John Mercanti returns with the fifth Wedge-tailed Eagle design and it’s possibly the best yet

Back in 2014, the small mintage bullion coin market wasn’t as mature and populated as it is today, and the Perth Mint reigned supreme with its iconic nature-themed ranges. Perhaps sensing early on which way the market was headed, the mint partnered with the highly regarded former Chief Engraver at the United States Mint, John Mercanti to produce something new and unexpected.

Mercanti is responsible for some seriously iconic designs, and if you have an American Silver Eagle in your collection, you own an example of his work, as the heraldic obverse eagle design is one of his. The Perth Mint wanted something Australian of course, but fortunately,they have their own big and deadly (surprise, surprise!) version of the Bald Eagle to draw on for inspiration – the Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle. The American coin artist did a fantastic job with this first release and it became an instant hit.

There have now been four different designs in this series, featuring the bird in various poses, and now it’s time for the fifth. Now we were not huge fans of the fourth issue. It was a nice work, but the sun-ray background did it no favours, in our view. No such qualms this year, because John Mercanti has produced a real beauty with strong shades of the debut design from half a decade ago. Depicting one of these awe-inspiring birds in full on action close-up, it’s a beautiful design and probably our favourite of the series to date. After the relative disappointment of the 2019 issue, we’re very pleased to see the series back on track at the top of the pile.

There will be numerous different coin formats carrying this design issued as the year progresses – as you would expect from the Perth Mint – but what we kick off with are, outside of the similar 5oz versions, probably the best looking of them all. Struck to a concave high-relief finish, these 1oz chunky, but smaller diameter variants usually show of the design to the best effect. There’s a gold ($3575 AUD) and a silver ($115 AUD) coin to kick things off, both well packaged and available to order now. An outstanding debut to 2020 from the Perth Mint.


Depicting master engraver John M. Mercanti’s fifth Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle design for The Perth Mint, this exceptionally detailed 1oz gold coin showcases an appreciably raised relief for stunning clarity. Named for its long, distinctively shaped tail, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey and one of the biggest eagles in the world. Found throughout mainland Australia, Tasmania and southern Papua New Guinea, the bird has an impressive wingspan of up to 2.7 metres.

REVERSE: Designed by John Mercanti, the coin’s superb high relief reverse depicts a magnificent wedge-tailed eagle swooping on its prey in the midst of a hunt. The design also includes the inscription AUSTRALIAN WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE, the 2020 year-date, the coin’s weight and fineness and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.

This is the fifth wedge-tailed eagle design for The Perth Mint by renowned sculptor and engraver John M. Mercanti, the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. Mercanti also created the reverse design of the American Silver Eagle bullion coin and has produced more coin and medal designs than any other employee in the history of the U.S. Mint.

OBVERSE: The coin’s obverse depicts the Jody Clark effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the monetary denomination.

DENOMINATION $1 Australia $2 Australia
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.107 grams 31.107 grams
DIMENSIONS 32.6 mm 27.6 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS High-relief High-relief
MINTAGE 5,000 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes