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, February 28, 2012

Anda Coin Show: 2oz Lunar Dragon (1,000 coins)

I posted two weeks ago about the Perth Mint ANDA Coin Show special releases. This coin is a standard 2oz coloured Lunar coin, however comes with limited edition packaging exclusive for the ANDA Coin Show in Perth (only city which gets an exclusive Lunar release). Only 1,000 coins are released and previous versions of the coin have been very popular, selling out quickly.

PERTH ANDA COIN SHOW SPECIAL 2012 COLOURED DRAGON 2OZ SILVER COIN
I asked the Perth Mint whether any would be released on the retail website or whether they would be reserved for sale at the show only and received the following response from Stephen Ward:
"We are expecting a small allocation to be made available on our retail website at the beginning of the working day on Tuesday 6 March following the ANDA Perth Coin Show."
If you're in Perth and can make the show (Saturday and Sunday, 3rd and 4th of March, Click For Details) I would highly recommend you pick yourself up one of these coins as I can almost guarantee they are going to have a huge premium within a couple of days of the show.

And for those who can't make the show make sure you've got the Perth Mint Website loaded and your F5 key primed to refresh that page and pick yourself one of the few that make the website on Tuesday March 6th.

This could very well be one of the hottest Lunar Dragon releases yet given the low mintage and exclusivity of sale to Perth coin show attendants for a majority of the coins.

Good luck getting your hands on one!


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Monday, February 27, 2012

What's a Series 1 Lunar Gold 1oz Coin Worth? Part 2

2002 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Horse Coin
Last week I wrote a post about current prices for Perth Mint Series 1 Lunar Gold coins, you can read it here:


In it I noted there was an auction being held on Silver Stackers for the final 6 coin in the series, after the original auction resulted in the following prices for the first 6 coins:

1996 Mouse $1815
1997 Ox $1919
1998 Tiger $1850
1999 Rabbit $1815
2000 Dragon $2121
2001 Snake $1820

We saw a strong rise in the price of Gold during the week (around AUD$50) so chances are this will have had some bearing on prices for the final 6 Lunar coins:

2002 Horse $1890
2003 Goat $1850
2004 Monkey $1870
2005 Rooster $1815
2006 Dog $1860
2007 Pig $1870

The 6 coins achieved a total sale price of $11,155 or an average $1859 per coin, that is compared with an average $1890 per coin for the first 6. 

Even though the average price for the first coins was higher, this was mainly due to the popular Dragon and key date (Ox) dragging the average higher. The final 6 saw 5 out of 6 coins sell at $1850 or higher where as the first 6 only had 3. Remember though that if Gold spot price had remained around $50 lower the result on the second lot of coins may not have been so high.

Pictures of the final 6 Gold Lunar Coins in Series 1:

2002 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Horse Coin

2003 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Goat Coin

2004 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Monkey Coin

2005 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Rooster Coin

2006 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Dog Coin

2007 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Pig Coin


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

9 Coin Dragon set turns into 10 for Australian market

2012 Perth Mint 9 Coin Dragon Set (Chinese Exclusive)

Those who have been watching for Perth Mint Lunar Dragon releases might have spotted the above pictured set which was produced exclusively for the Chinese market (but made it's way globally through eBay and other distribution channels). It's a 9 coin set with each coin displaying a different coloured Dragon. There were 20,000 sets minted (180,000 total coins). Not long after they started being sold in China there were quite a few opportunists selling them for exorbitant prices to foreigners (including Australians) who were unable to source them from local distributors and retailers.

The price for the coin set reached a peak of over $1500 per set at one point, after first being available for around the $800-900 mark, but following the mini bubble (like many of the Perth Mint Dragon releases have experienced) the price has since fallen to around $1000 per set (and is likely set to fall further given the new release on the way detailed below).

