Perth Mint's Lunar Series is one of the most prestigious sovereign bullion coin programs in the world. With annual gold and silver releases honoring the Chinese zodiac, this series has sparked off similar programs from other prominent mints across the globe.
Perth Mint started commemorating the Chinese zodiac by releasing a coin featuring that year’s animal on it in the year 1999. This series' second iteration came to a close with the releases in 2019. Over the years, collecting every coin in this renowned series has become a hobby/passion for some, as it offers the dual benefits of expanding their precious metals portfolio, while obtaining coins with unique designs that are highly displayable.
The British Empire set up mints in Australia to fully utilize gold from the gold rush – striking countless gold sovereigns and half-sovereigns. Between 1899 and 1931, the Perth Mint struck over 106 million gold sovereigns and almost 735,000 half-sovereigns. In fact, it was the discovery of rich gold deposits in the Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie, and Murchison areas of the British colony that led to a rapid growth in Australian population.
The Perth Mint was established in 1899 and started out as one of three Australian branches of the Royal Mint. The other two branches were Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint, both of which are now no longer operational.
Since every coin released under this coin program is assigned legal tender status in Australia, they carry official face values backed by the Australian govt. Their obverses feature Ian Rank-Broadley's portrayal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II -- commonly seen on all circulating coinage in the country.
However, the reverses bear designs that honor the animal ruling over the year being celebrated.