2014 Perth Mint Lunar Horse Coins and Royal Australian Mint Tetra-decagon Lunar Coin

Gold and Silver Perth Mint Lunar Year of the Horse Series Coins (LHS, Centre). Royal Australian Mint Tetra-decagon Lunar Coin (RHS).

2012 Silver Lunar Dragon Designs From Around The World.

New Zealand Mint Proof Silver Lunar Dragon Gilded Coin (Left). Perth Mint Silver Lunar Dragon Coin (Middle). Royal Canadian Mint Lotus Silver Dragon Proof (Right).

Series 1 Lunar Coins

Series 1 Chinese Gold Lunar Coins (left). Series 1 Perth Mint Silver Lunar Coins (Right).

Chinese Silver Lunar Rabbits 2011

A selection of Chinese Silver Lunar Rabbits, Round, Coloured and Plum Blossom.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1oz Proof Gold Lunars (Snake/Ox/Mouse) - eBay

Some interesting coins I spotted on eBay tonight (always eBay Australia unless I mention otherwise). A selection of 3 Perth Mint 1oz Proof Gold Lunar coins (Series 1), the Snake, Ox and Mouse.

Perth Mint Proof 1oz Gold Coins - 1996 Mouse, 2001 Snake, 1997 Ox
When I went to check the mintages out of interest I realised that there were no 1oz Gold proofs released individually so from what I can gather these coins must have been separated out of the 3 coins sets that were issued (containing 1oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz) meaning the number available is quite low. It seems there was some interest in the 3 coin sets initially with the Mouse and Ox sets achieving the highest number of sales, but with numbers soon dropping later:

1996$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Mouse3,8882,886
1997$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Ox3,8883,146
1998$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Tiger3,8001,918
1999$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Rabbit3,8001,634
2000$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Dragon3,0002,886
2001$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Snake3,0001,223
2002$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Horse3,0001,471
2003$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Goat3,0001,187
2004$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Monkey3,000999
2005$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Rooster3,0001,388
2006$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Dog3,0001,274
2007$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Pig3,0001,556
Still with mintages of 2,886 for the Proof Mouse, 3,146 for the Proof Ox and 1,223 (3rd lowest mintage of the sets) for the Proof Snake they wouldn't be easy to come by. However Series 2 is shaping up to have an even lower sales number even though the 1oz Gold Proof is now sold both individually and in the 3 coin set:

2008$1001oz Proof Lunar Mouse Coin 20083,000141
2008$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Mouse3,0001,036
2009$1001oz Proof Lunar Ox Coin 20093,000131
2009$100, $25, $15(1oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz) Three-coin set Year of the Ox3,000942
When added together there are 1177 1oz Proof Gold Mouse coins, under half of the 1996 release and 1073 1oz Proof Ox coins, almost a third of the 1997 release. So these are perhaps better coins to be on the look out for (although as I've already pointed out on the blog I think the cost of 1oz Gold coins will lower their ability to achieve large premiums like the Silver coins often manage).

While I don't think the Series 1 Proof Gold Mouse, Snake and Ox on eBay are expensive at the price point asked, I do think they would have limited appeal to the collector with the resources to collect coins this expensive as they would probably be looking to complete a set in their original form (in the 3 coin set).

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NZ Mint - 1oz Silver Proof Lunar Dragon Gilded Coin

Following the popularity of the Perth Mint’s 2012 Lunar Dragon release it seems every Mint with some spare capacity is now pumping out a new Lunar Dragon coin (in some cases where they haven’t released Lunar coins in the past). At some point I will collect a list of as many of these as I can, but for now I would just like to highlight the most impressive design released, which in my opinion trumps all others (including the Perth Mint designs).

Meet the New Zealand Mint 2012 1 oz Silver Proof Lunar Dragon Gilded Coin (photograph by TomD):
New Zealand Mint 2012 1 oz Silver Proof Lunar Dragon Gilded Coin
This coin is the highlight of the Lunar Dragon releases. It has sharp detail, a fierce design and effective use of the gilded highlight.

Unfortunately the only source for the coin that I’ve been able to spot is a US coin dealer, Gainesville, who have strict rules about overseas payment and expensive shipping. Luckily a user on Silver Stackers (Maggie) who regularly organises group buys is doing their best to source the New Zealand Mint Dragon for Australian buyers. You can view the Silver Stackers thread here. Expressions of interest for a second order are being taken. The first order saw Silver Stackers members soak up 6% of the entire 2500 coin mintage (150 coins).

