The Australian Perth Mint first introduced the Lunar Gold Coin series in 1996. Each coin is 99.99% pure 24 karat gold and features the animals of the ancient Chinese Lunar Calendar. The coin series was minted from 1996-2007 and each year highlights a different lunar animal.
The Gold coin series began with the year of the mouse in 1996 and ended with the year of the pig in 2007. The series was so popular that the Perth Mint launched the Lunar II Gold Coin series in 2008.
Size and Purity
Lunar I gold coins have a fineness of .9999 pure gold and are legal tender in Australia. Each coin in the series is available in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz 1/10 oz, and 1/20 oz sizes.
Lunar I coins are some of the most popular gold bullion products in the world. Because of the annual design changes the coins appeal to both collectors and investors.
Chinese Lunar Calendar
Lunar I gold coins celebrate the ancient Chinese Lunar Calendar, which dates back to 2,600 BC. Based on the appearance of the new moon, the calendar associates a different animal with each year in the 12 year lunar cycle.
In Chinese culture, the different animals are said to influence the behavior of the individuals born under its rule. Below is a table which shows the birth dates under each animal dictated by the appearance of the new moon.
Mouse 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
Ox 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
Tiger 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
Rabbit 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
Dragon 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
Snake 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
Horse 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
Goat 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
Monkey 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
Rooster 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
Dog 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
Pig 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019
Source: Perth Mint
The lunar cycle begins with the year of the mouse. According to the historical myth, the order of the animals was determined by a race across a river. The mouse quietly rode on the back of the ox, and leaped to victory at the last minute.
The sequence of the 12 animals featured in the Lunar I Gold Coin series from the Perth Mint are as follows:
1996 - Year of the Mouse (Rat)
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
What makes the Lunar I series so unique is the annually changing designs which feature the different animals of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The front side of the coin depicts the animal in the Chinese zodiac. The reverse side will always show the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Lunar Gold coins from the Perth Mint are some of the best designed coins in the world.
The Perth Mint was established in 1899, as a branch of the Royal Mint (UK). The Perth Mint was the third colonial branch of Britain’s Royal Mint with the others being the Sydney Mint and the Melbourne Mint, both now closed. The Perth Mint opened because of the large gold deposits discovered in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. It’s main purpose at the time was to mint Sovereigns and half Sovereigns for the British empire.
Between 1899-1931, the mint produced more than 106 million Gold Sovereigns and almost 735,000 half Sovereigns for use as currency throughout Australia and the British empire.
The mint remained under British control until 1970 when ownership was transferred to the government of Western Australia. By state act of Parliament, a new direction was established in 1987 with the creation of the Gold corporation. This allowed the mint to market Gold, Silver and Platinum bullion products to investors and collectors all over the world.
The Perth Mint produces a number of popular bullion coins which include:
Lunar I Gold Coin Series
Lunar II Gold Coin Series
Australian Gold Kangaroo Series
Kookaburra Silver coin Series
Koala Silver Coin Series
Lunar I gold coins are 99.99% pure gold
Are popular worldwide and easy to buy and sell almost anywhere precious metals are sold.
Are available in a variety of different sizes.
Are popular with both investors and collectors
The annual design changes add to the coins global appeal.
It should be noted that pure gold coins like the Lunar I are susceptible to surface scratches and should be kept in their protective packaging.
The price of Lunar I gold coins is made up of the gold price plus the premium. Gold is traded on the stock exchanges of the world and fluctuates constantly based upon supply and demand, geo-political factors and central bank policy.
The premium includes the cost and margin of the mint and bullion dealer. Each dealer has a different cost structure and as a result premiums can vary widely. Always choose a dealer with a good reputation and a wide selection of bullion products to choose from.
German Investment Coins
In Germany investment gold coins are exempt from VAT regulated in § 25c UStG. The following criteria make the Lunar I investment gold.
The gold coin must have been stamped after 1800.
It must be or have been an official means of payment in the country of production.
It must have a fine gold content of at least 900/1000.
The gold coin may not exceed the open market value by more than 80%
Manufacturer: Perth Mint
Country of origin: Australia
Carat: 24 K
Fineness: 999.9 / 1000
Common Sizes: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz
Scratch resistance: Poor