By Louis Golino for CoinWeek .....
The Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed that the largest coin in the world is the unique 2012 Australian one ton Red Kangaroo gold bullion coin. It is also by far the most valuable coin in the world because of its gold content, blowing away rarer coins like the 1804 silver dollar or 1933 double eagle, due to its extremely high melt value. The coin will be featured in the 2013 edition of the Guinness Book.
It was made by the Perth Mint in Western Australia, and is also the heaviest coin in the world, weighing a whopping 1,012 kilograms of 99.99% pure gold. Using a $1,600 an ounce basis for its gold content, the current melt value of the coin would be US$52,057,280. The face value of the coin is only $1 million Australian. One kilogram is 32.15 ounces.
The Perth Mint is a world leader in bullion and numismatic coin production, producing a very wide array of popular coins. It uses state of the art technologies, and also offers storage facilities for precious metal investors looking to store their metals rather than taking acquisition of them. This page has more information on Perth’s storage programs:
The Red Kangaroo is legal tender in Australia, though the weight and the difficulty of making change for a coin worth over $52 million would certainly be a problem if one tried to use it in commerce. It measures 80 centimeters in diameter and 13 centimeters in thickness, which is surprisingly compact for a coin with that much gold.
The coin depicts a bounding kangaroo and was designed by Stuart Devlin. It is on permanent display at the Perth Mint as part of its gold collection, where it is a popular draw for visitors. The Mint receives over 100,000 visitors a year. The same kangaroo design appears on a one-kilo gold version.
The Perth Mint tends to issue large-format coins that have a smaller diameter but greater thickness than some of the jumbo coins issued by other world mints. Even its five- and 10-ounce coins have those kind of dimensions compared to similar-sized coins made by other countries that are typically much larger in diameter.
In 2007 Canada issued a $1 million face value gold coin, which was the first coin ever made that carried such a face value. That coin is made of 100 kilograms of gold, and its dimensions are 50 centimeters in diameter and three centimeters in thickness.
Several world mints have produced very large coins.
For example, Perth issues kilo and 10 kilo-sized versions in gold and silver, and in both proof and uncirculated finishes, for its many of its Lunar, Kookaburra, and Koala coins. And Canada has issued a number of kilo coins, including most recently War of 1812 medals made of gold and silver that were limited to 600 units. The Bank of Mexico (Banco de Mexico) also issues a beautiful one-kilo version of the silver Libertad that is a real work of coin art.
The U.S. Mint, on the other hand, has never issued anything larger than the five-ounce America the Beautiful silver coins. It has often been said that Americans, especially Texans, like things that are big, but when it comes to coins, it seems we are more traditional than other countries.
However, a competitive American commenting on the Australian coin at YouTube (see Video Above) said that the U.S. should make a huge Buffalo gold coin to compete with the Australian and Canadian coins.
Ed Harbuz, Director of the Perth Mint, said the coin took many months to make. The piece was first designed, then dies and molds were made, the ton of gold was poured into the mold, and various finishing touches were made afterwards.
In response to why it was made, he said it was to raise the profile of the Kangaroo gold bullion coins. Gold kangaroos are already known to gold investors, but they do not yet have the profile of coins like South African Krugerrands, American Gold Eagles, or Canadian Gold Maple Leafs.
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Louis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin World, Numismatic News, and a number of different coin web sites. His column for CoinWeek, “The Coin Analyst,” covers U.S. and world coins and precious metals. He collects U.S. and European coins and is a member of the ANA, PCGS, NGC, and CAC. He has also worked for the U.S. Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of newspapers and web sites.
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