Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Australian Silver Kookaburra Coin Series

In 1990, the Perth Mint in Australia released the first coin in this wonderful series. As the name suggests each coin that has been released depicts the "Kookaburra" bird, with a new design every year.
The coin has a purity of 999 silver and comes in various sizes including 1 troy oz, 2 troy oz, 10 troy and 1 kilo. As well as the varying sizes the series comes in BU grade (bullion)and proof grade.
The Perth mint has also released special 1/2oz coins which are in proof finish. These were released in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, besides the weight difference, this series of coin has a square design.
Now, because the bullion grade coins are very bright and if unmarked looked pristine some people get confused re the different grades. A true proof coin has a shiny background with a matt image, so in the case of a Proof Kookaburra coin, the obverse will have an image of Queen Elizabeth in matte finish with shiny background and the reverse will have an image of the Kookaburra again in matt finish. The bullion version is the opposite the Queens' head will be shiny as will be the bird.
The most common version is the 1oz coin which has the following specifications:-
Weight: 31.635 grams
Composition: 99.9% silver
Silver Content: 1 troy ounce
Diameter: 40.60 mm
Thickness: 4.00 mm
The 1 Kilo Australian Silver Kookaburra coin comprises a weight of 1002.502g, diameter of 101.00mm and 14.60mm thickness.
The 10 Ounces Australian Silver Kookaburra coin comprises a weight of 312.347g, diameter of 75.50mm and 8.70mm thickness.
The 2 Ounces Australian Silver Kookaburra coin comprises a weight of 62.770g, diameter of 53.30mm and thickness of 4.50 mm
As with most silver investment coins, there are fraudsters out there trying to forge them, this has happened with the Chinese Panda coins where the buyer must be very careful when purchasing. Although the Kookaburra can and has been forged there are a few basic rules when purchasing
  1. Check the weight
  2. Check the diameter and thickness
  3. The reverse of the coin should show the following on the outer ring of the coin "The Australian Kookaburra", ".999 silver", and the date and silver content weight.
  4. The obverse (Queen side) should show the face value)
  5. The easiest test is to hold a magnet to the coin, if its genuine then the magnet should NOT stick as precious are non magnetic
The first 2 years these were released ('90 and '91), the 1oz coins were had a face value of $5 and from 1992 the changed the value to $1, the 2oz coin has a face value of $2, the 10oz has a face value of $10 and a $30 face value for the kilo coin.
So, by sticking to the above 5 rules, collecting Kookaburra's should be an enjoyable experience, but a word of caution, it is a very addictive hobby!
For the collector of Kookaburras, as well as the varying sizes and finishes, the Perth Mint has also included Privy Mark Kookaburra's. These marks are small pictures within the reverse of the coin; common themes are European country marks, medal marks, zodiac signs, florin marks and many more.
When purchasing the Kookaburra coin, you should bear in mind the current silver spot price as although not directly linked to the current market silver price the purchase price does fluctuate, but this series of coins does have a collector value as well so your investment WILL grow in years to come.
By Mark Johnson, Liberty Coins & Bullion.
Mark Johnson is a professional coin and bullion dealer and is co-founder of Liberty Coins & Bullion ( based in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, England. Mark is an expert on Australian Kookaburra coins.

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