It hasn't yet been officially announced but apparently Perth Mint will be releasing a coloured Dragon coin set for the Australian market in April. Rather than only 9 coins, the set will be produced with 10 coins including the 9 coloured variants as well as a standard Silver bullion 1oz coin. The mintage is said to be 2,500 sets (far smaller than the Chinese release) and will be sold for $990. 

Given that this set has not been made available for any previous Series 2 Lunar releases I really can't see it performing that well over the long term, but like many of the limited mintage Dragons released by the Perth Mint we could see prices spike shortly after release once sold out (flip at your own risk though!).

Another thing to be wary of is that multiple customers have complained of a poor quality finish or packaging which has resulted in paint chipped off the face of the coins as discussed here on Silver Stackers and here on Kitco Forums.

This April release will follow the March Dragon coin which is the High Relief Silver Proof Dragon as previously discussed here and here. 

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

What's a Series 1 Lunar Gold 1oz Coin Worth?

Key Date: 1997 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Ox Coin
Although the mintage on the 1oz Gold Lunar coins is set to a maximum of 30,000, many of the Series 1 coins ended with a much lower number of sales (in most cases only around half of the max mintage). See the table below for a complete breakdown:

YearDenominationDescriptionMintageSales
1996$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Mouse Coin 199630,00016,593
1997$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Ox Coin 199730,00013,709
1998$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Tiger Coin 199830,00016,907
1999$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Rabbit Coin 199930,00018,261
2000$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Dragon Coin 200030,000SOLD OUT
2001$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Snake Coin 200130,000SOLD OUT
2002$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Horse Coin 200230,000SOLD OUT
2003$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Goat Coin 200330,00016,775
2004$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Monkey Coin 200430,00016,868
2005$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Rooster Coin 200530,00019,729
2006$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Dog Coin 200630,00026,334
2007$1001oz Bullion Lunar Gold Pig Coin 200730,00018,149
In comparison Series 2 has seen each of the first 5 released sell out of their full mintage (1oz Gold Mouse, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon).

You can view the entire Series 1 and Series 2 Bullion Gold Lunar Mintages on these pages:

Perth Mint S1 Gold Lunar Mintages (Bullion)

Perth Mint S2 Gold Lunar Mintages (Bullion)

So what are each of the coins worth on the market at the moment?

Here is what Bullion Money recently listed them for (specifically for Silver Stackers):
The complete Lunar Series 1oz Gold set from 1996-2007 is available for $21,283.00
The 12 coins are in the original Perth Mint Issue capsules and do not come in the aftermarket presentation cases.

Have a few sets available, this deal works out to be $1773 per coin!
Offer is good as long as spot stays below $1620AUD
1996 - Year of the Mouse
1997 - Year of the Ox
1998 - Year of the Tiger
1999 - Year of the Rabbit
2000 - Year of the Dragon
2001 - Year of the Snake
2002 - Year of the Horse
2003 - Year of the Goat
2004 - Year of the Monkey
2005 - Year of the Rooster
2006 - Year of the Dog
2007 - Year of the Pig
A great price if you ask me (and it included postage and insurance). At the time AUD Gold was around $1610, so the coins were offered at only a 10% premium to spot (although it's a relatively sizable transaction to buy them all)!

The 10% premium pales in comparison to the Series 1 Silver 1oz set which you would pay around $1000-1100 for, which is almost 3 times spot price (nearly a 200% premium). As I've said on this site in the past, I believe the greatest opportunity is in the Silver coins as their lower price point generates a larger pool of buyers to bid up the prices.

A sale which finished around an hour ago on Silver Stackers (won't post the link as old threads get removed) saw some of these coins sold individually resulting in final sale prices of:

1996 Mouse $1815
1997 Ox $1919
1998 Tiger $1850 (recent sale on eBay $1888)
1999 Rabbit $1815
2000 Dragon $2121 (recent sale on eBay $2225)
2001 Snake $1820

I assume the seller grabbed one of the Bullion Money sets to sell off individually for a profit and they have done reasonably well with this tactic. Making an average $117 profit on each coin. On the initial capital outlay ($10,638 for 6 coins) a $702 profit or a 6.5% return in a week. Nice turnaround!

