You can now buy Perth Mint 2012 Lunar Year of the Dragon Silver & Gold Coins at Bullion Money:
Newer coverage of the Dragon coin:
And official pictures are now available (rather than the below mockup):
Perth Mint Lunar Dragon Coin Designs
If you are a stacker or collector of Silver coins you are probably already familiar with the Perth Mint Lunar Series. After the success of their first Lunar releases that began in 1999 the Perth Mint kicked off Series II with release of the 2008 Year of the Mouse coin.
The most recent coin, 2011 Year of the Rabbit sold out within a week after the Chinese New Year (5 months after initial release) with the Perth Mint Blog noting they were sold out on February 9th. At that time the Tiger (2010) and Ox (2009) were also sold out, but the 2008 Year of the Mouse was not, so the Perth Mint started minting and selling these again to reach the 300,000 coin limit (the mouse is also now sold out).
All the Series II 1 ounce Silver bullion coins have a 300,000 mintage limit. On a global scale this is quite a small number and allows the Lunar coins to achieve quite a nice premium compared to other Global coins as well as other Perth Mint series like the Koala (which have larger or no limits)
In comparison to the 300,000 limit on the Silver Lunar series, the Timberwolf and Grizzly Bear, both part of the Canadian Wildlife Series from the Royal Canadian Mint, both have a mintage of 1,000,000 (over 3 times that of the Lunar Series). The 1 ounce Silver Panda (BU) from China had a mintage of 800,000 in 2010. It's worth noting however that other variations of the Lunar coins are not limited to a specific mintage so the gilded & coloured versions as well as sizes other than 1 ounce (e.g. 1/2, 2, 5 or 10 ounce) could end up filling the void where the mintage limited 1 ounce bullion coin cannot.
The Lunar coins are especially popular in European countries and examples of the premiums fetched can be found on sites like Silber-Corner or eBay Germany. In fact there is a rumour doing the rounds that a European dealer approached the Perth Mint about buying the entire 2012 Year of the Dragon mintage!
Pre-orders are already being taken for the 2012 Dragon coin with Gold Stackers (sister site to the Silver Stackers forum) recently having sold out of their allocation and Bullion Bourse now taking orders well in advance of the expected September release. Even without having seen the design it would seem that enthusiasts are keen to get their orders in.
I suspect that demand for these coins is going to be astronomical. The Year 2000 Dragon coin is easily still the most popular of the first series and demands the highest premium even though it had the highest mintage of the 1 ounce bullion coins (as per this reference table). There is talk of these having instant premiums/being sold out on release, I suspect that this won't be the case, but it can't hurt to take precautions. I have placed a pre-order myself to both hedge against the possibility of a higher Silver price at the time of release as well as locking some in to avoid missing out. That said I am holding back and will be looking to order more with any large dips in the price of Silver (which I am expecting through the middle months of the year as QE2 ends and uncertainty takes over).
While it is predominantly a bullion coin, the 1 ounce Silver Lunar coins:
- Have a low mintage
- Sport an aesthetically pleasing design
- Are housed in individual capsules
- Have a quality finish
- Are produced by world renowned Perth Mint
- Come with legal tender status
And are priced as bullion coins on release.
They allow a simple entry into the Silver market. If you expect Silver to continue to appreciate over the medium term then they are a great option as a bullion purchase, but come with the potential for a numismatic premium once sold out at the Perth Mint.
Disclosure: Positions held in Silver. Not investment advice. Do your own research.