Australia’s Perth Mint first opened on June 20th, 1899, making today the mint’s 118th birthday. It has since grown to become one of the world’s most trusted mints, known for metal purity, quality, and an array of bullion coin series. Let’s take a peek at the mint’s history and the steps that led the organization to its current role in the industry.
The Perth Mint was established in response to finding rich gold deposits in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. It originally opened as the third branch of the British Royal Mint in Australia, following the first two located in Sydney and Melbourne (both of which are now closed). Gold miners from around the world were able to deposit their raw gold at the mint, where it was refined and minted into coins.
From the mint’s birth to 1931, over 106 million gold sovereigns and nearly 735,000 half sovereigns were struck for use as currency in Australia and the British Empire. Production was halted when Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931. But the mint continued to operate, focusing instead on making gold bullion bars until eventually coins were struck once more.
From 1940 to 1964, the mint produced hundreds of millions of Australian pennies and half pennies. Over 800 million coins were produced between 1966 and 1973, which is when Australia introduced decimal currency.
Meanwhile, in 1957, the mint was able to create arguably the purest of all gold in the form of a proof plate consisting of 999.999 fine gold, as measured by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London. In fact, The British Royal Mint was so impressed that they ordered some of this gold to use as a benchmark for its own standards.
In July 1970, the ownership of the mint transferred from Britain to the government of Western Australia. And in 1987, the mint was empowered to produce and market precious metal legal tender coinage. The Perth Mint has gone on to create to bullion coin series that are treasured around the globe, such as the Australian Nugget, the Silver Kookaburra, the Silver Koala, the Lunar series, and more.
The Perth Mint is symbolic of over 100 years of minting excellence and currently produces all of Australia’s official bullion products. We wish the mint a very happy anniversary with hopefully many more to come!