The final 6 coins (2002-2007) are due to be auctioned off this coming week and I should be able to report on these once completed as well.  As the Dragon (highest priced coin usually) and Ox (key date, lowest mintage) were both in the first 6 auctioned I am expecting the second 6 to go for a lower average price.

As the 1oz Gold Lunar coins don't come up for sale all that often, these examples have provided a good baseline for their current market value.

Pictures of the first 6 Gold Lunar Coins in Series 1:

1996 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Rat (Mouse) Coin

1997 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Ox Coin

1998 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Tiger Coin

1999 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Rabbit Coin

2000 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Dragon Coin

2001 Perth Mint Bullion Lunar Gold 1oz Snake Coin

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Perth Mint 2012 Silver Lunar Dragon Privy Mark Issue

2012 Perth Mint Silver Lunar Dragon Lion Privy 1oz Coin
A Silver Stackers contributor from Germany pointed out that an image (pictured above) and some information about the forthcoming 2012 Lunar Dragon - Privy Mark Issue is now available on Silber-Corner.de. The coin looks like the standard 1oz design with a small Lion Privy stamped onto the front of the coin.

As I mentioned in a post a week ago, this coin along with the High Relief Dragon are new additions to the Perth Mint Lunar Series lineup.

Translated the text on the product page reads:
Lunar II "Year of the Dragon" 2012 Silver 1 Oz "Privy Mark"

Manufacturer: Perth Mint
Denomination: 1 Australian dollar
Metal: Silver
Fineness: 999/1000
Weight: 31.1 grams 1 Oz
Degree: 45.10 x 2.6 mm
Circulation: 200,000 pieces

The original coin comes encapsulated.

This coin was minted by the Perth Mint in the highest quality stamping, the Lunar Series 2 of the Perth Mint is one of the world's most popular silver coins.
200,000 mintage? Let's hope that's a typo (perhaps it's only 20,000) as such a large mintage for a coin so similar in design to the standard 1oz Silver coin (300,000 mintage) has the potential to damage the value of the standard release for collectors and investors.

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1/2oz, 2oz & 5oz Bullion Silver Lunar Dragons Return


Only a few days after release the Perth Mint suspended the production of 1/2oz, 2oz and 5oz Silver Lunar Dragon coins (as reported on Bullion Baron) due to the heavy demand and inability to maintain production of these coins as well as other products:
With immediate effect we are temporarily suspending orders for 1/2oz, 2oz and 5oz 2012 Year of the Dragon silver bullion coins. This decision has been taken in response to unprecedented levels of demand for these three sizes, which is stretching production capacity to the limit.
A temporary suspension in order-taking is, therefore, required to enable us to re-stock these product lines and focus on fulfilling all existing orders as quickly as possible. Perth Mint Blog
This break in production saw the price of the suspended coins rise considerably on eBay and other secondary markets as collectors looked to purchase an entire size typeset and others speculated that the Perth Mint may not even return to minting more.

Today the Perth Mint announced that production would resume, although it looks like the run will be limited:
We’re pleased to announce the forthcoming availability of a limited supply of Australian Lunar Series II 2012 Year of the Dragon silver bullion coins in 5oz, 2oz and 1/2oz sizes.

Production of these coins was suspended last year at the height of unprecedented demand for the Australian Lunar program, allowing us to focus production on the most popular 1oz releases. Perth Mint Blog
The text apparently read a little differently earlier:
The Perth Mint has today written to its distributors advising them that a limited stock of the Australian Lunar Series II 2012 Year of the Dragon Silver Bullion Series is available for release in 5oz, 2oz and 1/2oz sizes.

The distributor notification stated clearly "that only very limited quantities are currently available, therefore the stock will need to be allocated."