I tried contacting the New Zealand Mint, but they weren’t able to provide me advice as to whether I would be able to buy some direct (I have 1 on order through above group buy), but they didn't have them in stock to take an order when I enquired. I suspect Gainesville might be provided with the entire mintage for this coin as New Zealand Mint has since announced two more Lunar Dragon coins which they will be selling through their online coin site. Pictured below:

New Zealand Mint 2012 1 oz Silver Proof Lunar Dragon Coin (4000 Mintage)

New Zealand Mint 2012 1/2 oz Silver Proof Lunar Pearl Dragon Coin (8000 Mintage)
Neither is as attractive as the Gilded coin and both have a much higher mintage as well.

New Zealand Mint has minted other Lunar coins in the past, although there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to the type and mintage, so they are more like standalone coins than a series, here are some of their previous Lunar releases:

New Zealand Mint Lunar Series Coins, Rabbit, Tiger, Ox, Pig and Mouse Coins
You can view the entire range (including the dragons -Gilded) at the Lunar Series page here.

Gainesville is showing sold out on the coin at the moment, but they are waiting on a shipment that’s expected late February, so if you are interested in buying one (or more) of these coins then keep an eye on Gainesville or sign up at Silver Stackers and contact Maggie to get an EOI in for the group buy. Gainesville has been charging $50 over spot for the coin (so around $80 when recently available on their site.

Although I’m sure many of the Lunar Dragon releases will be a flop, probably dropping to below their release price, I suspect this particular coin will continue to appreciate in value given its low mintage and attractive design/presentation. They are already selling for around $125 on eBay.

I will likely post up a couple more pictures once I received mine, but here is another photo from an eBay auction showing the packaging that it's presented in:
New Zealand Mint 2012 1 oz Silver Proof Lunar Dragon Gilded Coin & Packaging
Well played New Zealand Mint, well played. I suspect this coin will increase the number of eyes glued to your future releases.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

1/20oz Perth Mint S1 Gold Lunars - eBay Bargains

This post is proof that eBay sometimes throws up some bargains if you're ready for them...

A couple of weeks ago I was watching a group of 5 x 1/20oz Gold Lunar Coins (Perth Mint Series 1) and a display case to house them. I decided not to bid, because I didn't want to only win a couple and miss out on the rest (or get caught up in a bidding war last minute for some)... not bidding was a big mistake. The coins went for bargain basement prices. I was expecting some last minute bidders and they never came.

The coins went for between $91 and $103 per coin.

What's more is that 4 out of 5 of the above coins are in the top 5 rarest by number of sales, so they are the key dates for completing a set of this type. You can view the entire Perth Mint Gold Lunar Bullion Coin mintage here, but for convenience sake I've extracted the 1/20oz Gold coins and sorted them from lowest to highest sales below:

1997$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Ox Coin 1997100,0007,131
1996$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Mouse Coin 1996100,0007,405
1999$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Rabbit Coin 1999100,0009,642
2007$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Pig Coin 2007100,00010,308
1998$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Tiger Coin 1998100,00010,427
2006$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Dog Coin 2006100,00015,737
2004$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Monkey Coin 2004100,00015,898
2003$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Goat Coin 2003100,00017,892
2005$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Rooster Coin 2005100,00018,220
2001$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Snake Coin 2001100,00019,738
2002$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Horse Coin 2002100,00027,338
2000$51/20oz Bullion Lunar Gold Dragon Coin 2000100,00029,325
The Ox is the rarest in this coin type, which is not unusual, the Ox often sells fewer coins than the other animals and has developed a larger premium in some cases due to this.

Some of the key dates that sold two weeks ago for around $100 have exchanged hands on Silver Stackers for as much as $140-180.

Even in eBay auctions that ended yesterday we can see some of these coins usually achieve a higher sale price, the Ox coin (lowest mintage of this type) sold for almost $60 more than the earlier auction and the Snake sold for $20 more:

Just goes to show if you keep your eyes peeled and know what you are looking for you can score bargains on eBay. Too bad I missed out on this occasion.

Small fractional Gold Lunar coins (such as 1/20th and 1/10th oz Gold) could end up a popular choice for collectors as they shun the more expensive sets (e.g. 1/2, 1 oz Gold) for those who want a more reasonable entry price to complete the collection.


