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The Australian Nugget coin (also known as the “Australian Gold Nugget” or “Australian Gold Kangaroo”) is the official Australian bullion minted at the world-famous Perth Mint. Among the most pure and highest quality gold coins in the world, Australian Kangaroos/Nuggets meet the minimum purity requirements set by the Internal Revenue Service for IRA investing. On this page, you will learn all that you need know about these coins, including how to add them to your investment portfolio.
Development, Introduction and History
In 1986, Australian Gold Nugget bullion was introduced by the Gold Corporation, a company owned by the Western Australian government. The Gold Corporation holds a special agreement with the Australian Department of the Treasury, enabling it to create and market gold, silver and platinum legal tender coinage for collectors and investors.
The Australian Gold Nugget series sold over 155,000 ounces of gold, valued at over $103 million, on its first day of trading. Demand has remained high since.
Originally, only 1 troy ounce coins were minted for the series. Weight denominations of 2 oz, 10 oz and 1 kilogram (kg) sizes were issued beginning in 1991, and remain some of the largest gold coins ever minted. Today, Gold Nugget series coins range from 1/60 oz to 1 kg.
In 2011, the Perth Mint set out to create the world’s largest gold coin. The result, a variation of the Gold Nugget, was a 1,000 kilogram (2,204.62 lbs) coin, measuring 31 inches in diameter and nearly 5 inches thick. The face value of this coin was listed at $1,000,000 (Australian dollars). After being minted, however, it was valued at nearly $49 million, making it the most valuable gold bullion ever produced.
Australian Gold Nugget/Kangaroo Physical Characteristics
The Australian Gold Nugget coin is one of the few bullion gold coins that both change design yearly and are accepted as legal tender. During the first three years of production (1986-1988), different images of gold ore (hence the name “nugget”) appeared on the rear, or “reverse”, side of Gold Nugget coins. Beginning in 1989, the Perth Mint changed the coin to show a kangaroo instead – leading to the nickname “Gold Kangaroo.” It was believed that the kangaroo was a more attractive, recognizable representation of Australia.
The words “AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO” and “9999 GOLD” surround a coin’s kangaroo image, along with mention of the year the coin was minted and the weight denomination. It is worth noting that the kangaroo depicted only changes for the official 1 oz coins; for all other weight denominations, the same “Red Kangaroo” image is consistent from year to year.
Like most Australian gold coins, the front, or “obverse”, side of all Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins bear a youthful image of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The likeness of Elizabeth II was designed by Ian-Rank Broadley, and shows a young portrait of the sovereign wearing a tiara. The perimeter of the coin includes text which details the coin’s value, the name “QUEEN ELIZABETH II” and other information (depending on mint year).
All Gold Kangaroos are pressed and struck multiple times to generate a frosted, smooth background. Images on either side are polished to create a more liquid sheen. This contrast is sometimes referred to as a “two-tone” effect.
While the 1 oz coins are by far the most readily available, Australian Gold Kangaroos have been minted in 8 different weight denominations (not including the 1,000 kilogram coin, of course):
Australian Kangaroo/Nugget Gold Series Weight Denominations
|1 kg||74.50 mm||15.80 mm||A$3,000|
|10 oz||59.70 mm||7.65 mm||A$1,000|
|2 oz||40.40 mm||3.35 mm||A$200|
|1 oz||32.10 mm||2.65 mm||A$100|
|1/2 oz||25.10 mm||2.20 mm||A$50|
|1/4 oz||20.10 mm||1.80 mm||A$25|
|1/10 oz||16.10 mm||1.30 mm||A$15|
|1/20 oz||14.10 mm||1.40 mm||A$5|
Every Gold Kangaroo carries a gold purity of 999.999 out of 1,000 parts pure, qualifying for 24-karat status (similar to Australian Lunar Gold bullion). For protection, each coin is individually packaged at the Perth Mint in a hardened plastic casing.
Australian Kangaroo/Nugget Pricing
Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget bullion is considered legal tender within the Commonwealth of Australia. Each weight denomination carries a face value, or the transactional worth of the coin as dictated by law. This value is largely symbolic, and is typically far smaller than the intrinsic value, or the market value of the coin.
The market price of Australian Gold Kangaroo coins is largely determined by the market price of gold. This price is used to determine value inside of an investment portfolio. Gold prices fluctuate daily, meaning that the value of Australian Kangaroo/Nugget bullion investments will fluctuate daily as well. Most major newspapers report the daily price of gold, making this value easy to track.
Due to their world-renowned pureness, quality, limited supply and unique yearly mintage, Gold Kangaroos can carry a “numismatic” value higher than their intrinsic market value. “Numismatic” value refers to the value of a coin to collectors and scholars.
Investing in Australian Kangaroo/Nugget Coins Through an IRA
Per IRS rules, specific types of IRAs are allowed to carry gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion in a portfolio. Sometimes referred to as “precious metals IRAs”, these IRAs are self-directed and may only contain IRS-approved bullion.
The IRS authorizes the inclusion of Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). By placing physical gold inside of an IRA, Gold Kangaroos offer a level of diversification that is independent of fluctuations in stocks or bonds.
All Australian Kangaroo/Nugget series coins meet the minimum purity requirements set by the IRS. To add qualifying bullion, investors must make an initial purchase of at least $5,000 to establish a precious metals IRA. All subsequent purchases must be of at least $1,000.
When an investor makes a purchase of Australian Gold Kangaroos (or any investment-grade bullion), the IRS further requires that the coins or bars be held in a qualifying ‘depository’, which is responsible for the security and maintenance of the metal.
Those with an existing IRA have the option of transferring or rolling over funds into a precious metals IRA.
The most recently minted Gold Kangaroos are available for direct purchase on the Perth Mint’s official website. International shipping
is available for non-Australian investors – though this may result in additional fees as the coins pass through customs. Older coins can be found with coin dealers around the world, such as the American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX).
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