Three new 2016 Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle coins were just released by the Perth Mint, and as expected the two 5oz coins were included in this. However, there was a surprise addition in the form of a bi-metallic precious metal coin sporting the Wedge-tailed Eagle design as well.
Interestingly the coin is a 1oz precious metal coin struck from two types of metal, with a 1/2oz pure gold(.9999 Fineness) inner disc and a 1/2oz pure silver(.999 Fineness) outer ring. The coin's subject is confined entirely to the gold inner disc, with the legend appearing on the silver outer ring(this holds true for both the obverse and reverse sides). The coin bears the same John M. Mercanti design that appears on the 1oz and 5oz coins in the same series, of the Wedge-tailed eagle perched on a branch surveying his surroundings. The only text that appears on the gold part of the coin is the Perth Mint's mintmark(“P”) below the eagle, and “1/2oz 9999 GOLD” that appears just inside the inner rim to the top right. The silver outer ring simply has the legend of “AUSTRALIAN EDGE-TAILED EAGLE”, “2016” and “1/2 oz 999 SILVER”.
The obverse in turn confines the standard Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to the gold disc. As with the reverse, the obverse side of the silver ring contains the necessary inscriptions including country of issue and denomination. “ELIZABETH II”, “AUSTRALIA” and “50 DOLLARS” with the denomination written at the bottom and separated from the rest of the inscription by a sing dot at either end.
The coin is issued in a luxurious wooden presentation case along with a numbered certificate of authenticity. This innovative new coin carries a limited mintage of only 750 coins and is listed for AUS$1544.55(US$1186.44) at the time of release. While this is an interesting concept and a very welcome addition to the Perth Mint's catalog, I can't help but feel a tiny bit underwhelmed for some reason. There is no doubt that the John M. Mercanti design is a stunning representation of the majestic Wedge-tailed eagle, and it certainly works brilliantly on the 1oz and 5oz gold and silver pieces especially on the high relief coins. But on the bi-metallic coin it feels too isolated on the centre disc especially if the rest of the fields are left empty with the 32.6mm(1.2834 Inch) coin that begs for a more intricate design.
American sculptor and engraver, John M. Mercanti, the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. John Mercanti created the reverse design of the American Silver Eagle bullion coin and has produced more coin and medal designs than any other employee in the history of the U.S. Mint.
It is on the gold and silver high relief 5oz coins though that the striking design can truly be appreciated though. The two 5oz coins are for all intents and purposes identical in design to each other and also shares the same John M. Mercanti design as the 1oz coins. As they are 5oz coins though they are both high relief strikes, taking advantage of the thicker planchets, 12.5mm for the silver coin and 9mm for the gold. The only real difference in terms of design is the fact that the silver 5oz coin is denominated as an $8 coin whereas it's gold counterpart has been denominated as a $500 coin.
The silver 5 oz coin will have a maximum mintage figure of 5000 coins and measures 50.6mm(1.9921 inch). As you might expect the gold coin , which measures 40.5mm(1.5944 inch), has a far more modest mintage of only 199 coins.
In terms of presentation the silver 5oz Wedge-tail eagle coin is issued in a black patterned clamshell case with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The gold 5oz coin is issued in a far more luxurious looking presentation case and vanity cover, also with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
As for pricing the coins are expected to list for AUS$450.00 for the silver and AUS$13 135.45 for the gold coin.