If you are a stacker or collector of Silver coins you are probably
already familiar with the Perth Mint Lunar Series. After the success
of their first Lunar releases that began in 1999 the Perth Mint kicked
off Series II with release of the 2008 Year of the Mouse coin.
The most recent coin, 2011 Year of the Rabbit sold out within a week
after the Chinese New Year (5 months after initial release) with the
Perth Mint Blog noting they were sold out on February 9th. At that
time the Tiger (2010) and Ox (2009) were also sold out, but the 2008
Year of the Mouse was not, so the Perth Mint started minting and
selling these again to reach the 300,000 coin limit (the mouse is also
now sold out).
All the Series II 1 ounce Silver bullion coins have a 300,000 mintage
limit. On a global scale this is quite a small number and allows the
Lunar coins to achieve quite a nice premium compared to other Global
coins as well as other Perth Mint series like the Koala (which have
larger or no limits)
In comparison to the 300,000 limit on the Silver Lunar series, the
Timberwolf and Grizzly Bear, both part of the Canadian Wildlife Series
from the Royal Canadian Mint, both have a mintage of 1,000,000 (over 3
times that of the Lunar Series). The 1 ounce Silver Panda (BU) from
China had a mintage of 800,000 in 2010. It’s worth noting however that
other variations of the Lunar coins are not limited to a specific
mintage so the gilded & coloured versions as well as sizes other than
1 ounce (e.g. 1/2, 2, 5 or 10 ounce) could end up filling the void
where the mintage limited 1 ounce bullion coin cannot.
The Lunar coins are especially popular in European countries and
examples of the premiums fetched can be found on sites like
Silber-Corner or eBay Germany. In fact there is a rumour doing the
rounds that a European dealer approached the Perth Mint about buying
the entire 2012 Year of the Dragon mintage!
Pre-orders are already being taken for the 2012 Dragon coin with Gold
Stackers (sister site to the Silver Stackers forum) recently having
sold out of their allocation and Bullion Bourse now taking orders well
in advance of the expected September release. Even without having seen
the design it would seem that enthusiasts are keen to get their orders
I suspect that demand for these coins is going to be astronomical. The
Year 2000 Dragon coin is easily still the most popular of the first
series and demands the highest premium even though it had the highest
mintage of the 1 ounce bullion coins (as per this reference table).
There is talk of these having instant premiums/being sold out on
release, I suspect that this won’t be the case, but it can’t hurt to
take precautions. I have placed a pre-order myself to both hedge
against the possibility of a higher Silver price at the time of
release as well as locking some in to avoid missing out. That said I
am holding back and will be looking to order more with any large dips
in the price of Silver (which I am expecting through the middle months
of the year as QE2 ends and uncertainty takes over).
While it is predominantly a bullion coin, the 1 ounce Silver Lunar coins:
- Have a low mintage
- Sport an aesthetically pleasing design
- Are housed in individual capsules
- Have a quality finish
- Are produced by world renowned Perth Mint
- Come with legal tender status
And are priced as bullion coins on release.
They allow a simple entry into the Silver market. If you expect Silver
to continue to appreciate over the medium term then they are a great
option as a bullion purchase, but come with the potential for a
numismatic premium once sold out at the Perth Mint.
Here is the mintage from the last 12 years of the Type 1 series…
The conclusion I draw is that the kilos have consistently been produced, with the lowest mintage totals… I looked up where I can find previous kilos with two in mind. From the first dragon kilo, the price is around 3200… Also, the ox that was done two years ago, they are retailing at 2800… Again the kilo will be produced based on demand, but when production ends, price will begin to move up because of scarcity brought on by many collectors unwilling to sell….