The Royal Australian Mint has launched a new bullion series of gold and silver one-ounce coins which feature koalas, perhaps among the most recognisable of Australia’s distinctive native animals. When Europeans first settled in Australia, they marvelled at the unusual native animals, among which were Koalas that they incorrectly described as a bear. Koalas were, of course, well known to indigenous peoples who hunted them for food. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, koalas were hunted for skins for export which led to a population decline, prompting perhaps Australia’s first large-scale environmental response. Once ranked as a species of least concern in terms of their numbers, Koalas are now classed as vulnerable and are fully protected under Australian environmental law. Disease, loss of habitat, and especially the recent wildfires in 2020 have reduced populations to the point that Koalas are now classed as vulnerable. Koalas belong to the marsupial species of mammals and inhabit woodlands along the eastern and southern Australian coastal regions, living mostly on eucalyptus leaves. The shy gentle Koala is beloved by both Australians and people further afield and through their appeal to tourists, Koalas make a notable contribution to the Australian economy.
Designed by Royal Australian Mint artisan Bronwyn Scott, the reverse side features a climbing koala looking to his right. In the background are illustrations of eucalyptus trees and leaves representing the koala’s habitat. To the left, is the name of the series KOALA and below the climbing marsupial are the specifications of the coin 1 oz .9999 Au (gold) or 1 oz .999 Ag (silver).
The obverse includes the commonwealth “Memorial Obverse” effigy designed by British engraver Jody Clark, which includes the years of reign 1952 – 2022 added to differentiate the coins minted after the Queen’s death. The denomination 100 DOLLARS (gold) or 1 DOLLAR (silver) is shown below her likeness and the year 2024 is shown as part of the legend.
The new range of bullion coins are minted exclusively for Emporium Hamburg, which will be handling the distribution for European investors and collectors. For interested collectors in Australia, please click here for the gold coin or here for the silver coin.