Australian Kangaroo Gold Coins - Not Just Mere Nuggets
One of the most popular gold bullion coin series in the world is the Australian gold kangaroo series. Australian kangaroos are pure gold, in other words 99.99% fine gold bullion. They are technically legal tender in Australia, though not at their face value but rather at the current market value for their weight in gold. The main denominations available are1/20 troy oz, 1/10 troy oz, 1/4 troy oz, 1/2 troy oz, and 1 troy oz, though larger denominations are also available. Unlike other non-proof gold bullion coin series, every kangaroo leaves the mint in a durable plastic hard case.
First minted in 1986 and launched to the public in 1987, the coin series' name is actually the Australian nugget. From 1986 to 1988 the coins displayed images of gold nuggets, but outside of Australia these images were not easily identifiable as being nuggets. The round object in the picture could have been a simple stone or lump of coal, or a piece of excrement for all we could tell. Realizing this, Australia's Gold Corporation changed the image to that of a kangaroo from 1989 onwards, giving the Australian gold nuggets their common nickname "gold kangaroos".
The golden kangaroo coin features a kangaroo image that changes every year. In this regard these coins are similar to Chinese Panda gold coins which feature yearly rotating designs. On the reverse side is a headshot of Queen Elizabeth. The kangaroo is unique in its design because it utilizes a 2 tone frosted effect, with a lighter "white gold" as the base color, and a darker gold color frosted over top.
One innovation of the Australian gold kangaroo series is its production of larger sized denominations, specifically 2-ounce coins, 10-ounce coins, and 32.15-ounce coins. 32.15 ounces is 1 kilogram! These are produced in order to limit the premium charges for buyers of large amounts of gold. All gold bullion coins are sold at a premium over the cost of their weight in gold, to cover production costs, and the smaller the denomination the proportionally larger the premium.
The Australian kangaroo gold coin is not the only coin series produced by the Gold Corporation's Perth Mint, but because of the series' limited minting it is considered to have slightly more numismatic value above its gold content than other bullion coins do. Plus the kangaroo is such a ubiquitous symbol of Australia that collectors around the globe feel that they truly own a piece of Australia when they buy a gold kangaroo.
The Perth Mint also produces the kangaroo in silver and platinum versions.
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