To be considered for an allocation, distributors are advised to place their indicative order on 1 March 2012. On receipt of all indicative orders, the Mint will confirm the quantity of coins available to each wholesale customer.
Limited allocations for a bullion coin is very unusual for the Perth Mint, especially given these coins technically have an unlimited mintage (they are produced with no max limit until the next design, in this case the 2013 Lunar Snake, is released). Given the shortened time that these coins will have been available the final mintage of each could end up relatively low. Keep an eye out for dealers who will be offering these coins in the near future.

Gold Pelican of Gold Stackers has already commented that he will provide these coins for a reasonable cost to Silver Stackers members if they receive an allocation, so that's a good incentive to sign up to Silver Stackers and keep an eye on the Gold Stackers site!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

ANDA Coin Show Specials - Lunar Releases

Several times in the past the Perth Mint has produced a specially packaged Lunar Series coin for release at the Perth, Melbourne and Sydney ANDA Coin Shows.

The past two years they have released a 2 ounce coloured coin, limiting the mintage on both to only 1000 specially packaged sets.


PERTH ANDA COIN SHOW SPECIAL 2011 COLOURED RABBIT 2OZ SILVER COIN

PERTH ANDA COIN SHOW SPECIAL 2010 COLOURED TIGER 2OZ SILVER COIN
There was also a special two coin release in 2007 which included a 1/2oz Coloured Silver Lunar Pig as well as an aluminium/bronze coin, there were 2,000 of these sets produced. I have one of these sets on the way which I managed to recently purchase on eBay for a very reasonable $50:

AUSTRALIA 2007 LUNAR COIN SERIES ANDA SHOW 2 COIN SET

PERTH ANDA COIN SHOW SPECIAL 2007 COLOURED PIG SET 1/2OZ SILVER COIN
These was a 2oz Coloured Silver Lunar Rooster released in 2005 (not pictured), as well as a 2oz Coloured Silver Lunar Dog release in 2006 (with a lower mintage of 750 coins):

PERTH ANDA COIN SHOW SPECIAL 2006 COLOURED DOG 2OZ SILVER COIN
And a 2004 release with the 1oz Silver Lunar Monkey coin housed on a cardboard sheet with a mintage of 1500:

ANDA COIN SHOW MELBOURNE 2004 COLOURED MONKEY 1OZ SILVER COIN FRONT
ANDA COIN SHOW MELBOURNE 2004 COLOURED MONKEY 1OZ SILVER COIN BACK
An interesting pickup bought to my attention by a keen eyed read is that there were actually two versions of the 2004 ANDA monkey released (presumably each had a 1,500 coin mintage), the above pictured is the Melbourne edition and there was also a Sydney edition released with a different building used in the background of the card (pictured below):

ANDA COIN SHOW SYDNEY 2004 COLOURED MONKEY 1OZ SILVER COIN BACK

I will be looking to add these sets to the numismatic mintage pages I have listed on the site (Series 1 SilverSeries 2 Silver) once I have some clarification from the Perth Mint.

To the best of my knowledge the above listed coins are the only ANDA Special Lunar Coins released so far (drop me a message via the contact page if you know of any others), but as per the ANDA home page there is another release on the way at the Perth Coin Show in March.

The Perth Mint special show release will be the extremely limited Year of the Dragon 2oz silver coloured coin (I assume another 1000 coin mintage):

PERTH ANDA COIN SHOW SPECIAL 2012 COLOURED DRAGON 2OZ SILVER COIN
If you're not in Perth to pick one up at the show then be sure to watch the Perth Mint website closely as they are sure to go extremely quick once listed. For some reason the 2010 Tiger has outperformed the other coins selling for up to $600+ in some auctions that I've seen.

Special Lunar Series coins or sets for a coin show have not been limited to the ANDA Coin Show. The recent "World Money Fair - Berlin Coin Show Special Year of the Dragon 1oz Silver Coloured Coin" which I wrote about in this recent post and the "2011 Beijing International Coin Exposition East Meets West 1/2oz Two-Coin Set" are other examples.

