About Perth Mint Bullion Blog

This blog discusses The Perth Mint's bullion coins and bars, providing information about our latest designs, mintages, sales volumes and sell outs. On a broader front, we share relevant research and opinions for anyone interested in gold and silver bullion investing.

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Don’t Let Intrigue And Speculation Lead You Astray

RESEARCH & ANALYSIS

When The Perth Mint decided to launch a blog in conjunction with its online bullion website, I had a discussion with the Chief Financial Officer, Richard Hayes, about what my approach should be. He summarised his vision for what the Mint ought to achieve as “the BBC of precious metals”. What he meant by this was that we should do more than just report events, but analyse it and do so impartially.

Unfortunately, much of the commentary on precious metals that one finds on the internet falls short of this standard. There are intelligent writers out there, but many are merely seeking to generate sensationalist content that will drive traffic to their site so they can sell you a subscription to their newsletter or push their products. Some have preconceived views and their analysis becomes biased as they look for data to support their views or they deliberately twist facts to make a point. Others have a very shallow understanding of, or experience in, the industry and thus come to incorrect conclusions or deduce conspiracies due to that ignorance. You deserve better, as we are talking about a serious decision whether to invest in precious metal and how best to do it.

The cynics out there may say the Mint is also compromised. To that I would say that we are unique in the industry in that we offer every type of precious metal product. We sell cast bars, minted bars and coins. We can deliver them to you or store them for you on an allocated basis. We sell unallocated metal and also have a stock exchange listed product. As a result, we don’t have to push a particular product to make a profit – you want to store with us, fine, you want to take delivery, also fine. You can rely on us to be objective about the pros and cons of various products.

Regarding prices and whether you should invest in precious metals, we know we are not financial advisors. Each individual’s financial situation is unique and precious metals are not appropriate for everyone. All we will be aiming to do is provide balanced reporting on the state of the market and what drives it. We assume that you are intelligent and are not looking for someone to tell you what to think, but instead want information you can trust in reaching your own decision. If that means exploring reasons why not to buy, we’ll do it.

What can you expect from my posts? I will range from short summaries of articles of interest through to multipage analyses. There will be some commentary on the commentators and the (hopefully) occasional debunking, if some outrageous piece of rubbish appears to be gaining acceptance as truth.

Precious metal is a unique asset class and worthy of your consideration. However, the opaque nature of the industry lends itself to intrigue and speculation that can lead investors astray. I hope my blog posts will help you navigate your way through the market.

Bron Suchecki, Manager Analysis and Strategy.

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Online Bullion Breakthrough

Topics [ buy silver online buy gold online ]

WORLD OF GOLD

For the past 18 months we’ve been developing a new website that will enable clients all over the world to buy gold and silver bullion direct from The Perth Mint.

This is a huge step forward for us and our customers, not to mention the industry as a whole. Currently, no other major mint in the world offers a similar service for investors.

The Perth Mint was one of the first to implement a fully-enabled online shopping facility for numismatic products. Providing collectors with the choice of dealing with their favourite coin dealer, or buying direct from us, www.perthmint.com.au continues to go from strength to strength.

As you know, we also refine and make Australia’s official bullion coin program, including the iconic Australian Kangaroo, Koala and Kookaburra series. There’s an equally comprehensive range of cast gold and silver bars and a popular new line of minted gold bars.

These products are currently available, and will continue to be so, through an international network of authorised Perth Mint distributors, who do a fantastic job. But the desire to offer similar choice for bullion customers drove our initial discussions about the new site. Eventually the idea was incorporated into the strategic plan and now, nearly two years later, we’re on the verge of going live with it internationally.

Throughout the development process, we constantly put ourselves in your shoes as a potential customer. I think we’ve realised our number one objective of making it as simple and convenient as possible to use.

A key feature is true ‘live’ pricing. The price of each coin or bar you will see quoted is the current Perth Mint spot plus fabrication. Once you load your purchase into the online shopping cart, you’ll have at least 60 seconds to lock that price away.

Everyone will be able to see www.perthmintbullion.com from 4 October.  To begin with, we’re beta testing the site with several thousand people in Australia who have pre-registered their interest.  Over coming months, we’ll be rolling full functionality out globally.  (I’ll be blogging in more detail about the international launch program in a forthcoming post.)

