115 Things You Should Know About The Perth Mint
1. The Perth Mint opened in 1899 as a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint.
2. The Perth Mint was the third of three colonial branches of the Royal Mint established in Australia, yet remains the only operating Mint from the early gold rushes.
3. The Perth Mint is one of the oldest Mints in the world still operating from its original premises.
4. Throughout its 114-year history, The Perth Mint has fulfilled the dual roles of precious metal refining and coining.
5. In 1970, ownership of The Perth Mint transferred from Britain’s Royal Mint to the Government of Western Australia.
6. Spurred on by a massive surge in global demand for gold in the late 1980s, the State Government commissioned the Western Australian Development Corporation to redevelop The Perth Mint.
7. Gold Corporation was established under statutory legislation - Gold Corporation Act 1987 - to manage The Perth Mint’s assets and launch an Australian bullion coin program.
8. The management of Gold Corporation is governed by an independent Board of Directors.
9. With more than 90% of its turnover contributed by exports, Gold Corporation is one of the top ten exporters in Western Australia.
10. The Perth Mint’s operations include precious metals refining, coin and bar manufacture and marketing, precious metals investment solutions, and the hosting of a retail shop and historic tourist attraction.
11. Arthur Bailey and William Ford discovered gold in Western Australia at Fly Flat near Coolgardie in 1892. A bronze statue of the two prospectors is the centrepiece of The Perth Mint’s forecourt.
12. Paddy Hannan was a gold prospector who discovered gold on 17 June 1893 near Kalgoorlie, sparking Western Australia’s gold rush, with prospectors’ precious finds making their way to The Perth Mint.
13. Government architect, George Temple Poole, was the designer of The Perth Mint building, but retired in 1896 before its completion.
14. John Francis Campbell was appointed as the first Deputy Master of the Perth Branch of the Royal Mint in 1896. Since then, the title of Deputy Master has changed to Director then Chief Executive Officer. Since its foundation, The Perth Mint has had 12 Officers in Charge.
15. Sir John Forrest, the first Premier of Western Australia, is regarded as the founding father of The Perth Mint. John saw the importance of gold in the development of Western Australia's economy, and successfully lobbied the British Government to establish a branch of the Royal Mint in Perth.
16. In 1957, Refinery Officer Leo Hickey and Senior Craftsman Alexander Osborne produced a gold plate of 999.999 purity. This famous piece of gold is known as Plate 42C, giving the Mint the distinction of having produced the purest gold ever assayed by the Royal Mint.
17. In 2003, The Perth Mint officially opened an 8,400 square metre state-of-the-art manufacturing facility next door to its original building. This modern structure was named Campbell-Forrest House after the Mint’s first Deputy Master and Western Australia’s first Premier.
18. Among those who have designed for The Perth Mint, Dr Stuart Devlin AO CMG, Goldsmith and Jeweller to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and internationally renowned master of coin design, is the most famous.
19. The Perth Mint operates Australia’s only precious metals refinery.
20. As one of the highest throughput refineries in the world, and the largest facility in the Southern Hemisphere, The Perth Mint refines between 300 and 400 tonnes of precious metals each year, though its capacity far exceeds this level of output.
21. The Perth Mint refines the majority of gold mined in Australia, and volumes of gold sourced from surrounding countries including Asia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
22. The Perth Mint is an accredited refiner for the London Bullion Mark Association, the New York Commodity Exchange, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange.
23. An extensive selection of 99.5% and 99.99% pure gold, and 99.9% pure silver cast bars are produced at The Perth Mint refinery.
24. Perth Mint gold and silver bars are tradable anywhere in the world.
25. The Perth Mint refinery also offers analytical services to the Australian metals industry.
26. The 1899 gold sovereign was the first coin produced in Perth, denoted by The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.
27. Sovereign coins were withdrawn from circulation in 1931. By that time, The Perth Mint had struck in excess of 106 million sovereigns and 735,000 half sovereigns for distribution throughout Australia and the British Empire.
28. In 1922, The Perth Mint made its first copper penny.
29. The Perth Mint issued its first silver shilling in 1946.
30. The Perth Mint struck the first copper decimal coin in Australia - a 1966-dated 1 cent piece.
31. From 1922 to 1984, The Perth Mint produced in excess of 1.5 billion shillings, pennies, halfpennies, 2 cents and 1 cent coins.
32. Since 1986, The Perth Mint has issued bullion and collector coins in 99.99% pure gold, 99.9% pure silver, 99.95% pure platinum, and a range of base metal collectables.
33. The Perth Mint’s most popular coin theme is Australian animals, including the kangaroo, kookaburra, koala and platypus, which are showcased on the Australian bullion coin program.
34. The Perth Mint’s reputation for minting excellence has resulted in contracts to design and manufacture commemorative coins on behalf of other countries.
