For the 1-oz Lunar Series Gold Coins, which are the most highly collected coins in the Lunar Series and the only coins that CMI Gold & Silver recommended, the smallest mintage was the 1997 Ox with 13,709 being made. Less than 17,000 of four 1-oz Lunar Series Gold Coins were minted: the Rat, the Tiger, the Goat and the Monkey. Three coins, as followers of the Series know, reached the 30,000-coin production cap: the year 2000 Dragon, the year 2001 Snake and the year 2002 Horse.
The mintages have been long awaited, basically since The Mint announced in March 2007 that it was closing the Lunar Series. Now, the coins are in the collector world, where prices and availability are determined by collector interest. Well, almost.
As it turns out, The Perth Mint still has inventory of some coins. At the end, “a few dealers” did not take coins that they had ordered, leaving The Mint with nearly 6,000 of the 1-oz gold coins. Strangely, The Mint did not reveal this development to the dealers, such as CMI Gold & Silver, who had long supported the Lunar Series until a few weeks ago. If The Mint had disclosed the development when it arose, the extra coins could have been sold by now.
Instead, The Mint let its distribution in the United States fall apart and set about selling the extra coins in Europe. In an odd way, perhaps that was good for the Series as Europeans are now aware of the Series. That could be very good for secondary market interest in the Series.
About 3,600 coins were sold into Europe in one fell swoop, leaving a little more than 2,000 coins at The Mint as this is written. The Mint is completely out of the Oxen, the Tigers and the Roosters, and, of course, the three coins that reached the 30,000-coin production cap.
When The Mint had a viable distribution system in the U.S., Lunar Series coins could be obtained easily. However, the leftover coins have to be special ordered and delivery can be weeks, if not over a month. Still, the remaining coins are available at the same price as new American Gold Eagles, and CMIGS believes the 1-oz Lunar Series Gold Coins to be excellent investments for the long term because of the potential for the coins to pick up collector premiums.
Investors interested in acquiring some the 1-oz gold coins still in The Perth Mint inventory should act quickly. With only about 2,000 coins available, and with new interest from European dealers, those coins could sell out quickly. Then the 1-oz Lunar Series Gold Coins really will enter the collector world, where sometimes extremely high premiums are put on popular coins; and, the Lunar Series is one of the best received collector series to hit the collector world in a long time.