Perth Mint's Wedge-Tailed Eagle bullion and collector coins soar

Silver coin from Australia sports new design in third year
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 02/20/16
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In January 2014, the Australian answer to the American Eagle silver dollar was born: the Wedge-Tailed Eagle.

The Wedge-Tailed Eagle is an ongoing series of bullion and collector coins minted by the Perth Mint in Western Australia. 

This variety of eagle is the largest bird of prey in Australia and gets its name from its prominent wedge-shaped tail. Known as “wedgies” in Australia, these birds of prey are similar in many ways to North American bald eagles in appearance and symbolism. Both birds are raptors that feed on other animals and both are symbols of power and strength. In fact, wedgies are the symbol of the Australian national defense force.

Eagles are highly popular

Wedge-Tailed Eagle silver coins quickly emerged as one of the most popular world coin series over the course of the past two years. 

They are produced in a wide range of sizes, finishes, and reliefs, and gold and platinum versions are issued in addition to the silver ones. 

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All of the coins carry the traditional P Mint Mark for the Perth Mint and an obverse that depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. 

The most widely purchased and collected silver versions are the 1-ounce bullion coin and Proof high-relief coin. 

The reason these coins have been so popular and have such great appeal all over the world comes mainly from two, related factors. 

One is the stunning design of the coins that has received universal acclaim from the time it was unveiled, and the other is that the design is the creation of John Mercanti, the 12th chief engraver of the United States Mint.

Mercanti connection to U.S.

Mercanti is best known as the designer of the reverse of the American Eagle silver bullion coin, and, according to the Perth Mint, he also designed more coins for the U.S. Mint than anyone else. The fact that for the first time an American designer created a coin for the Perth Mint is significant, especially since the largest segment of the demand for these coins comes from U.S. buyers.

In addition, the entire series was created through collaboration between the Perth Mint and Asset Marketing Services, a Minnesota-based company that handles the initial distribution of the various versions of the coins, making them available first to American buyers and selling the vast majority of the coins in Professional Coin Grading Service holders signed by Mercanti. 

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