Red Back Spider Coins

Posted by admin on Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Collectable coins are minted for many different reasons. It may be to commemorate a special event, such as the recent Royal Wedding, or an anniversary or other special occasion. But they could also be minted to appeal to fans of films (the Star Wars coins and Transformers coins from New Zealand and Australia spring to mind, that were highlighted in this blog on July 19th and 20th), or political figures, or, perhaps, sporting heroes or competitions.

Whatever a collector’s interests, there will be coins minted somewhere to cater to his likes. A recent trawl of the internet showed just how diverse the subject of coin design is, when the search term of coins and spiders led to the Red-Back Spider 1 Ounce Silver Proof Coin which was issued by the Perth Mint in 2006.

For some reason unbeknown to arachnophobia sufferers, this coin was extremely popular when it was first issued and the limited edition mintage of 5,000 coins quickly sold out. Its success prompted the Mint to follow up with other ‘deadly and dangerous’ critter coins, but none have, as yet, been as popular as this one. Whether you are a fan of spiders or not, the coin is particularly attractive.

It was minted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the anti venom to a Red Back Spider bite. The reverse features a full colour image of the arachnid with three baby spiders, while the obverse features Queen Elizabeth II. The Australian Government wouldn’t authorise them as legal tender, so they were designated as such under the flag of convenience country of Tuvalu to give them a legal status. The coin was presented in a high gloss timber case, which mirrored the beautiful satin finish of the coin itself, and this was inside a fully illustrated outer box. Each one came with a numbered certificate of authenticity.

It is a coin that would stand proud in any collection of modern coins, especially those that have a leaning to wildlife. Unfortunately, the Perth Mint no longer has any of the Red Back coins in stock, but there are other avenues of potential purchase available on the secondary market.

Auctions can be a great place to buy coins, and the biggest internet auction site is Ebay. In May of this year, one of these rare Red Back Spider Proofs was bought through auction at an incredible price of AU$1499.50. That’s around US$1600, or £1000. There were only two bids placed, by one buyer. If a collector wants one, it can be bought for US$2399 on the same site now.

At current asking prices well above AU$1,000, its value has almost doubled every year of its existence.

A Cheaper Option – The 2011 Box Jellyfish Coin

For those collectors wanting to add a limited edition deadly and dangerous silver proof coin to their collection, and not having the cash required for the Red Back Spider Proof, the Perth Mint has recently released the latest addition to the series.

The 2011 Box Jellyfish 1 ounce Silver Proof features the most deadly (and the most venomous) marine animal known. The Box Jellyfish can grow to a length of 3 metres, with as many as 15 tentacles which have up to 5000 stinging cells, each of which contain toxins that attack the central nervous system and heart. It has taken the lives of 64 people in Australia since the 1880’s.

Like all other coins in the series, it comes boxed and with a certificate of authenticity, and is minted with a limited edition of 5000. It is authorised as legal tender in Tuvalu, and the reverse of the coin features a stunning full colour image of the Box Jellyfish. However, it is already unavailable through the Perth Mint website, but it can be purchased for US$170 from APMEX (

Time will tell if its sting is as valuable as the Red-Back Spiders bite.

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