Many coin programs release coins alongside the Chinese zodiac. These coins offer investors and collectors fresh and unique designs on gold or silver coins. Among the most popular series is the Australian Lunar Series offered by the Perth Mint. This unique gold coin program is in its third iteration and is one of the most well-known coins offered by the Perth Mint. Learn more about this well-known series here, at Provident Metals.
The Chinese zodiac is a repeating 12-year cycle that assigns an animal to each year. The animals in order are the following:
There are many iterations of how these animals came to be. The most popular story involves the Jade Emperor who organized a race with all the animals to cross a rapid river. The 12 animals who finished the race first would be represented in the zodiac, in the order in which they finished.
Notably, an element coincides with every animal. There are five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) that are attached to every year. For example, 2024 is the Year of the Wood Dragon. We won’t see another wood dragon year for another 60 years.
The series debuted in 1996 with the Year of the Rat release. This began the Australian Lunar Series as we know it. The series released a new design every year dependent on what year it was per the zodiac.
By 2008, the cycle had repeated as it once again was the Year of the Rat. As such, the Perth Mint started Lunar Series II featuring all new designs for these animals. 2020 was the Year of the Rat again, and as such the beginning of the Lunar Series III.
The series debuted in 1996 with just a 1 oz and three fractional ounce options. Traditionally, The Perth Mint now issues 10 oz, 2 oz, 1 oz, and fractional ounce bullion coins annually.
While every release features a new animal or a new design, certain design elements remain the same across the series. The obverse of every coin in this series features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. The Ian Rank-Broadley portrait was first used in 1999. The Jody Clark design of Her Majesty was first used in 2020 with the debut of Lunar Series III.
The reverse of every coin in the series showcases a Chinese zodiac animal. Lunar Series I coins displayed the animal along with the traditional Chinese character for the animal along with the year of issue. Lunar Series II coins also use the traditional Chinese character for the animal, but instead of the year, the animal’s name is also inscribed. Lunar Series III features the name of the animal, the year, and the traditional Chinese character for the animal.
Provident Metals has a great selection of Australian Lunar Gold Coins. For any questions about these coins, please don’t hesitate to ask. Our customer service team is available at 1-800-313-3315. Additionally, we can also be reached through email or our online chat feature.