In the meantime, I’d love you to have a look around the site and let me know what you think.  Please feel free to post your comments and I’ll be more than happy to respond.

Ron Currie Ron Currie, Perth Mint Sales & Marketing Director.

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'One Stop Shop' Sets Perth Mint Apart For Bullion Investors

Topics [ gold coins silver bullion gold bullion invest in bullion bullion coins silver coins bullion bars ]

CEO STANDPOINT

The subject of my first blog article is a bit of an introduction to the organisation which I run. For those who are familiar with The Perth Mint and its products this is not so much for you – but I am sure that there are many people for which this might be of interest.

 

Ed Harbuz, Perth Mint CEO Ed Harbuz, Perth Mint CEO.

I do not intend to dwell on our history too much as there is a fair amount of information on the corporate website. Suffice it to say that we were founded in 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint to refine gold from the then recently discovered Western Australian gold fields, and use some of it to mint sovereigns – gold coins that were used as circulating currency in the British Empire.

Government-Owned

In 1970 the Western Australian Government took ownership of the Mint and in 1986 Gold Corporation, the government-owned entity which now operates The Perth Mint was formed. In the same year, we issued the first Australian bullion gold coin and we remain, to this day, the official and only issuer of Australia’s bullion coins, which have a world wide market share of (very approximately because it varies from year-to-year) 10%.

Our Refinery

Our whole business revolves around gold and silver. Our refinery processes nearly all of the gold produced in Australia, currently the world’s second biggest gold producer. It also refines gold from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, other surrounding countries, quantities of scrap gold and a fair amount of silver. The gold and silver is used in our bullion and numismatic coins, supplied to our Depository, sold to markets where it is required in bars of various sizes and the rest is shipped to London as London Good Delivery bars.

One Stop Shop

So, for people wanting to invest in gold or silver, or wishing to have exposure to precious metal prices for any reason, we are something of a “one stop shop”. We can supply bullion coins, minted bars or cast refinery bars. Customers can take possession of these or leave them with us in our Depository and pay a small storage charge.

They can buy unallocated metal in our Depository, which we physically keep in our vaults, at the Mint or the refinery and, because we use some of it in our processes, we do not charge for storage. Some of this metal has to be kept in bullion banks in London so we can sell metal immediately when customers wish to do so.

Listed Gold Fund

We even have a gold fund listed on the Australian Stock Exchange called Perth Mint Gold (ASX code: ZAUWBA) for customers wanting the convenience of a listed product.

Our business is international – more than 90% of our turnover is from exports and we do business in most parts of the world, supported by a network of agents, distributors, dealers and other business partners.

Collector Coins

Numismatic coins are a fun part of our business – they are little works of art and ours are distributed worldwide. We issue Australian numismatic, collector or commemorative coins (these terms are used somewhat interchangeably) and those of some other countries. We love new ideas and innovations, as a quick look through our numismatic website might indicate.

Visit Us

For those of you able to get to Perth, you are always welcome to visit us. Our visitor experience includes a shop selling not only our coins and bars, but a range of jewellery and other interesting products. Visitors can then take a guided tour of the exhibition in which they get a taste of our colourful history and witness the pouring of a 200 ounce gold bar in the original melt house where gold was actually refined between 1899 and 1990.

So, that’s us – an integrated precious metals business with varied and complementary activities. In future blogs I shall tell you more about various parts of our business and talk about some exciting new developments.

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Gold, Champagne - What's The Connection?

BULLION BARS AND COINS

Troyes, in the Champagne region of France, is an ancient city with a fascinating history.  For example, the Knights Templars emerged there in the 12th century.

Standing at a hub on an extensive network of Roman roads, the city became a “formidable place for commercial exchanges”.

In the Middle Ages it hosted the largest and most important of the famous Champagne Fairs.  Merchants from across Europe gathered in the city to trade their wools, silks, leathers, furs, spices, and, of course, precious gold and silver wares.

The Counts of Champagne, who prospered from this activity, introduced rules governing the efficient operation of the Fairs.  It is said that that the system of measuring gold, silver and gemstones first used in their region took its name from the city of Troyes.

Troyes, ancient city of Champagne.

The troy system was in widespread use as the basis of several European monetary systems by the end of the 12th century.  It reached Britain under King Henry II (r. 1154-1189) – the so-called Angevin monarch who also ruled large territories in France.