A recent comment on the Perth Mint Coin Collector Blog points to the value in special packaging:
One of the most common mistakes new collectors make, is that they don’t take into account the unique packaging of the coin.

The packaging is as important as the coin, and of course, those who collect unique coins, ensure that the packaging is in pristine condition.

I’ve seen great coins in damaged packaging that just don’t sell or have little value except for their bullion value.
Even though there is nothing special about the coin itself (in all cases it is just a standard coloured coin for which the total mintage is much higher), the limited edition packaging and low number of COA's seems to draw interest to the ANDA Coin Show Lunar releases.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Dragons of Legend - Coin Club Series

I posted a week ago about the 'Dragons of Legend - 2012 Red Welsh Dragon 1oz Silver Proof Coin' which was released on February 3rd (and currently unavailable online at the Perth Mint following some strong demand). While technically not a Lunar Dragon release, the Dragon theme from the current Lunar year was likely inspiration for this series. Just thought I would point out that a sharp eye on Silver Stackers caught a sneak preview of some of the designs yet to come, such as the St George and the Dragon coin:

Dragons of Legend St George and the Dragon Silver 1oz Coin
And the Three Headed Dragon coin:

Dragons of Legend Three Headed Dragon Silver 1oz Coin
You can see the video that these were snapped from below:



Thanks goes out to a SilverLunar.com reader (from Texas, USA) who tipped me off that there is a preview of the entire series on the display box that can be purchased to house the set:
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
It looks like the other two designs will be a European Green Dragon and a Sea Serpent/Dragon.

Keep an eye out for these new releases in the not too distant future.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coin Collecting vs Coin Speculating

A Coin Collection
A post on the Silver Stackers forum prompted this post, where a user suggested that those buying Silver Lunar Dragons for double spot price were collecting coins rather than investing:
“1 oz dragons were $38 when they sold out then people are paying double to me that is collecting and not investing. You’re counting on collectors to be there and pay what you paid - at the minimum. Please make sure you at least have some silver you can offload if you need to and not be hoping to recoup +100% premiums.” Silver Stackers
I don’t disagree completely with the post, the user raises the fact that there has to be a buyer for the coin at a 100% premium to spot price (and spot may appreciate dramatically over coming years). However, I think there will be plenty of ‘speculators’ as well as ‘collectors’ around to pay these sorts of premiums (for some coins) as public interest in hard assets continues to increase.

I think it’s important to differentiate between speculating and collecting, because they are two very separate activities. Not all collectors are speculators and not all speculators are collectors and in fact depending on the purchase one can be both a speculator and a collector!

The dictionary says a collector is “A person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby”. The way I see it a coin collector is someone who purchases the coins for the personal enjoyment of the coins themselves. They buy the coins not to flip them at a higher price in a short period of time (although purchasing below their market value might still be a goal of the collector), but to hold them for longer term increases in value and to enjoy inspecting them as well as sharing their finds and sets with others. It’s often the case that collectors will try and complete a set or series of coins, for example 1 of each Lunar year coin or a penny from every year.

Investopedia (.com) says that a speculator is “someone who takes large risks, especially with respect to anticipating future price movements, in the hope of making quick, large gains”. There is a very fine line between ‘speculating’ and ‘investing’, there are multiple definitions for both. On this blog I will generally refer to those buying coins for profit as speculators (rather than investors). A speculator in the Silver coin market might be someone who buys modern bullion releases at a higher premium than normal to spot with the expectation the premium will increase over time (due to the coins rarity), it might be someone who buys a large number of new release numismatic coins to try and corner the market, it might be someone who looks for key dates in sets (those with the lowest mintage) to speculate that collector demand for these will increase with time. A speculator is someone who is buying the coins with the intention of profit rather than personal enjoyment.

It’s important to understand the difference between these two reasons for buying. As I mentioned above, someone can be both, speculating on some coins while collecting others, but it is important to separate the two. If you don’t separate these two activities it will be much more difficult making an objective decision to sell when it is the right time to take a profit.

