As a long-term partner of the Perth Mint, Tavex is pleased to offer one of world’s finest minted gold bullion coins, the 2004 Australian Lunar Year of the Mouse. The gold coin is part of Perth Mint’s praised chronological gold bullion collection, the Australian Lunar Series I, where each coin in the series is only minted once every twelve years in accordance with the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. In addition, the most popular one-ounce version in the series has a limited annual mintage of only 30,000 pieces, giving the coin a considerable collector’s premium in the secondary market. The Year of the Monkey gold coin contains 99.99% pure gold and is produced with a special minting technique that ensures the coin is in proof-like condition, meaning it has exceptionally shiny and mat surfaces coupled with the richest of detail. This bullion coin is truly a piece of breathtaking gold art suitable for collectors with an eye for beauty and those who wish to give their loved ones something really memorable and special.
Australian Lunar gold coins are based on the Chinese Lunar Zodiac
It is believed that the Chinese lunar calendar was created almost five millennia ago by primeval ruling dynasties. Since that time, the calendar has been continuously improved by astronomers of different royal Chinese courts, culminating in a final version that was calculated according to the earth’s movement around the sun, but fitted into a lunar calendar, thus making it officially a lunisolar calendar. The decision to base the calendar on two celestial bodies stems from the fact that the moon’s motion around the earth is not in synchronisation with the earth’s motion around the sun, creating a time disparity which created a problem for farmers who, of course, needed an accurate calendar that would tell them the best time for planting and harvesting in accordance with the sun’s movement. Originally, the calendar was based on the cycles of the moon, as it was much easier for the ancient astronomers to make the necessary calculation. But, as time passed, they noticed the disparity between the lunar year which consisted of twelve months, each month consisting of 29.5 days which totalled 354 days in a year, and the solar year, which numbered a total of 365.24 days, thus making the lunar year 11 days shorter than the earth’s yearly orbit around the sun. To better synchronise the lunar calendar with the sun, a leap month was added every two or three years similar to that of the modern solar calendar where nearly every 4 years on February 29 an extra leap day is added to align the earth’s revolution around the sun.
In contrast to most other calendars, the Chinese lunar calendar does not count years in an infinite sequence, but is instead composed of a 12 year period that is repeated five times in order to get to a cycle that is equal to 60 years. Each year of the period consists of two components, a heavenly stem and a terrestrial branch. The heavenly stem consists of ten symbols, which were the names of the ten days in the week used by the ancient Chinese, while the terrestrial branch consists of 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac cycle. For the creation of one year, each stem is combined with every second terrestrial branch. Thus, when all possible combinations between the heavenly stems and terrestrial branches have been made, this being equal to 60, the final cycle is created and subsequently it starts over once again. This method of cyclical dating is believed to be among the longest continuous sequences of time measurement in history. China today uses the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar, for all civil purposes, but the lunar calendar is still the main calendar used by various communities in China and East Asia to determine celebrity dates such as jubilees, weddings, the Chinese New Year and other festivities.
Lunar Series I
All the gold coins of the 12-coin series have been minted. This cycle of the Lunar Calendar began with the Year of the Rat in 1996 and concludes in 2007 with the Year of the Pig. All coins in the Lunar Series are legal tender Australian coins.
Until 1999, Lunars were produced in four sizes – 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz and 1 oz. Since 2000, 2 oz, 10 oz and 1 kg coins were added to the range, and in 2004, a 1/2 oz gold coin joined the family.
The Perth Mint is a world distinguished mint and precious metals refiner that is located in the City of Perth, in Western Australia. The Perth Mint was founded in 1896 by Britain’s Royal Mint in response to the newly discovered gold deposits in Western Australia. Perth Mint’s task was to refine gold ore from the mines and to strike sovereign gold coins from the refined bullion. Between 1899 and 1931 the Pert Mint produced a considerable amount of gold sovereigns which were disturbed in Australia and throughout the British Empire to be used as circulating currency. British control over Perth Mint was relinquished in 1971 to the Government of Western Australia which then assumed ownership of the mint. Today, the Perth Mint is hailed for the exceptional quality of its world class investment bullion coins like the Kookaburra and Koala silver coins, and the Lunar Series. The Perth Mint has been a member of the London Gold Market (predecessor of the LBMA) since 1934. The swan design, which is the Mint’s official assay stamp registered with the LBMA, is recognised internationally and was inspired by the Mint’s location in Perth, where the main river, the Swan, runs through the city.
The obverse portrays the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. The reason for picturing Her Majesty the Queen stems from Australia’s membership of the United Kingdom’s Commonwealth of Nations. By being a member of the Commonwealth, Australia has Queen Elizabeth II as its reigning constitutional monarch. Above the Queen’s effigy is the text “ELIZABETH II” and “AUSTRALIA”. Inscribed below the effigy is the denomination of the coin, and the designer’s initials “IRB” – Ian Rank-Broadley.
The reverse displays a monkey balancing on a tree branch. Inscribed above is the Chinese character for “monkey”, to the right is the year of mintage, and below the monkey is the weight and purity of the coin.
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