New Releases From the Perth Mint

2015 Lunar Series II Year of the Goat Silver Proof Coin

The Perth Mint continues its Lunar Series II in 2015 with the Year of the Goat Silver Proof coins. Now in its second iteration, this popular series draws its theme from the Chinese Lunar calendar (also known as the Chinese zodiac) and features new reverse designs every year for each successive animal in the Lunar cycle.

Following the Year of the Horse in 2014, the goat is the 8th animal in the 12-year Lunar cycle, last appearing in 2003. People born under the sign of the Goat (sometimes, the Sheep or Ram) are said to be charming, elegant, gentle, loyal, artistic, and possess a calm demeanor.

The common reverse of these coins, created by artist Natasha Muhl, is an original design featuring three goats in a tranquil rural setting. Two adult goats look on as a kid grazes in the foreground. The Chinese character for “Goat” is placed above the leftmost goat, while the inscription “Year of the Goat” curls along the rim below. The “P” mintmark for Perth appears along the rim to the left.

2015 Year of the Goat Silver Proof Coin

2015 Year of the Goat Silver Proof Coin

On the obverse, we are graced by Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right. Inscriptions circling the outer rim rim also indicate the coin’s legal tender face value and year of issue (2015). These coins also feature a Proof quality finish, exhibiting mirrored backgrounds that contrast beautifully against frosted relief devices.

For 2015, the Year of the Goat coins will be struck for four different denominations, listed in the table below:

Size Silver Content (troy oz) Gross Weight (grams) Fineness Denomination Diameter (mm) Maximum Mintage
1 kg 32.15 1,003.002 .999 30 AUD 100.6 500
2 oz 2 62.270 .999 2 AUD 55.6 2,000
1 oz 1 31.135 .999 1 AUD 45.6 8,500
½ oz 0.5 15.573 .999 0.5 AUD 36.6 9,000

Just 500 of the kilo coins will be minted, and only 1,000 of the 3-coin set that includes the 2 oz, 1 oz, and ½ oz sizes will be issued worldwide. The remainder of the mintage limits will be satisfied by orders for the individual coins. All maximum mintage figures represent worldwide distribution limits.

2014 Australian Opal Series Masked Owl 1 oz Silver Proof Coin

The Perth Mint’s Australian Opal Series receives a new addition with the 2014 1 ounce Silver Masked Owl Proof coin. Designed by artist Aleysha Howarth, this beautiful silver coin is the sixth in the series and depicts the Australian Masked Owl, harkening back to the Athenian drachmas minted from Laurium silver. The owl is crafted from precious Australian opals, which add depth and color to the coin’s already striking design.

The Australian Masked Owl featured on the reverse is a handsome bird that can be distinguished by its heart-shaped white face which contrasts with its brown plumage. The Australian Masked Owl is a species of barn owl that inhabits the timbered regions of Australia, mirroring human habitation near or just inland from the coasts. The species is relatively common throughout the country, but some states have seen populations decline and have listed the birds as “threatened.”

The Masked Owl is rendered in precious Australian opal, a gemstone that forms in the cracks and cavities of other rocks, sometimes even making up entire fossils. Australia produces the vast majority of the world’s gem-quality opals, with the state of South Australia producing nearly 80% of the country’s supply. Opals can exhibit nearly any color in the visible spectrum, sometimes many at once within the same stone.

The outer panel on the reverse is ringed with eucalyptus boughs, blooms of native Australian flowers and a waning moon. Also depicted is the Southern Cross, a constellation of stars that is only seen in the sky of the Southern Hemisphere. This group of stars is featured on the flags of many South Pacific nations including Australia, New Zealand, and many of the small island nations that dot the region.

This Masked Owl silver coin is part of Perth's Opal Series.

This Masked Owl silver coin is part of Perth’s Opal Series.

The obverse features Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II before a radiating central field. The panel that surrounds the Queen’s portrait bears inscriptions containing the denomination of “1 DOLLAR,” as well as “ELIZABETH II” and “AUSTRALIA.”

The Perth Mint continues with their penchant for innovative packaging and display options for this issue. The Australian Masked Owl coin comes complete with a unique case that holds a small light to represent the rising moon illuminating the coin’s opalescent central device.

Here are the coin’s specifications:

Silver Content Denomination Fineness Weight Diameter Thickness Maximum Mintage
1 Troy oz 1 AUD .999 31.135 g 36.6 mm 4.5 mm 8,000

These coins will officially be available for sale on September 2, 2014. They come securely housed in the Perth Mint’s stylish display case, along with an individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity and themed shipping box.

For more information on these Year of the Goat and Opal Masked Owl coins, as well as other precious metal and collectible products offered by the Perth Mint, visit their website at

Stronger Dollar Pushes Gold Through Support: Morning Market Update Sept 2

A stronger dollar and lack of response so far by the West to Russia’s open invasion of Ukraine pushed gold through support levels at $1,273 in heavy volume.

Gold stair-stepped down throughout trading overnight, as the dollar hit a seven-month high against the yen and a one-year high against the euro. The DXY dollar index touched a 13-month high in midday European trading, briefly breaking the 83 mark.

The greenback is king of the currency hill, as the EU nations slide into recession, and even powerhouse Germany sees GDP contract. The French government called on the European Central Bank to weaken the euro even more, as French manufacturing activity plummeted. The ECB meets this Thursday, with the market fully expecting a quantitative easing (money printing) policy to be unveiled.

