Australia has unveiled the most valuable collector coin in the country's history. Named "Discovery", the gold coin encrusted with rare pink diamonds worth Aus$2.48 million (US$1.8 million), depicts a sailing ship, a 19th centrury gold prospector and boab trees found in Western Australia.
The two-kilogramme treasure was modelled after the "Holey Dollar" which was introduced as Australia’s first official currency in 1814. The Aus$2.48 million coin is considered legal tender and is expected to be sold to the highest bidder as demand for high-end collectables from the ultra-rich is growing. According to Australian media reports it will end up in the hands of a buyer in Asia or the Middle East.
Produced by the Perth Mint, the coin is comprised of 99.99 per cent pure gold and four rare pink and purplish-pink diamonds from the renowned Argyle mine in Australia's remote western Kimberley region, the largest of which is 1.02 carat. Pink and red diamonds are worth about 50 times more than white diamonds.
The coin was created as an ongoing collaboration with Argyle Pink Diamonds’ major partner, Singapore-based John Glajz and tells the remarkable story of two of the nation’s most treasured natural riches. Seven versions of the coin were cast before they arrived at the final product.
"It gives me great pleasure to unveil an Australian coin which showcases our country's prized treasures and the talents of our craftsmen and women who have transformed them to form a collectors' item of such significance,"Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston said at the unveiling event.
From the humble beginnings of gold and diamond discovery, two progressive industries have emerged whose yields have influenced the evolution of mining and the desires of the market said Perth Mint Chief Executive Officer Richard Hayes.
"Released in response to the distinct increase in demand for exclusive luxury items, Discovery is just that, a collectors' item of distinction. "The coin showcases rare pink stones handset in the most famed of precious metals, telling the inspirational rags to riches tales of mining for these prised resources," said Hayes.
“Discovery” will be on display at The Perth Mint's retail store until September 28, unless sold earlier.
The Perth Mint opened in 1899 is Australia’s largest fully integrated, innovative precious metals enterprise, providing premium gold, silver and platinum products and services to markets throughout the world. As one of Western Australia’s largest exporters, it distributes some $18 billion worth of pure gold, silver and platinum bullion bars and coins to investors in more than 100 countries annually.
Gold mining in Western Australia dates back to the 1880s but became a significant industry in the 1890s. In 2015-16, gold was ranked third in the list of resources exported by Western Australia with regard to value, behind iron ore and petroleum, with a value of A$10 billion.
Australia is the world’s second-largest gold producer after China. Production in 2017 rose by 3 tonnes from the year before to 301 tonnes, equal to about 9.7 million ounces and the highest since 1999, due to a ramp up production at existing mines, according to Australian mining consultancy Surbiton Associates.