodiac sign for the respective year, the obverse shows an image of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. From 1996 to 1998, the Australian Lunar gold coins still used the image of a younger Queen. Since 1999, the coins depict a more mature Queen and this image is used in the second lunar series as well.

The first lunar coin series ended in 2007 with the "Year of the Pig" coins. Since this first series was immensely popular with investors and collectors alike, a second lunar series was launched in 2008 and will end in 2019. The Australian Gold Lunar coins depict the Chinese zodiac animal for the respective year of issuance, so the 2017 issue is dedicated to the "Year of the Rooster" and the 2016 edition to the "Year of the Monkey".

The gold coins of the first lunar series displayed information about the year of mintage, weight and gold purity on the reverse side of the coins. That information was shifted to the obverse side on the gold coins that make up the 2nd Australian Gold Lunar series.

Mintages

Mintage numbers of the Australian Gold Lunar coins are comparatively lower than those of other gold bullion coins. That makes them popular with both numismatists and investors. The years 2000 until 2002 saw the highest mintage for 1 oz Gold Lunar coins of the first series. The mintage limit of 30.000 for 1 oz coins was reached in each of those years.

For the 1 oz coins of the second Gold Lunar series, the limit of 30.000 coins was reached in every year since 2008. The mintage of fractional denominations was generally much lower than that. However, the 1/10 oz denomination exceeded the 30.000 mark in the years 2012 (33.059 coins), 2014 (34.181 coins) and 2015 (33.027 coins). The mintage record for any denomination are the 58.890 coins of 1/20 oz that were sold in 2015.

The Perth Mint published the official mintages for the coins of the first lunar series here. The mintage numbers of the second Australian Gold Lunar coin series can be found here.

reverse side of the 2017 Year of the Rooster issue of the brilliant uncirculated 1 oz Australian Silver Lunar coin
obverse side of the 2017 Year of the Rooster issue of the brilliant uncirculated 1 oz Australian Silver Lunar coin

Australian Silver Lunar coins

The Perth Mint started with the 1st Australian Silver Lunar coin series in 1999. The 2nd series followed in 2008 (while the 1st series was still ongoing) and is scheduled to end in 2019. The silver coins are 99.99% pure since 2017 (99.9% pure previously). The design of the reverse side of the Australian Silver Lunar coins changes every year and always depicts the Chinese zodiac animal for that year of issuance. The displayed zodiac animal design is different from that on the gold version of the coins. Many different special editions are offered in addition to the brilliant uncirculated and proof versions and there is also a wide choice of different sizes between 1/2 oz and 10 kg.

The Australian Silver Lunar coin page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.

Special Australian Gold Lunar Editions and Sets

ultra high relief proof 2015 Year of the Goat Australian Gold Lunar coin

High Relief and Ultra High Relief Coins

Besides 'regular' proof coins, high relief (HR) and ultra high relief (UHR) proof coins are issued in extremely limited mintages. Depending on the design of the zodiac animal, some years 'only' allow the production of high relief coins whereas other animal designs make it possible to even produce ultra high relief proof coins. The raised relief over a sunken background of these HR and UHR coins makes the details and beauty of the intricate zodiac animal design stand out even more.

colorized proof 2008 Year of the Mouse Australian Gold Lunar coin

Colorized Gold Lunar Coins

The Perth Mint also issues colorized Gold Lunar coins (brilliant uncirculated and proof) that enjoy considerable popularity among collectors. The use of selective coloring on the reverse side of the coins makes the Chinese zodiac animal design stand out in even more beauty. The coins are packaged in a special display case and annual mintage of these coins is limited.

1996-2007 Australian Gold Lunar Series 1 - 12 x 1/10 oz proof set

Australian Gold Lunar Series 1 Set

total gold weight: 12 oz (1 oz coins), 3 oz (1/4 oz), 1.2 oz (1/10 oz), 0.6 oz (1/20 oz)

These sets exist for both brilliant uncirculated as well as proof coins for the 4 different denominations (1 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz) that were minted continuously during the 12 years of the first Australian Gold Lunar series (1996-2007).

Australian Gold Lunar Series 2 - 3 coin Year of the Snake proof set 2013

3 coin proof Set - Gold Lunar Series 2

total gold weight: 1.35 oz

The Perth Mint issues this 3 coin proof set annually. The mintage limit was lowered in recent years from 3.000 to 1.500 sets. It includes the 1 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz proof coins as well as a certificate of authenticity. The coins are stored in a beautiful oval display case which is shipped in an illustrated box.