I both collect and speculate in the coin market. Predominantly speculate, but there are certainly a few coins I purchase which I do not intend to resell. It may come across that I have a strong interest in coins, which I do, however the interest is predominantly in picking the coins that will perform rather than in the coins themselves.

Are you a collector, speculator or both?

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

High Relief, 5oz Proof & Privy Dragons On Their Way

Thanks to members on Silver Stackers I got the heads up that the Perth Mint is releasing a new Dragon coin in March 2012 (yes ANOTHER dragon *rolleyes*), but I have to admit it's the first one in while that has really captured my interest. It is listed as a "2012 Year of the Dragon 1oz Silver Proof High Relief Coin" on the Perth Mint's forthcoming releases page. Due to be released from 12.01am (Perth time) on March 2nd.
Following a closer investigation of the ComLaw documents that I mentioned in a post yesterday (pointing to design cues for the forthcoming 2013 Gold and Silver Lunar Snake designs) I noticed a couple of other Lunar Dragon coins that are still pending release. It seems that the Perth Mint will have no mercy when it comes to pumping out as many high premium Silver Lunar Dragon coins as they can before the year is out. Here are descriptions of those yet to be released:
SILVER YEAR OF THE DRAGON – HIGH RELIEF
The design for the 2012 Australian Lunar Year of the Dragon (1oz) Silver Proof Coin features a stylised representation of a dragon. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Dragon’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘lóng’ and meaning ‘dragon’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE DRAGON - PROOF
The design for the 2012 Australian Lunar Year of the Dragon (5oz) Silver Proof Coin features a stylised representation of a dragon. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Dragon’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘lóng’ and meaning ‘dragon’.

2012 LUNAR DRAGON - PRIVY MARK ISSUE
The design on the 2012 Lunar Dragon - Privy Mark Issue (1oz) silver coin depicts a representation of a dragon along with a privy mark of a circle enclosing a representation of a lion. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Dragon’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘lóng’ and meaning ‘dragon’.
Of the 3 yet to be released I think the High Relief coin will be the only one I purchase. The Perth Mint's restrictions on the number that customers are able to purchase (most dragons have been limited to 1 per customer) makes speculating on any of the releases quite difficult unless you find a dealer who will sell them in bulk. The hassle of flipping a single coin seems pretty fruitless so I will stick with the one coin I won't mind holding onto.

Here is a comparison photo between a 1oz Lunar Dragon and a High Relief 2010 Kangaroo (I suspect the High Relief Dragon will carry the same dimensions as the High Relief Kangaroo):

2012 1 Ounce Silver Lunar Dragon vs 2010 1 Ounce Silver High Relief Kangaroo
We still don't have a picture of the final design for the High Relief coin. It's possible that it's just a minituarised image of the standard proof/bullion Silver design. I will be sure to post any more information I get on these forthcoming releases as it comes to hand.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Perth Mint 2013 Year of the Snake Lunar Coins


Mock up design: 2013 Year of the Snake Silver Lunar Coin
The release of the Perth Mint Lunar Snake coins are still a while off yet (probably September this year) and the release of the design not likely until only a couple of weeks prior (above image is a mockup I created for the article). There are some clues to the design in the ComLaw submissions that the Perth Mint has to submit for all legal tender coins (commentary continues below this extensive list):
SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE – HIGH RELIEF
The design for this 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1oz) silver coin consists of a representation of a snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

GOLD YEAR OF THE SNAKE - PROOF
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz) gold proof coins consists of a representation of a snake resting on grass with bamboo at its side, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

GOLD YEAR OF THE SNAKE - BULLION
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (10kg, 1kg, 10oz, 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz) gold bullion coins consists of a representation of a snake resting on grass with bamboo at its side, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

GOLD YEAR OF THE SNAKE - PROOF COLOURED
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1oz, 1/4oz, and 1/10oz) gold proof coloured coins consists of a representation of a coloured snake resting on grass with bamboo at its side, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

