Innovative cog-shaped silver coin pair from Tuvalu highlights our industrial past

We often bemoan the Perth Mint release schedule for being too reliant on collectable variants of their endless bullion coin designs, but let’s not forget they’re also quite capable of kicking out in new directions – witness the Zeus coin, for example, that kicked off a whole new genre. The mint has been pushing its two-ounce, rimless and antique finished format for the last couple of years, and a tweaked version of that has given us something new today.

Called Evolution of Industry, this new two-coin set makes the simple change to turn the coin itself from a simple round shape, to one that mimics the cogs in industrial machinery. It’s quite a simple, but certainly powerful change that couldn’t suit the subject better. That doesn’t mean the coin artwork can get away with being any old rubbish, and fortunately, Perth Mint regular designer Tom Vaughan, has done the business again. Each coin has its own subject – one featuring steam power and the other electricity.

The steam coin has a cool mix of steam engines and steam powered vehicles (train, boat), offset by a sobering view of the pollution put out by the factories in the less enlightened Victorian time depicted. The electricity coin showcases some of the weird and spectacular gadgets invented and experimented with by Tesla and his contemporaries. It’s an almost Metropolis-style image – taking cues from the early movie masterpiece.

The obverse is a simple effigy of Queen Elizabeth, which I guess is kind of appropriate give Britains industrial innovation of the time. The lack of ambition on this face is a little disappointing, however. The packaging looks clever. The coins sit in a cog display that via a cog on the base, can be turned to rotate the coins as if part of a machine. It’s a nice touch and all fits in a themed outer shipper and with a certificate of authenticity. Just 1,000 of these two x 1 0z coin sets will be produced, they’re available now and they will sell for $229.00 AUD.


Driven by the adoption of new technologies and processes from the late 18th century, the Industrial Revolution had dramatic effects on economics, politics and culture, shaping the world in which we now live. To do its far-reaching consequences sufficient justice, the design approach to this remarkable tribute set is similarly revolutionary!

Each coin in the set is struck from 1oz of 99.99% pure silver. The surfaces of the coins have been ‘antiqued’, a special treatment intended to give them the appearance of historical artefacts.

The coins’ designs focus on the impact of steam during the first phase of the Industrial Revolution, and electricity from about 1870 onwards. Both coins are shaped like gearwheels with 12 cogs on the rims. Although not new at the time of the Industrial Revolution, gearwheels are emblematic of mechanisation which developed with increasing speed throughout the era.

Imagery on the ‘steam’ coin portrays an early steam locomotive; chimneys of mills which used steam power for driving large-scale machinery; and a pioneering steamship. Incorporated in the design is a large flywheel and other components symbolising elements of Boulton and Watt’s ground-breaking steam engine.

The ‘electricity’ coin includes a representation of Thomas Edison’s incandescent lightbulb and the inventor himself at Pearl Street Station. It also incorporates a representation of spectacular electrical discharges from a Tesla coil, a system invented in 1891 that produced extremely high voltages used by Tesla in experiments aimed at achieving wireless transmission of energy.

The coins are presented in a unique case with a circular rack-and-pinion style tray which allows them to be rotated in a highly innovative, active display.

COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.2 grams
FINISH Antique
BOX / COA Yes / Yes