English pennies, worth 1/240th of a pound sterling, also weighed 1/240th of a troy pound of sterling silver. With 20 ‘pennyweights’ the equivalent of one troy ounce, there were 12 troy ounces in one troy pound.

Despite the rise of avoirdupois weights (16 ounces = one pound) for everyday goods, it has remained customary to weigh and price precious metals in troy weights.  Troy pounds and pennyweights fell from favour in the 19th century, but even when British legislation abolished other old weights and measures in 1963, the troy ounce survived for trade in precious metals.

The weight of gold and silver bullion bars and coins made by The Perth Mint are all specified in troy ounces.  So if you’re considering buying precious metals for the first time and are not entirely sure what this means, here’s what you really need to know.

The troy ounce and the avoirdupois ounce have in common the grain, the smallest unit of mass in everyday use.  But they’re not the same.  At 480 grains, the troy ounce is heavier than the avoirdupois ounce, which weighs 437.5 grains.

In metric terms, the troy ounce weighs 31.1034768 grams.  The avoirdupois ounce is slightly less, at 28.349523125 grams.

If anyone has any further interesting information about the history of troy weights or wishes to comment on the accuracy of my research, I’d certainly be delighted to hear from you.

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We’re On YouTube!

Topics [ Australian Kangaroo silver bullion coins gold coins Year of the Rabbit Australian Lunar Australian Koala bullion coins silver coins gold bullion coins Australian Kookaburra ]

BULLION BARS AND COINS

We’re starting a YouTube channel!  It’s early days yet but already the promotional video for the 2011 Australian Bullion Coin program has received plenty of hits.

If you’ve not had a chance, click below to see our brilliant video production skills!

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2011 Kangaroo, Kookaburra and Lunar Coins Available Now

Topics [ Australian Kangaroo silver bullion coins Year of the Rabbit Australian Lunar bullion coins gold bullion coins Australian Kookaburra ]

BULLION BARS AND COINS

We’re celebrating the launch of the 2011 Australian Kangaroo, Australian Kookaburra and Australian Lunar coins this week.

The new releases became officially available on Tuesday.  On 4 October, they’ll be joined by the 2011 Australian Koala issue.

Here are the new designs, sizes and mintages.

Australian Kangaroo Gold Bullion Coins

The series comprises a 1 kilo coin featuring Stuart Devlin’s classic kangaroo design and four smaller coins with a superb image of a kangaroo superimposed on the rays of the rising sun by Aleysha Howarth.  Mintage of 1 kilo coin is unlimited. No more than 350,000 1oz coins, 100,000 1/2oz coins, 150,000 1/4oz coins and 200,000 1/10oz coins will be produced in 2011.

2011Australian Kangaroo

Australian Kookaburra Silver Bullion Coin Series

I think this is one of the most striking Kookaburra designs we’ve ever released.  The three silver coins portray a kookaburra about to launch from a tree stump.  Congratulations to designer Elise Martinson, who was also responsible for the amazing Australian Bush Babies series of collector coins.   Only 500,000 1oz coins will be released.  No mintage limit applies to 1 kilo and 10oz coins.

2011 Australian Kookaburra

Australian Lunar Gold and Silver Bullion Coins

Always popular, the latest Australian Lunar coins celebrate the Year of the Rabbit (3 February 2011 – 22 January 2012).  In Chinese culture, people born in the Year of the Rabbit - 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 and 2011 - are reputedly intelligent, articulate, compassionate and loyal.

There are nine gold coins.  A maximum of 100 10 kilo coins will be produced on a mint-to-order basis in 2011.  No more than 30,000 1oz coins will be produced.  Although no mintage limits apply to the 1 kilo, 10oz, 2oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz coins, their official mintages will be declared when production ceases at the end of 2011.

2011 AustralianLunar Gold Coins

There are seven silver coins.  A maximum of 500 10 kilo coins will be produced on a mint-to-order basis in 2011.  No more than 300,000 1oz coins will be produced.  No mintage limit applies to 1 kilo, 1/2 kilo, 10oz, 5oz, 2oz and 1/2oz coins.  Except for the 1 kilo release, production of these coins will close at the end of 2011 and we will declare each coin’s official mintage.  Production of 1 kilo coins will cease at the end of the series.

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