GOLD YEAR OF THE SNAKE - BULLION COLOURED
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz) gold bullion coloured coins consists of a representation of a coloured snake resting on grass with bamboo at its side, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE - PROOF
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1kg, 2oz, 1oz and 1/2oz) silver proof coins consists of a representation of a snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE - BULLION
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (10kg, 1kg, 10oz, 5oz, 2oz, 1oz and 1/2oz) silver bullion coins consists of a representation of a snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE - PROOF COLOURED
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1kg, 1oz and 1/2oz) silver proof coloured coins consists of a representation of a coloured snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE - BULLION COLOURED
The design for the 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1kg, 10oz, 5oz, 2oz, 1oz and 1/2oz) silver bullion coloured coins consists of a representation of a coloured snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coins include the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE - GILDED
The design for this 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1oz) silver gilded coin consists of a representation of a gilded snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

SILVER YEAR OF THE SNAKE - GEM EYE
The design for this 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake (1kg) silver coloured coin consists of a representation of a coloured snake with a gemstone inset into its eye, entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.

2013 LUNAR SNAKE - PRIVY MARK ISSUE
The design for this 2013 Australian Lunar Year of the Snake coin consists of a representation of a snake entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines. The coin includes the inscriptions ‘Year of the Snake’ along with the Pinyin pictograph pronounced ‘shé’ and meaning ‘snake’.
So the Silver Lunar Snake will be entwined on a branch, surrounded by a pattern of lines and the Gold Lunar Snake will see it resting on grass with bamboo at its side, surrounded by a pattern of lines.

The mention in the Silver design of a snake entwined on a branch makes me wonder whether the Perth Mint will perhaps resort to rehashing or taking cues from the Series 1 release of the Gold Lunar Snake coin (as they did with the 2012 Silver Lunar Dragon, simple reversing the picture used in the Silver Lunar Dragon from 2000).
Perth Mint 2001 1 Ounce Gold Lunar Snake
It's good to see we will have a high relief version of the coin return, following on from the news I posted the other day that a high relief Lunar Dragon is on the way next month.

The privy mark issue is also a new addition (looks like the Lunar Dragon is also to get this treatment before the year is over), it's a shame that these coin types (especially the high relief) weren't released from the start of Series 2.

When released later this year the Perth Mint Lunar Snake coins are likely to be highly sought after. For the reasons I outlined in June last year in advance of the Lunar Dragon release, they:

- Have a low mintage
- Sport an aesthetically pleasing design
- Are housed in individual capsules
- Have a quality finish
- Are produced by world renowned Perth Mint
- Come with legal tender status
- Priced as bullion coins on release 
I don't know that they will be quite as popular as the Dragons, but I won't rule anything out as I believe the number of retail investors looking to buy popular, well recognised series and brands over more readily available low premium Silver bars will increase as the bull market in Silver continues.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

eBay bans replica & copy coin sales from February 20

Good news for coin collectors and investors who source some of their purchases on eBay.

In late January members of the US site (ebay.com) received the following email from eBay:
The eBay marketplace for coin collecting is vibrant. Buyers and sellers alike enjoy access to both a great selection and a highly engaged community. Customers within the Coins & Paper Money category have told us that the ability to shop and sell confidently on eBay is an important factor for them.

Based on this feedback, and after closely reviewing the coin experience on eBay, we have decided to update eBay's Stamps, currency, and coins policy to disallow replica coin listings on eBay.com, effective February 20. Any replica coin listings on eBay on February 20 will be allowed to end normally.

This update reflects standards across the coin industry and helps ensure compliance with applicable laws that require replica coins to be permanently marked with the word "copy." We also expect that this update will increase marketplace confidence by letting our community know that coin listings on eBay are authentic, so they'll receive the most positive eBay experience possible.

As always, thank you for selling on eBay.