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Markets Prepare for Long Weekend: Morning Market Update Aug 29

U.S. markets have decided that it’s better to take the middle road over the long Labor Day weekend, than be short or long on anything. Stocks, bonds and precious metals are all easing in early New York trading.

NATO isn’t going to risk global thermonuclear war over a non-member (Ukraine,) something that everyone is well aware of. Sanctions will be discussed over the weekend while the Russian Army pushes as far as it can into eastern Ukraine, hoping to open a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine this spring.

At 10am, gold is down 3.60 at $1,285.60, silver is up 4 cents to $19,52, platinum is down $1 to $1,418, and palladium up $1 to $896. Palladium hit a high of $903 yesterday, Precious metals are resuming their extremely tight range again today, as a wedge pattern of higher lows and lower highs building in gold. With September being a traditionally good month for gold, we may see a breakout later in the month that is not dependent on wars breaking out.

The dollar is trading near unchanged, and the euro saw slight strength overnight. Russia’s actual invasion of Ukraine is naturally affecting European markets more than U.S. markets, but bond demand is easing even in Europe. Everyone is moving to neutral positions in all assets until Tuesday. The Labor Day holiday in the U.S. will be over, and the EU will have had 4 days to try to agree on a response to Russian aggression. (I wonder if France is still going to deliver that helicopter aircraft carrier they built for Putin?)

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Russian Invasion Roils Global Markets: Morning Market Update Aug 28

News that regular Russian Army troops have invaded eastern Ukraine have sent global stocks plummeting, and investors rushing into safe haven assets. NATO confirms that at least 1,000 soldiers of the Russian Army, backed by tanks, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries have begun an offensive in Ukraine.

Gold gained steadily overnight, until a blip upward at the New York open broke the $1295 level and triggered a tiny bit of profit-taking.  Silver saw a big rally in Asia of about 40 cents, before easing slightly. Platinum broke out of an unbelievably tight rang it has held for days, late in Asian trading. to gain $10 an ounce. Palladium continues its measured gains, up six dollars in New York.

10am spot prices are gold: $1,291 (+.65%), silver $19.63 (+1.0%), platinum $1,432 (+.78%), and palladium $894 (+.79%)

German bond yields are seeing record lows as money flees the stock market. The yen and Swiss franc are seeing safe haven buying as well, while the dollar recovers from an overnight drop. The Russian ruble has plummeted to a six-month low, as stocks in Moscow lose over 3%.

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Gold Slightly Up After Stock Records Broken: Morning Market Update Aug 27

Precious metals are up slightly on bargain hunting, a day after the S&P 500 stock index closed above 2,000 for the first time. Wall St. opened barely above unchanged this morning, and promptly dipped into the red. This is probably profit-taking before the end of the month.

Gold saw a little bit more physical demand in Asia, and carried that strength into European trading. With European bond yields at record lows and economic fears growing, the opportunity cost for adding gold to an EU portfolio are very low.

palladiumSilver is showing more volatile trading in Asia and Europe than it is in the U.S., due to the thin markets. Platinum and palladium are up modestly, as recent softness has presented some buying opportunities. UBS notes that recent softness is the result of outflows from PGM ETFs, which had seen remarkable inflows earlier this year. This is likely profit-taking, since the fundamentals underpinning the market haven’t changed, and palladium has gained over 22% for the year.

Gold is being helped this morning by a softer dollar. The DXY dollar index is still above 82.5, however, holding on to much of the recent rally. This may just be some consolidation.  Oil is still trading in a tight range, despite the increase in fighting around the oil ports of Libya, a major exporter to Europe.

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Gold Bounces on Short Covering, Safe Haven: Morning Market Update Aug 26

gold-rallyGold saw a sharp rebound over $1,290 in Asian trading overnight, as safe haven demand and profit-taking resulted in some covering of short positions. Silver gained modestly overnight, holding the gains into the New York open where it saw a short-term spike before easing slightly.

Platinum also gained modestly in Asia, showing some volatility due to the thin markets affecting all sectors during summer vacation.  Palladium, which briefly touched a $895 high yesterday before closing at $888, is trading near unchanged.

Thin volumes are affecting all markets — equities, commodities, metals. Nanex reported that the volume on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday was the lowest non-holiday volume since October 2006, so take any big movements in any market for the next week or so with a grain of salt.

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EU Dreams of QE: Morning Market Update Aug 25

Raining Euros!

Gold is down only slightly this morning, after a dip at the Asian open. Silver is unchanged after recovering from mild softness overnight, while platinum and palladium are also down slightly.

European stocks are up, despite unimpressive economic news, on dreams of Quantitative Easing from the European Central Bank.

ECB president Mario Draghi’s speech at the global central banker conference in Jackson Hole, WY, urged the governments of the European nations to institute measures to boost economic growth. He said that the ECB would be reversing policy to aim for economic stimulus instead of austerity measures.

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Russia Trumps Bankers As Market Mover: Morning Market Update Aug 22

Gold closed down 1% yesterday as the dollar continues a strong rally and the S&P 500 edged up 5 points to set a new record. Most of these “new records” on the stock market have been on gains of under 10 points, and often under 5 points.

Overnight, gold almost exactly retraced the previous day’s movement in Europe overnight, but saw a smaller dip than yesterday at the COMEX open, to trade slightly higher this morning in New York. Platinum also tightly retraced the previous day’s market action in Europe.

Silver gained overnight, to ease slightly in New York to trade nearly unchanged. Palladium is slightly higher after recent selling pressure.

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