Tour the Perth Mint, Western Australia
A one tonne, 99.99% pure gold coin was cast in 2011 at The Perth Mint, making it the biggest, heaviest and most valuable gold bullion coin in the world. You can see the actual coin when you do a tour of the Perth Mint. The coin is about 80cm (31in) wide and 12 cm (5in) deep. The day I visited, the value of this coin was over 90 million dollars!
The tour also includes a guided heritage walk, entrance to our Gold Exhibition and a gold pouring demonstration.
Centre stage in the courtyard of this beautifully preserved, historic 1899 Federation building is The Statue, depicting prospectors Ford and Bayley striking the first nugget near Coolgardie, Western Australia.
Inside the Gold Exhibition you can see replicas of the largest nuggets found in Australia and learn more about their discovery and what happened to them. There is also a large display of real gold nuggets. Historically large nuggets had been melted down for their gold value. Now the aim is to preserve significant gold specimens. One of the displays is the "King Henry", a 93kg gold and quartz specimen from the Beta Hunt mine near Kambala, Western Australia. Found in 2018 in the Fathers Day Vein, this is the biggest native gold specimen in existence.
The traditional gold pour is a crowd favourite. Pure gold is heated to molten temperature and made into a solid gold bar while you watch. This pour takes place in the original melting house.
Have you ever wanted to know your weight in gold? Step onto the special scales here and a print out will advise you of your gold worth (your actual weight is not disclosed, thank goodness, just the value).
Before the tour is over you can purchase your own engraved aluminium bronze, gold plated, 99.9% pure silver or 99.99% pure gold medallion. While I was there, a lovely retired couple from country WA were purchasing a medallion for their granddaughter who is finishing high school in New Zealand. They said they have been presenting her with a medallion from the mint for each special occasion, ever since her birth. The Mint has a book to browse through in case you want a medallion but are stuck for ideas on how to personally engrave them. What a lovely keepsake or gift.
Being able to look behind the scenes is a special part of the tour. Through the windows you can see the machinery used to create the collectors coins and see the artists at work.
Gold and silver strips from which the coin blanks have been punched out are called Planchet strips. They look pretty as they are, but these strips are remelted and reused. Not a gram of precious metal is wasted at the Mint. Also on display are the reduction punches, dies, die-making tools and coin blanks. Notice the dies are the inverse version of the image to be struck on each coin blank.
Some beautiful examples are on display and for sale at the Perth Mint shop.
The 2018 Argyle Pink Diamond 10oz pink gold ingot, one of only 6 minted, will set you back $AUD60,550. The 2021 Jewelled horse coin, with Argyle pink diamonds, is one of only 8 minted. One of these coins will set you back $AUD279,000.
They also sell gifts, jewellery, golden Christmas decorations and golden wrapped chocolate. The store is full of bright and shiny objects to purchase, or just admire.
Not only can you purchase and sell gold and silver here, they will store your treasures for you in their vaults. Perth Mint is the only government guaranteed investment and storage program in the world.
Established in 1899 it was a colonial branch of the United Kingdom's Royal Mint. Here they refined gold from the goldrushes and minted coins for the British Empire. From 1970 it has become a statutory authority of the Government of Western Australia.
Coins in common use were made here up until the end of 1983. Now they mint bullion as well as minting and marketing gold, silver and platinum coins for investors and collectors. Located at 310 Hay St Perth it is a short walk from the city centre, or hop on the free red CAT bus and hop off at Stop 6. Check their opening hours at www.perthmint.com
The tour lasts around an hour, and I spent just as long wandering around the giftshop. The tour is a wonderful way to learn more about the wealth of Western Australia.