35. The Perth Mint is an important supplier of precious metal blanks to other major mints in the world.
36. The Perth Mint offers custom minting services to design and manufacture coins to client’s unique requirements.
37. Media personalities who have been involved in the promotion of Perth Mint coin programs include Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Olivia Newton-John, Jackie Chan, the late Peter Allen and Steve Irwin, Darryl Somers, Narelda Jacobs, and Philippa O’Connell.
38. In 2013, The Perth Mint combined traditional craftsmanship with special phosphorescence technology to release its first ever glow-in-the-dark coin, the Aurora Australis coin in the Australian Antarctic Territory series.
39. Under the authority of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, The Perth Mint is appointed to design, make and market Australia’s official bullion coin program.
40. Australia became the first nation to issue a bullion coin program which featured four precious metals – gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
41. All Perth Mint bullion coins are issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965.
42. The legal tender status of Perth Mint bullion coins means their precious metal weight and purity is guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government of Australia.
43. Australia’s first pure gold bullion coin, the Australian Nugget, was unveiled by The Perth Mint in 1987, with its popular kangaroo design theme later introduced in 1989.
44. The Australian Nugget was launched in 11 countries around the world during a 33-day road show.
45. The Australian Nugget bullion coin series converted more than 43,000 ounces of gold into 947,000 coins, generating some $290 million in export revenue in its first year.
46. Australia’s first pure silver bullion coin series, the Australian Kookaburra, was released by The Perth Mint in 1990.
47. In 1995, The Perth Mint issued the Australian Emu – the nation’s first palladium bullion coin series.
48. In 1998, The Perth Mint issued the Australian Koala – the country’s first 99.95% pure platinum bullion coin series.
49. Today, The Perth Mint issues the world’s largest range of pure gold and silver bullion coins, in weights varying from 1/20oz to 10 kilos.
50. The Perth Mint's bullion coins are unique in the world market as they offer annual design changes and select limited mintages.
51. Perth Mint minted investment bars are offered in 99.99% pure gold.
52. Perth Mint Gold (PMGOLD) is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
53. The Perth Mint’s Depository offers investors cost effective solutions to purchase and securely store their precious metals coins and bars.
54. In 1992, The Perth Mint introduced privy mark coins which featured a small mark or symbol on an existing design, to commemorate a special event or anniversary, or customise an Australian coin for international markets.
55. In 2002, The Perth Mint issued Australia’s first modern square-shaped Australia Kookaburra coin, paying tribute to the 1919 - 1921 George V Square Pattern Penny.
56. Also in 2002, The Perth Mint launched the world’s first locket coin – a coin with the capacity to showcase small free-moving objects within a transparent capsule.
57. In 2005, the Mint introduced the world’s first lenticular coin – a coin which incorporates special lenses that allow layered images to morph from one to another as the viewing angle of the coin is changed.
58. In 2007, The Perth Mint unveiled the orbital coin concept – a unique construction which allows an outer design to rotate around a central core.
59. The Perth Mint is the first Mint to produce a coin in the distinctive shape of Australia.
60. In 2011, The Perth Mint produced the world’s biggest and most valuable coin, weighing a massive one tonne of 99.99% pure gold.
61. The proof version of the Australian Nugget was the nation’s first coin of this quality to be struck from 99.99% pure gold.
62. The proof Australian Nugget was the first modern Australian coin to bear The Perth Mint’s traditional ‘P’ mintmark.
63. The proof Australian Nugget was the first internationally distributed gold coin to be issued in five weights – 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/10oz, and 1/20oz.
64. The Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint joined together to co-produce the commemorative coins and medallions of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
65. The Sydney 2000 Olympic Coin Program is the largest coin collection ever released by a host country, the biggest selling Olympic collector coin program in history, and the most significant collector coin program in Australian history, with sales totalling 5.5 million coins in some 50 countries.
66. In December 1995, The Perth Mint released the Australian Lunar Bullion Coin Series – the world’s first bullion program inspired by the Chinese zodiac.
67. In 2007, The Perth Mint was responsible for the first lenticular coin to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
68. The Perth Mint has perfected the manufacture of large-sized bullion coins in 10 kilo, 1kg, 10oz and 2oz weights.
69. Australia is one of the first nations to introduce colour on its commemorative coins.
70. Australians can purchase pure gold and silver bullion coins and bars online at www.perthmintbullion.com – the first bullion website to offer ‘live pricing’.
71. The Perth Mint has established an international presence with agents located in the leading precious metal markets of Europe, South East Asia, China, Japan and North America.
72. From these alliances, The Perth Mint oversees an extensive distribution network which includes coin dealers, banks and financial institutions across Australia and New Zealand, Europe, North America, Japan, South East Asia, China, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East.
