‘Australian Shipwrecks’ triangular gold and silver bullion series returns with the third issue, the Zuytdorp

At the forefront of the Royal Australian Mint’s new found interest in the limited bullion coin market, ‘Australian Shipwrecks’ is an example of how to do it right. An Australian coin with annually changing designs on BOTH faces, a unique shape, and an unusual subject, are all hallmarks of something fresh and different, and that is indeed the case here.

Each issue is themed around a famous shipwreck from Australia’s early colonial past, and there seems to be plenty of subjects to choose from. We’ve had the Batavia and the Vergulde Draeck, and this third issue features the Zuytdorp. The design ethos remains consistent and quite unusual. The usually staid obverse of an Australian bullion coin is packed with an image of the shipwreck in progress, with the neat details in the foreground, including the depiction of coins that seem to fill the holds of all these ships, appropriately enough.

The reverse face again has an representation of the ship under full saile, surrounded by a period border of profile figures and floral-adorned ribbons. You could almost imagine it being lifted off of the Dutch Ducat range. The upside-down inscriptions are meant to be read by turning the coin upside-down and thus turning the ship under sail into a ship sinking – a neat touch. All told, a very well thought out design.

As before, just a one-ounce 0.999 silver and an identical weight of 0.9999 gold make up the range. The former is limited to 20,000 pieces, while the latter tops out at a tiny 250. Both are available from Hong Kong based dealer, LPM Group later today, and from the usual dealers worldwide.


In 1711, Dutch East India Company trading ship, the Zuytdorp (meaning ‘South Village’), set out from the Netherlands for Batavia on what was to be its third and final voyage. Onboard were more than 200 men and precious cargo comprising 250,000 silver coins. After nearly seven months at sea with scurvy claiming the lives of many men, the Zuytdorp continued its journey from the Cape of Good Hope via the Indian Ocean.

Zuytdorp never arrived at Batavia and with no knowledge of where it may have sunk or whether it had been taken by pirates, no search was ever made. The wreck was found more than 200 years later off the coast of Western Australia along a stretch now known as the Zuytdorp Cliffs. Divers of the wreck have reported a ‘Carpet of Silver’ – the result of thousands of silver coins strewn along the ocean floor. These coins inscribed with ‘Zeeland’ and ‘1711’ helped identify the wreck as the ill-fated Zuytdorp, which still abounds in mystery today.

DENOMINATION $1 Australia $100 Australia
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 33.9 mm 33.9 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion
MINTAGE 20,000 250
BOX / C.O.A. No / No No / Yes