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The History of the Perth Mint

May 11, 2012369 view(s)

The Perth Mint began construction in 1896, but it would be 3 more years before it was completed. At that time, it was simply a branch of the Royal Mint located in London. The mint itself was designed by renowned architect George Temple-Poole and today it remains a beautiful and impressive structure. An interesting fact is that while the Melbourne Mint and the Sydney Mint did exist, they have since been shut down so the Perth Mint is the now the longest continually operating mint to produce coins in Australia.

While the mint used to produce gold sovereigns for the British, this is no longer the case. Today, it handles most legal tender precious metal coins for Australia. Not only does it produce the Australian Silver Kookaburra and Australian Gold Nugget coins, it also produces the Australian Platinum Koala coins.

Perth is a city of over 1.7 million people in the province of Western Australia. It sits on the banks of the Swan River and is known as the City of Lights. Interestingly, the official seal of the Perth Mint does incorporate the image of a swan, most likely in reference to the local river.

One rare coin worth mentioning is the one the Perth Mint produced in 2011. This beat the Royal Canadian Mint in terms of producing the largest gold coin the world today. With a face value of $1 million, the coin is enormous, 99.99% pur gold and weighs 2,230 pounds. It is over 4 and a half inches thick with a diameter of 31 inches. The design shows Queen Elizabeth II on the back, in side profile, and on the front is a red kangaroo bounding across the Australian terrain. The true value of this coin is well over $50 million as of the time of its minting.

No history of the Perth Mint would be complete without bringing up the Perth Mint Swindle, though. This 1982 robbery managed to score 49 gold bars from the mint. In all, the haul was worth over $2 million in 2011 gold prices. All three robbers were caught.

As you can see, the Perth Mint has a fascinating and dramatic history. It is one of the overlooked gems in the world of precious metals.

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