The Perth Mint launched its Lunar Series Bullion Coins in 1996 with the Year of the Rat, which is the first year in the repeating 12-year Lunar Calendar. Some Lunar Calendars call it the year of the Mouse. This cycle of the Lunar Calendar concluded in 2007 with the Year of pig.
All the gold coins in the Lunar Series were minted of .9999 fine gold, and each coin was encapsulated in plastic protective capsules.
The obverse of the 1996 Rat carries the effigy of a young Queen Elizabeth, which is the second official likeness of the Queen during her reign. The same effigy graces the obverses of the 1997 Ox and the 1998 Tiger. However, in 1999 The Perth Mint began using a mature image of the Queen, one that Buckingham Palace released in late 1997 on the Lunar Series Bullion Coins.
The release of the new effigy resulted in the first three coins in the Lunar Series (the Rat, the Ox, and the Tiger) carrying a young version of Queen Elizabeth, while the remaining nine coins carry the mature version.
Lunar Series Gold Bullion Coin Production Cap
Production of the 1-oz Lunar Series Bullion Gold Coins was limited to 30,000 coins for each coin. However, before the production cap was reached for the 1996 1-oz Gold Rat, The Perth Mint ceased minting Lunar Series Bullion Coins, and only 16,593 of the 1-oz Gold Rats were minted.
Three 1-oz Lunar Series Bullion Gold Coins reached the 30,000-coin cap: the year 2000 Gold Dragon, the year 2001 Gold Snake and the year 2002 Gold Horse. Follow this link for a complete list of the mintages of all the Lunar Series coins, gold and silver.
Although some later years Lunar Series Bullion Gold Coins were minted in eight sizes, from 1/20-oz to kilo (32.15 oz), only four sizes of Lunar Series Gold Rats were minted: a 1-oz, a _-oz, a 1/10-oz and a 1/20-oz.
Of the Lunar Series Bullion Gold Coins, the 1-oz coins became the preferred coins for collectors, who now drive the market. As a rule, 1-oz coins are more sought after by coin collectors than are fractional-ounce coins.
Lunar Series Bullion Silver Coins
Although CMIGS offered the Lunar Series Bullion Silver Coins, we did not recommend them because of their high premiums. Collectors interested in buying The Perth Mint Lunar Series Silver Coins should check with CMIGS because we often have Lunar Series Bullion Coins, gold and silver, for sale at the lowest prices on the Internet.
Investors wanting to know prices on the Lunar Series Bullion Coins that CMIGS has for sale are invited to call our toll free number: 1-800-528-1380. Tell the operator you want to talk with the Lunar Series specialist. For a further discussion of The Perth Mint Lunar Series, read our Perth Mint Lunar Series Overview. For still another looks at Perth Mint Lunar Series, visit lunarcollectorcoins.com.
Lunar Calendar Years
Besides 1996, other Rat years include 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, and 1900.