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.