The Royal Australian Mint has launched a new bullion series which will focus on the wildlife encountered in Australia’s Antarctic Territory (AAT). The series begins with the emperor penguin, which is the largest of all the penguin species and is found throughout Antarctica and the Australian Antarctic Territory. With their regal bearing and distinctive markings, emperor penguins are the largest of all penguins, standing around a metre (or just over three feet) tall and weighing up to 45 kilograms (or nearly 100 pounds). Once regarded as a species of least concern in terms of endangerment, emperor penguins are now regarded as near threatened due to declining availability of their food, brought about by climate change and industrial fishing. In the wild, their predators are killer whales, leopard seals, and the giant petrel. The most dangerous predator is the leopard seal, which can eat about 15 penguins a day, though they usually only catch the weak or the very sick, as a healthy penguin can usually out-swim a leopard seal. On the other hand, emperor penguins are predominantly carnivores and eat a diet that consists of krill, squid, silverfish, and other fish species. Unlike many penguins that feed on surface prey, emperor penguins often reach depths of over 1,500 feet and can remain submerged for up to 18 minutes. Studies by organisations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution suggest emperor penguins could be on the brink of extinction by the end of this century.
The coins are designed by the Royal Australian Mint’s Adam Ball, whose reverse side depicts an emperor penguin with its chick. In the background, there is a colony of adult emperor penguins lining up to dive from the Antarctic ice into the ocean. Above and to the right are the text EMPEROR PENGUIN along the rim and the coins’ specifications 1 oz. 9999 GOLD or 999 SILVER.
The obverse side includes the memorial commonwealth obverse created by engraver Jody Clark, depicting her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, along with the years of her reign, 1952 and 2022. Below the Queen’s likeness is the denomination 100 DOLLARS (gold) or 1 DOLLAR (silver). The coins carry the year 2023.
|1 dollar||.999 Silver||31.1 g||40 mm||Brilliant Unc. Bullion||25,000|
|100 dollars||.9999 Gold||31.1 g||38.7 mm||Brilliant Unc. Bullion||250|
Each of the gold and silver coins is encapsulated, with the gold versions presented in a Royal Australian Mint-branded custom case with illustrated slipcase. Both are available directly from the Royal Australian Mint for those residents in Australia or from a reputable bullion dealer in your region/country. For additional information, please click here for the silver coin or here for the gold coin.