Australian Silver Koala

Australian Silver Koalas are very new coins, having only been minted for half a decade so far, but they are very attractive, high quality, and popular among collectors, both because the Perth Mint makes each coin a miniature work of art, and because of the cache of koalas, one of the most familiar Australian animals other than the kangaroo. Silver Koalas are being produced in several weights in 2011, including 1 ounce, 10 ounces, and a full kilogram.

The Australian Silver Koala can be purchased directly on the Perth Mint website, using an online shopping cart and payment via credit card. There are also a number of officially designated sellers in Australia itself, and many highly reputable dealers outside Australia who cater to the global bullion coin market. Due to the great popularity of these coins, you would be well advised to buy them as soon as possible after release, so that you will not need to rely as much on the secondary market, where prices will grow swiftly as the coins sell out.

2010 P Australian Koala obverse
2010 P Australian Koala reverse

Reverse and obverse sides of the 2010 P Australian koala coin.

Properties of the Australian Silver Koala

The Australian Silver Panda is a silver bullion coin made to the general standards which have been adopted for these coins by all governments competing for the money of collectors. The weight is one troy ounce (31.1 grams), the width is about 1.5 inches (40 mm), and the thickness is 0.12 inches (4 mm). The fineness of the coins is 99.9% pure silver, which is in line with the fineness of all other nation’s silver bullion coins except for Canada’s (which have a marginally higher fineness) and some of the People’s Republic of China’s early coin releases (which are, for some reason, only 90% pure silver). The edges of the coin are smooth.

The obverse of Australian Silver Koala coins shows Queen Elizabeth II in profile, again, as with the Kangaroo silver dollars, wearing a rather smug facial expression. In this case, however, the artist is Ian Rank-Broadly. A wide border surrounds the outer edge of the coin, and serves as the space for a lengthy legend, which states “Elizabeth II”, “Australia” with the number of the year in four digits, and “1 Dollar”. There is also a mintmark for the Perth Mint.

The reverse is the place where the action is, as one might say, and the images of the Koalas appear. The Australian Silver Koala shows one or more pandas in well-designed, naturalistic poses, and a high degree of detail and realism. Some designs include a mother with an infant clinging to her back, a koala nibbling on a leaf of eucalyptus, and so on. The earlier obverses are almost bare of text, with tiny lettering stating “1 oz 999 silver” along the lower edge.

Later obverses, however, state “Australian Koala” at the top, and give the year as well as “1 oz 999 silver”. The 2011 Koala has both a regular 1 ounce version and a larger version which weighs in at a full 10 ounces, and has a nominal face value of $10 instead of $1. There is also a 1 kilogram (32.15 troy ounce) version, with a diameter of 101 mm (4 inches), and a legal tender value of $30. One can only wonder if a 100 kilogram silver coin, like Canada’s 100 kilogram gold coin, is in the works as well.

There is a gilded edition of the Australian Silver Panda in 2011 also, with a limited mintage of 10,000 coins in total. The gold is present only on the two koalas on the coin’s obverse.

History of the Australian Silver Koala

The Australian Silver Koala is a very recent addition to the Royal Australian Mint’s line of silver bullion coins, following up on the success of the Australian Silver Kangaroo and similar collectible bullion coins. The Koala has been produced only since 2007, making it some fourteen years younger than the Kangaroo, but its popularity is immense, thanks to the creature depicted on it, as well as the superb production values that mark it.

Koalas are small, almost bear-like marsupials adapted to feeding on the eucalyptus trees which grow in many places across Australia. These creatures live in the trees much of the time, and are quite sluggish due to the poor quality of their diet. They are famous because they are so “cute”, and are probably the most recognizable animal from Australia apart from the kangaroo, with their small, roly-poly bodies, stumpy limbs, distinctive ears, large noses, and puffy coat of fur.

That the Australian government should choose to place the image of a koala on some of their silver bullion coinage is only natural, and as expected, the coins have been extremely popular since their first release in 2007. Like many silver coins, the Silver Koala’s release was preceded by the mintage of smaller numbers of coins with a similar design, but made in a more precious metal.

This mintage tested the waters in the less volatile gold and platinum markets, and gave the government a good idea of how intense the demand for a Koala silver dollar bullion coin would be among collectors and the general public. Gold coins issued by the Mint were very well received, so a variety of Platinum Koala coins were introduced, starting in 1988.

Although this coin was scarcely known in the United States, it was vastly popular in the global bullion coin marketplace. These platinum coins are theoretically legal tender, and have been issued as 1/20 ounce ($5), 1/10 ounce ($10), ¼ ounce ($25), ½ ounce ($50), 1 ounce ($100), 2 ounce ($200), 10 ounce ($1,000), and 1 kilogram ($3,000) denominations.

The Australian Silver Koala was obviously not introduced until many years after this date, but the seeds of its creation could be said to have begun in the Platinum Koalas of the late 1980s and succeeding years. With inherent conservatism, the Australian government waited to see the result of many years of Platinum Koala production before striking the first Silver Koala. Now, however, the Australian Silver Koala is a vibrant part of the international coin scene, with the 2011 release recently put on sale.

>> Click Here To Buy Silver Online <<