Silver Kangaroo Coins

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The Australian Silver Kangaroos are a series of coins minted under different mints, with the earlier versions being created by the Royal Mint of Australia, and subsequent versions made by the Perth Mint of Australia to compliment their Gold Kangaroo coins. Now minted simultaneously by both the Royal Australian Mint and the Perth Mint, the Silver Kangaroos from both mints carry various differences that make them prime collection material. Because of their limited mintage and yearly revamps (a rule that applies to both the RMA and the Perth Mint’s production runs) they become highly sought after, with increased premium prices once their limited runs have come to pass and the yearly production has all but ceased.

While the Royal Mint of Australia’s Silver Kangaroos were initiated and released for public purchase in 1993,[1] it was not until circa 2009 that the Perth Mint followed with its own range of Silver Kangaroos. The Royal Mint’s own silver Kangaroo bullion coins are made with the most exacting attention to metal purity and design detail. Minted with 99.9% fine pure silver, it differs from the Perth Mint’s version in that both the obverse and reverse designs are changed, with the obverse being changed thrice in throughout the whole of the mintage. The initial mintage featured the bust of Elizabeth II designed by artist Raphael Maklouf, which was later changed to a bust made by artist Arnold Machin (bearing a face value of A$1, a feature that would remain a constant ‘til the present day). These two distinct busts can be found in the 1993 – 1998 mintage of Royal Australian Mint Silver Kangaroos.[2]

By 1998, the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of the queen was chosen to be the new face of the coinage, a constant feature that remained to the present day, making it a feature that the RAM shares with the Perth Mint’s own Silver Kangaroos. The design on the reverse of the coin however changed with each passing year, often being of more than one version (the RAM is notorious for making different versions of one design, in proof, frosted uncirculated, and selective-gold plated versions), making collecting and ultimately investing in their Silver Kangaroos a very enjoyable feat.[3]

Sometime in the early 2000s, the design of the RAM Silver Kangaroos underwent a revamp from traditional detailed styles to more stylized, abstract, and aboriginal designs. By 2002 – 2006, they began incorporating selective plating, creating a contrast between pure gold plated in selected areas to enhance detail or add artistic flourishes.[4]

By circa 2009, the Perth Mint also released their versions of silver Kangaroo coins. Weighing 1 ounce (similar to the RAM Silver Kangaroos), the Perth Mint’s version of the Silver Kangaroos were made in response to the popularity of their Gold Kangaroo coins, and was created as a more ‘affordable’ investment coin in lieu of the Gold Kangaroos. The Perth Mint’s own versions featured high-relief mintages in proof quality. Made similarly with pure silver, their coins were slightly thicker than the RAM Silver Kangaroos to better capture the high-relief details, making the Perth Mint’s Silver Kangaroos a type of pseudo-piedfort. Featuring a similar obverse design to the RAM version, their reverse kangaroo motifs also changed yearly (now with the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 available for purchase).[5] To add to the variety, they began to create a colored version of their silver Kangaroo as part of a specialized set of silver bullion coins.[6] Regardless of the mintage origin of Silver Kangaroos, they are all excellent investment material owing to their limited production runs and fine pure silver content. Because they are more affordable than gold bullion coins, they also make for great collector’s items for the more average earner, as well as excellent gifts for numismatically-inclined friends or family members.

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