Southern Sky: First Australian Domed Gold Coin
?In recent years, silver coins minted in a cupped or domed format, in which one side is concave and the other convex, have continued to capture the imagination of modern coin enthusiasts around the world.
One of the most important series issued in this popular shape is the Royal Australian Mint’s Southern and Northern Sky set of six proof coins released between 2012 and 2016 — three for each hemisphere — that depict star constellations seen there in stunning color.
The first coin, the Southern Crux, which was also the world’s first domed and colored silver coin, eventually became a runaway success in the secondary market with prices having rising from about $100 at release to $500-plus and approaching twice that for Proof 70 examples.
Given the success of those coins, it is hardly surprising that the mint would follow up with more coins of this type, but in keeping with the originality of the concept for the silver series, a new 2-coin $100 gold series called Celestial Dome takes a different approach.
Rather than focus on one specific constellation or use color, the 1-ounce gold proof called Southern Sky, shows 40 constellations of the southern hemisphere sky which start out smaller at the center of the coin and get increasingly larger. This includes both 32 star constellations and 7 astrological representations of those constellation, i.e., 7 of the zodiac birth signs.
This new piece, which will presumably be followed by one for the northern sky, is an impressive, creative, and innovative coin that taps into widespread interest in both domed coins and coins about astronomy and space.
It is the first Australian domed gold coin and joins a small, select group of domed world gold pieces, which also include the 2014 baseball $5 coin, a 2009 200 euro French astronomy coin, and a 2014 200 euro French FIFA soccer tournament coin.
An additional element of this cutting-edge issue is that only 750 coins are available for the entire world.
Sales in North America are exclusively through APMEX, while buyers in Australia can purchase the coin from the Royal Australian Mint or key distributors in Australia like Downies and Direct Coins, and buyers in Europe have a number of choice such as Powercoin and several Germany companies. Prices vary depending on where purchased.
Launched on February 3, the coin has been selling briskly at APMEX starting this past week. I anticipate that within a short period, few examples will be available for sale. Only one example is currently listed on eBay.