73. Germany is The Perth Mint’s largest investment coin market.
74. China and Eastern Europe are The Perth Mint’s top emerging markets for collector coins.
75. The Perth Mint is one of the few international Mints selling precious metal collector coins into Russia.
76. The Perth Mint is an annual participant in the world’s leading numismatic fairs and conventions hosted across Australia, in the United States, Germany, Beijing, Japan and Russia.
77. The Perth Mint is well recognised internationally for its design innovation, minting expertise and marketing acumen, winning 21 industry awards in the past ten years.
78. The Perth Mint was selected above 18 other Mints to produce a legal tender collector coin program on behalf of the State of Qatar in celebration of the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
79. The Perth Mint’s best-selling product in 2011 was the Australian Koala 1oz Silver Bullion Coin, with sales reaching 898,000.
Tradition and technology
80. Original coin images are illustrated before being transferred onto computer.
81. Coin images are then manually sculptured on to plasters which are as big as dinner plates.
82. Perth Mint coin design details can be finer than a human hair.
83. The masking of a metal coin die is performed by hand with the aid of a microscope.
84. Talented engravers put the finishing touches to the metal coin dies.
85. Every coin issued by The Perth Mint is individually inspected.
86. The Perth Mint’s quality management system is certified to the international standards of AS/NZS ISO 9001:2000.
87. The Perth Mint uses specially adapted pad-printing techniques to achieve colourisation of precious metal coins.
88. The Perth Mint has a combination of coin blanking and manufacturing equipment comparable to the most prestigious mints in the world.
89. The Perth Mint’s Federation Romanesque administration building is one of Perth’s historic architectural landmarks.
90. The white limestone used in the construction of the building was quarried from Rottnest Island, while the rough, darker stone was extracted from Cottesloe Beach.
91. The total cost of construction was £58,000, a considerable sum in the 19th century and equivalent to approximately $7.5 million today.
92. The Perth Mint foundation stone was laid by Sir John Forrest on 23 September 1896.
93. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visited The Perth Mint in 1901.
94. The Perth Mint was one of the first buildings in Western Australia to be placed on the State’s Register of Heritage Places.
95. The National Trust of Australia recognised The Perth Mint as the only Mint in the Commonwealth to fulfil multiple roles of precious metals refining, bullion trading and coin manufacturing on one site.
96. Gold refining and commercial gold pouring took place at the Mint’s Hay Street premises from June 1899 until April 1990, when the operation was moved to a modern facility located near Perth airport.
97. The brick walls of the Mint’s original melting house are literally embedded with gold dust, accumulated over many decades of refining.
98. The Perth Mint’s grand heritage building, heavily secured vaults and original melting house provide the cues for many extraordinary stories about Western Australia's golden history.
99. The relaunch of The Perth Mint Shop in November 2011 was the first significant refurbishment to the 19th century building since the retail store originally opened in 1990.
100. In December 1993, The Perth Mint unveiled its Gold Exhibition, further opening the door to tourism.
101. The Perth Mint is known as one of Western Australia's premier tourist destinations.
102. The Perth Mint’s attractions have been recognised by winning 11 Western Australian Tourism Awards, being inducted into the State’s Hall of Fame on three occasions, and being awarded a prestigious Australian Tourism Award.
103. One of the biggest drawcards of The Perth Mint is the traditional gold pour, during which 200oz of pure gold is heated to molten temperatures and transformed into a solid gold bar.
104. A traditional gold pour has been performed seven times a day since the Mint was opened to the public. The same gold bar has been melted and poured in excess of 36,000 times without loss of gold or metal purity.
105. The Perth Mint is the home of the world's greatest collection of gold investment bars. The collection comprises more than 1,000 bars acquired over 20 years from 145 manufacturers and issuers in 35 countries.
106. Newmont’s Normandy Nugget, the second largest gold nugget in existence, weighing 25.5 kilograms (820 ounces) is on display at The Perth Mint.
107. Three of the largest Australian legal tender coins – the Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin, and the 10 kilo Australian Lunar Gold and Silver Bullion Coins – can be seen at The Perth Mint.
108. Visitors to The Perth Mint can handle a pure gold bar worth more than $700,000.
109. By stepping onto a set of special scales, visitors to the Mint can discover the value of their weight in gold.
110. Visitors to the Mint’s heritage site can see millions of dollars worth of coins being struck through large viewing windows.
111. Visitors to The Perth Mint can place a special message on a medallion which is ready to take home in just minutes.
112. The Perth Mint Shop is an authorised stockist of Kailis Jewellery, Argyle Pink Diamonds and Pandora.
113. The Perth Mint welcomes more than 70,000 international, interstate and local visitors each year.
114. Today, The Perth Mint is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.
115. On 30 April 2014, the Honourable Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia, unveiled the Mint’s dazzling new Gold Exhibition.