Back in 2009 Monnaie de Paris (The Paris Mint in France) released a ground breaking innovative coin that would change the way the world viewed the minting of coins.
In conjunction with the Year of Astronomy as well as the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s epic first steps on the moon’s surface they released a coin the likes of which the world had never seen. In terms of technological innovation it was outstanding. The coin was the first ever domed coin which depicted Neil Armstrong’s boot print on the lunar surface on the obverse and the field of golden stars set against a blue gold background. The lower edge of the reverse has a line up of the planetary symbols beginning our nearest neighbour the moon and proceeding all the way through to Pluto although its symbol is not the standard version. Surprisingly Earth does not get a mention but then I guess we are standing on it gazing outwards. The coin has a face value of 200 euros but with only 1,000 coins in existence and the value of an ounce of gold being what it is the coins value is many times its face value. Recent offers have been listed at around USD$3,500.
The coin weighs in at one troy ounce or 31.014 grams with the gold at 999/1000 and the blue gold at 850/1000 and is 37mm in diameter. Blue gold is an alloy which is made by mixing gold with indium. It contains 46 percent gold and 54 percent indium which together make up the intermetallic AuIn2. It is applied to the yellow gold as a plating through a heat treatment that causes the interdiffusion of the metals and the formation of the coloured layer seen on this coin. Ground breaking in itself then we come to the convex shape of the coin which in itself was a brilliant piece of engineering technology.
As in any form of minting the life of the coin dies is paramount and this in turns hinges greatly on tonnage. The higher the stress on each strike the lower the life of the die. A higher relief is entirely possible but the die life is greatly reduced. Certainly the American mint with the minting of their 2014 Baseball domed coins have surpassed anything engineered to date by the Paris Mint and the Royal Australian Mint. The relief is higher but the die life is somewhere between 4-5,000 strikes. Not particularly high by any standards but they do deliver an outstanding strike and the relief is 3-4 times the height of the preceding domed coins from Australia and France.
Having given some background to the beginnings and development of domed coins we can now review the Australian releases and there is no doubt that these are indeed stunning coins and are taking the numismatics world for quite a ride. The first main comparison is the use of fine silver rather than pure gold which brings them within financial reach of the everyday collector and investor. The original Crux Southern Sky of 2012 was given many awards particularly in the engineering of the die structures. In 2013 the Royal Australian Mint was honoured to accept a Canberra Engineering Excellence Award and the design was put forward for the National Awards to be held there after. The coin has been highly recognised throughout the international minting community and has set new benchmarks in collectible coin releases using precious metals. It set new benchmarks worldwide for the fineness in its strike details and the accurate colour reproduction on a highly polished metal surface. The coin design featured one of Australia’s most recognisable celestial symbols, The Southern Cross or Crux. The border has astronomical navigational markers which tell the coin holder where to position themselves for the best view of the constellation.
The 2013 Pavo (Peacock) constellation and the brand new soon to be released 2014 Orion constellation releases are equally stunning in their colouration and presentation. All 3 coins share the same dimensions with a diameter of 39.62 mm and weight of one troy ounce. They are minted with 99.99 percent pure silver.
What has been undeniably interesting is how fast the value of the 2012 Crux Southern Sky has escalated in recent months. For almost 18 months after its release it held fast to its original value and when sales ceased at the Royal Australian Mint their value slowly started to rise. With only 10,000 coins in total minted and a world of collectors looking for intrinsically beautiful and distinctive coins it quickly became highly sought after. The 2013 Pavo has not seen the same lift in value but then it is early days given its release was 12 months later and coins were still available at the Mint Shop until just recently.
The 2012 Crux Southern Sky had a release price of AUD$110. In January of 2014 coins were still being sold via Ebay and dealers for around AUD$140-150. In March and April this year things really started to get interesting when bidding on some of the auctions started hitting over 250 dollars. By May, Ebay and ourselves here at Noteworthy Collectibles were seeing sales at 350-400 dollars a coin. It would seem that people have truly woken up to what a remarkable and ground breaking coin this truly was. Current pricing and trends show offers set at around 600 dollars with one hopeful seller in Australia listing theirs for 2,999 dollars. Whether this highly inflated price is supposed to snare someone who really is not thinking straight, more money than sense, or whether it is there to help push up the Ebay statistical averages I am not wholly sure. Good luck to them. I believe that the trading price currently averaging at around 600 dollars is about right although as time goes on you can certainly expect this to rise ever higher. If we look to the Deadly and Dangerous release of the Red Back Spider we saw coins quickly moving up to over the $1,000 mark and I believe that this is also true and entirely possible for the 2012 Crux Southern Sky to reach these levels as well. Only time will tell.
One thing is certainly true of this series and that is that the level of interest and respect from the international coin community has never been higher for Australian produced fine metal coins. The fact that the first coin of the series has shown a 500 percent price rise in 2 short years would bear this out. They are a brilliant investment and will always have a ready market of buyers.
Noteworthy Collectibles will very shortly offer the full range of these 3 coins for discerning collectors and investors alike should they wish to avail themselves of the opportunity to own these magnificent coins.