A surprising player in the burgeoning gold and silver bullion coin markets, the Royal Australian Mint has always been a dabbler in investment coins, but never a major player. While they’re still a long way from giving the Canadians a run for their money, the RAM has shown an increased interest in this most popular of segments. Just over the last year or so, we’ve seen the excellent triangular ‘Australian Shipwrecks’ series, and the ‘Dolphin’ series hit the market, as well as designs like the Red-back Spider. All were of a great quality.
Latest to join the portfolio is another wildlife coin – the Sumatran Tiger. This one is different from usual in that the 1oz gold and 1oz silver versions carry completely different designs. Given that the gold coin has a mintage of just 250 pieces, that’s quite a commitment. Both of the versions are good looking coins. The gold carries a pose that’s fairly common, but no less well done for that, but the silver is something new. Depicting a tiger frolicking in the water, it’s a different look at a creature more widely depicting scaring the life out of people. We love it.
The obverse of both coins, as you’d expect from this mint, is a simple effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, the latest uncouped version by Jody Clark. Mintage of the silver coin is a nice tight 25,000, which is towards the lower end from a national mint. The gold coin comes boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity, but the silver variant is sold as any other small mintage bullion coin – encapsulated. These are a very welcome addition to the market, issued for Australia rather than a micronation, and almost certainly well struck. The RAM is handling sales in Australia itself, but you’ll find the rest of the world is being dealt with by German dealer, EMK.
While the Antipodean mints tend to stick with their own eclectic wildlife – let’s be honest, they have plenty of it – the choice of the Sumatran Tiger is actually a considered one. Australia Zoo is a vital cog in a wheel geared to saving this stunning animal from going the way of all such creatures that have the misfortune to come into contact with man, and the backwards belief of some Asian medicinal markets. Numbers have seen a small rise over the last couple of years, including last year when Taronga Zoo in Sydney announced the birth of three cubs.
As a side note, we recently read that all tigers have white spots on the back of their ears to simulate a pair of eyes, just in case a predator decides to sneak up on them from behind. As to what a tiger would consider a predator, we’ll leave you to have your own nightmares…