Perth Mint
The Perth Mint is Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's oldest currently operating mint
Mint (coin)
A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures coins for currency.The history of mints correlates closely with the history of coins. One difference is that the history of the mint is usually closely tied to the political situation of an era...

 (with the earlier mints, the Sydney Mint
Sydney Mint
The Sydney Mint in Sydney, Australia, is the oldest public building in the Sydney Central Business District. Built between 1811 and 1816 as the southern wing of the Sydney Hospital, it was then known as the Rum Hospital. In 1854 a mint was established on the site with the hospital building used...

 and Melbourne Mint
Melbourne Mint
The Melbourne Mint, in Melbourne, Australia, was a branch of the British Royal Mint. Until 1916 it minted only gold sovereigns, and all Australian coins between 1927 and 1967...

 having since shut down).

After the foundation stone was laid in 1896 by Sir John Forrest
John Forrest
Sir John Forrest GCMG was an Australian explorer, the first Premier of Western Australia and a cabinet minister in Australia's first federal parliament....

, the Mint opened on 20 June 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to refine gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and manufacture gold sovereigns and half sovereigns to be used as currency in the colony.

At that time, Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

's population was growing rapidly (23,000 in 1869 and 180,000 in 1900) due largely to the discovery of gold in the Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie and Murchison areas of the colony. There was very little money available in Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

 for which miners could exchange gold to pay for goods.

Although Federation
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

 occurred in 1901, the Mint remained under the jurisdiction of Britain until 1 July 1970, when it became a statutory authority of the Government of Western Australia
Government of Western Australia
The formation of the Government of Western Australia is prescribed in its Constitution, which dates from 1890, although it has been amended many times since then...

. It is now owned by Gold Corporation
Gold Corporation
Gold Corporation is a company owned by the Western Australian Government, established by the Gold Corporation Act 1987, with a mandate to operate the Perth Mint, to market Australian gold and other related activities....

 which is wholly owned by the Government of Western Australia.

Up to 2000, the Mint's refined gold output totalled 4,500 tonnes, representing 3.25% of the total weight of gold produced by humankind. This is about the current holdings of gold bullion in the United States Mint
United States Mint
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

's Fort Knox Bullion Depository. Up until the end of 1983, the Perth Mint also manufactured much of Australia's lower-denomination coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....


Today, the Mint continues to provide refining and other services to the gold industry and manufactures many coin related numismatic items for investors and coin collectors. It is responsible for manufacturing and marketing most of Australia's legal tender precious metal coins, including proof
Proof coinage
Proof coinage means special early samples of a coin issue, historically made for checking the dies and for archival purposes, but nowadays often struck in greater numbers specially for coin collectors . Many countries now issue them....

 quality Australian Nugget gold coins, Australian Platinum Koala
Platinum Koala
The Platinum Koala is an Australian platinum bullion coin minted by the Perth Mint and is the most famous series of platinum coins of Australia. The Platinum Koala is notionally legal tender, that is a legal means of payment ....

 coins, Australian Silver Kookaburra
Australian Silver Kookaburra
The Silver Kookaburra is a silver bullion coin originating from Australia, and produced at the Perth Mint. The coins are .999 fine silver. They are minted in the following four sizes:...

 coins and bullion.

In October 2011, the Perth Mint created the world's largest, heaviest and most valuable gold coin, breaking the record previously held by the Royal Canadian Mint
Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint produces all of Canada's circulation coins, and manufactures circulation coins on behalf of other nations. The Mint also designs and manufactures: precious and base metal collector coins; gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion coins; medals, as well as medallions and...

. The coin is approximately 80 centimetre in diameter and 12 centimetre thick, and made of 1012 kilograms (2,231.1 lb) of 99.99% pure gold. It features a red kangaroo on the front of the coin and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse. It is legal tender in Australia with face value 1 million, but at the time of minting it was valued at 53.5 million.

See also

  • Perth Mint Certificate Program
    Perth Mint Certificate Program
    The Perth Mint Certificate Programme allows individuals, and corporations to own investment grade gold, silver and platinum bullion stored in vaults in the Perth Mint of Western Australia . The bullion is stored in a government mint and insured by Lloyd's of London...

  • Perth Mint Swindle
    Perth Mint Swindle
    The Perth Mint Swindle is the popular name of a robbery of 68 kg of gold bars at the Perth Mint in Western Australia on 22 June 1982. The bullion was valued at A$653,000 at that time....

  • History of Western Australia
    History of Western Australia
    The human history of Western Australia commenced between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago with the arrival of Indigenous Australians on the north-west coast. The first inhabitants expanded the range of their settlement to the east and south of the continent. The first recorded European contact was in...

External links

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