One of the most incredible places on this planet, the Great Barrier Reef off the eastern coast of Australia has had relatively little in the way of numismatic celebration. Australian dealer/producer Downies did a neat five-ounce coin back in early 2018, and there’ve been fish coins, of course, but little featuring the reef itself. It’s doubly surprising given the popularity of nature coins from the various Antipodean mints.
The Perth Mint has stepped up to the plate now, and appear to have done so in quite some style. It isn’t often we get to talk about a numismatic release which weighs in at two kilos, with only the Royal Mint using the size at anything approaching regularity, and even then only as part of a range of sizes. A custom coin at that size is extremely rare, but the Great Barrier Reef coin from the Perth Mint, the fourth in this series (following Koala, Kangaroo & Kookaburra issues), shows us just what’s possible.
The mints high-relief coins are different from most others in that they have concave faces, are thicker, and have a smaller than normal diameter. That concept has been used here also, with a striking dished look on both faces, and a diameter the same as that of a one-kilo coin. The thickness is an impresive 36.6 mm, bigger than the diameter of a 1oz HR! It looks quite amazing, with tons of detail and the appearance that you’re looking down into the reef. While the Green Turtle is the star attraction, there’s a plethora of supporting creatures giving the scene plenty of life.
The obverse has the usual effigy of QEII at its centre, and it almost looks like one of those old Victorian cameo portraits. The presentation is first class, with the mint managing to produce an acrylic block frame for this mighty beast. We get the sense that many will want to display it instead of sticking it in the pile with the rest of their collection. This has always been a very pretty series of coins, even at almost $4.5k AUD, but this is the best to date, we think. Only 200 will be minted and it’s available now.