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1oz Gold Coins: Perth Mint Series 1 vs Series 2

It was interesting to note some recent completed sales on eBay. The 1 ounce Gold coins from (Perth Mint) Series 1 (S1) aren't all that common so when the 1998 1oz Gold Tiger sold for such a low price ($1888.88 plus post) and the 2001 Snake didn't sell at all, I was pretty shocked:

The 1998 1 ounce Gold Tiger didn't even get to the mintage limit... you can view the full list of Perth Mint S1 Gold Lunar mintages on this page, only 16,907 coins of the maximum 30,000 mintage were sold. In my opinion the 1998 Gold Tiger is one of the design highlights of the series, it certainly looks better than the S1 1998 Silver Tiger and the more recent Series 2 (S2) 2010 Gold and Silver Lunar Tiger coins. Both the 2000 Gold Lunar Dragon and the 2001 Gold Lunar Snake were minted to the full 30,000 limit. The 2000 Dragon usually commands a premium, so the higher sales price is expected.

What was surprising is that recent eBay sales of the 2012 1oz Gold Lunar Dragon surpassed the Tiger and Snake S1 Gold coins (they have been selling regularly for $1900-2000 from my observation):

The one ounce Gold coin isn't at a very accessible price point for most collectors (especially if intending on collecting the full set), so it prohibits a large premium developing (or at least that has been the case so far), but it was interesting to see the recent coin outperforming coins that are 10+ years older and in some cases had a lower mintage. In my opinion this is an anomaly and the older coins will regain the higher price at some point down the track. In my opinion the 2012 Gold Dragon simply doesn't have the charm of the 2000 Dragon design to retain the higher level of pricing.

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Welcome to SilverLunar.com!

Why “Silver” Lunar? Well for starters the "Gold" Lunar .com domain was already registered. Secondly I do believe there is a greater opportunity in Silver Lunar coins than Gold, the price of Silver coins simply opens their collect-ability to a greater number of buyers, ensuring a more liquid market and potential for higher premiums. That said there are Gold Lunar coins that have performed well in the past and will continue to do so in the future, so don't rule them out, I will be covering both on the blog.

Those of you who visit my primary blog at BullionBaron.com would be aware that I have an interest in Gold and Silver bullion as well as bullion coins with numismatic potential. I blogged several times last year about Lunar coins, predominantly focusing on the Perth Mint Lunar Dragon. As early as June 2011 (3 months before release of the series and well before seeing the final design) I identified that the series was likely to be very popular and a good bullion coin to get a hold of for those able to pre-order at low prices ($40-45):

Perth Mint 2012 Year of the Dragon Silver Coin

Little did I know the level of interest that these coins would attract... so intense was the demand for these coins after first release that a micro bubble was quick to form with 1oz bullion coins selling for up to $150 and higher (after selling out at the Perth Mint for $48) within days of release prior to collapsing to their current market rate of around $55-65. The proof and other individual coins and sets released at the same time or shortly after also experienced similar booms then contractions.

What was the cause of the huge rush for this release (for example the Lunar Rabbit took 5 months to sell out of the 1oz Silver bullion coin vs the Lunar Dragons few days)? Several factors would have compounded the interest, but I would suggest the main contributors were:

- A super spike in Silver early in 2011 which bought in a large number of new retail Silver investors to the market.

- Carry over from the interest in the 2000 Lunar Dragon coin which is arguably the most popular in the series with the Series 1 coins carrying the highest premium today even though they don't always have the lower mintage.

- Demand was built over time via the introduction of pre-orders for the coin through some dealers, which was not a common practice for earlier releases.

- Hype around the coins built up by those writing about them (including blogs, discussion on forums and articles in magazines, e.g. I wrote about the Dragon release in an issue of AHA Investor).

While this micro bubble has perhaps damaged the reputation of the Silver Lunar dragon (short term), I do believe that those who purchased at release price or pre-ordered will be well rewarded over the longer term as interest returns to the Lunar series for the next major release later this year, the 2013 Year of the Snake Silver and Gold Coins.

While I think it’s important to have a core position in low premium bullion to take advantage of the current bull market (to protect ones wealth from the destructive forces of central banking), I think that the increased interest in metals will also reignite a lost passion for other hard assets including numismatic coins (especially those of the Silver and Gold variety).

The recent boom in low mintage Chinese Panda coins is one example of how well some modern numismatic coins can perform; the Panda Collector’s Panda Pricepedia 2000 Index shows that 20 low mintage Pandas (est. population under 2000) have managed to outperform both Gold and Silver over the past 5 years. 

I suspect there will be other coins that can perform similarly over the next 5 years, so my goal will be to identify those in the Lunar range that will and are outperforming spot metal prices…

Welcome aboard, enjoy your stay. Feel free to challenge my opinions/suggestions (constructively!), share your experiences in the Lunar Coin market and if you feel the information on this site will benefit others then please do pass on the link.


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