Australian Gold Koalas

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The Australian Gold Koala is a series of gold bullion collectors’ coins that was created as an addition to their already popular Gold Kangaroo series. Their own unique version of the Chinese Gold Panda, the Gold Koala features their own endemic, cuddly ‘bear’ (not really a bear, but a type of marsupial – i. e. animals that bear their young in pouches, like the Kangaroo). The Australian Gold Koala is fast becoming a very popular collectors’ coin as well as an investor’s coin despite only having been recently minted sometime in 2009, although examples of coins not officially belonging to the Gold Koala series, but nevertheless depicting koalas on the reverse side of the coin can be found in as far back as the 1980s (although this version of the Gold Koala was minted using only 0.9167 fine gold, equivalent to 22 carats).[1] The initial release of the Gold Koala coins was met with quite some fanfare in many numismatic groups. Aside from making available yet another range of coins to collect and ultimately, invest in, the Gold Koalas were a wholly new take on the bullion collection and investment scheme, with a whole other aesthetic involved in its production and creation.

Unlike the bulk of other Australian gold bullion that come in a variety of designs and finishes, the Gold Koala is distinct in that the majority of its coins are made expressly as bullion proof type coins – literally, coins that are expressly made with a frosted or high-relief foreground, and a mirror background. Another distinct feature that separates Gold Koalas from other Australian gold bullion coins is that it is distinctly minted in the style of a piedfort - literally a coin which is twice its normal weight and thickness (although it should not be considered as strictly a piedfort, as it lacks certain attributes that makes it officially one).[2] Typically, such coins are expressly minted for the purposes of archival and collection, as they are nominally worth far more than average coinage. As such, with the Gold Koala coins being made with the Perth Mint’s trademark 99.99% gold fineness, its value as an investment automatically rises due to its being minted as a piedfort. Furthermore, with only very limited production numbers, each coin will in time appreciate numismatically, in effect increasing its price owing to its rarity.

The Gold Koalas differ from the Gold Kangaroos in that their denominations or fractional sizes are only limited to small-sized and middle-sized bullion coins. Unlike the Gold Kangaroos that come in kilo-coins, the Gold Koalas are only available in 2 oz, 1 oz, 1/10 oz, and 1/25 oz denominations (with a face value of A$200, A$100, A$15, and A$5, respectively).[3]

As with all Australian gold bullion coins the Gold Koala depict Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse side of the coin as mandated by law, with the legend: ‘ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA’ along with the face value and the year of mintage. Akin to the Gold Nugget / Kangaroo, the reverse design of the Australian Gold Koala changes yearly, with the reverse featuring a number of high-relief images of koalas in various poses, along with the legend that denotes its gold content by weight, as well as its purity. As standard (and unique) protocol, all Gold Koalas come encased in a clear hard acrylic round that protects if from damage by handling and transport. The plastic round also doubles as an excellent way to display the coins without risk of scratching or denting the surface. Among all of Australia’s famed gold coins, the Gold Koala ranks third in the popularity list preceded only by the Gold Kangaroos and the Gold Lunar Coins. Despite its still limited variations, it has proven to be a quite popular coin ensuring more yearly variants to come.

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Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for ©

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