Sincerely,
The eBay Seller Team
President of David Lawrence Rare Coins posted he following based on their meetings with eBay:
This new policy is designed to draw a clear line in the sand that eBay sellers cannot offer copies of coins (or copies of any coin-related exonumia like tokens, badges, etc) for legitimate sale on the site. We all know that counterfeits are offered for sale on eBay but these have been and always will be illegal, so that's not what at issue here.

What is at issue is that sellers of the so-called copies were often offering counterfeits with the word "COPY" stamped on it, but delivering coins without the stamp. There was no real way to police this on the eBay side and eBay came to the PNG (Bob Brueggeman, the Board and the membership) for advice on the issue. They heard -- in no uncertain terms -- from all of us that copies must be removed from the site as a first step to cleaning up the eBay marketplace. And, to their credit, eBay has responded very quickly and decisively. All of these will no longer be sell-able on the site as of Feb 20.

Does this solve all the problems on eBay of people selling counterfeits? Of course not. But this is just the first step that eBay is taking and they have assured us (to me, personally) that more steps will be taken next. They are looking into ways to increase community policing because it takes a village to keep an eye on all of these listings and stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters.

I, for one, am extremely encouraged by this first step and look forward to seeing more positive actions. It's good for the entire industry that we clean up the online sellers and protect consumers as much as possible.
It's a shame that they are only implementing this on the US site this month, but it's a step in the right direction and hopefully flows through to other global eBay sites in the near future.

The action still does not make eBay a "safe" place to shop for bullion and coins and you should always be on your guard and carefully test any products purchased from the site.

Some eBay listings are specifically labelled as selling replica products, many get trapped by this even though they are clearly labelled as such. I wrote up a piece on my other blog (Bullion Baron) recently with some wording to look out for when trying to identify replica/copy/fake items:

German (Nickel) Silver: This is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.

100 Mills/Mils: Refers to a Silver (or Gold) plated product. While the very thin exterior layer *might* be real Silver or Gold, the inside will be something else (usually copper).

HGE Gold: Stands for Heavy Gold Electroplate and consists of a base metal that has been plated in Gold.

Gold Flakes: Often sold in vials this alloy is unlikely to contain significant amounts of (if ANY) real Gold.

Columbiam (Niobium) / Molybdenum Bullion: Other metals may be manufactured into bars and coins and sold as a “precious” metal, but ultimately they are of little value to the investor.

Other keywords to look out for when avoiding products which are likely to be fake and contain little or no real Gold/Silver: Copy, Replica, Plated, Layered, Clad, Token.

OzCopper has collated a list of some of the most common copied products which are circulating at the moment:

Fake silver ingots and coins include:
1 ounce Sunshine Mint
1 ounce Scottsdale
1 ounce Pan American
1 ounce American Prospector
1 ounce 2012 Perth Mint dragon
1 ounce Canadian Maple Leaf

Many generic 1 ounce ingots including the USA flag design, scales design and “worth its weight in silver design.

Fake gold coins include:
2011 Perth mint 1 Ounce gold Kangaroo
Gold Krugerrands
1/10th ounce Austrian Philharmonic gold coin
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Here is a picture of a replica Sunshine Mint 1 ounce Silver bar (not actually Silver):

Replica Sunshine Mint 1 Ounce Silver Bar (not .999 Silver!)

There are also some great videos worth watching where OzCopper destroys the products to show the copper coloured metal beneath the plated exterior.

Some eBay sales will sell the above items without listing them as fakes so ensure you take appropriate actions to protect yourself. As much as I dislike PayPal when I'm selling it's a great tool for protecting the buyer in the case you purchase a fake/replica product without realising it. 

Many of these replica items can be identified with simple tests such as ensuring the product meets the original specifications of weight and size (many fakes will weigh over or under by a large enough amount to identify them), however if you want to be sure there are some methods listed in this thread at Silver Stackers, such as a water displacement test which is easy to carry out at home if you don't have access to more advanced testing methods (such as use of an XRF machine).


Cheers

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