The Perth Mint Lunar Series 1 are the coins I would recommend to collect both for those just starting and those wishing to enhance their collection.
The Series has plenty going for it:
1. Tiny mintages, especially compared with other issues.
2. First series of its kind and led the way to the commemorative series market which is huge today
3. Superb quality
4. Interesting though somewhat stylized designs.
5. 100% Silver so always backed by a silver bullion price.
6. Minted by an internationally recognized mint that has an outstanding reputation.
7. Prices are still very reasonable considering the mintage’s and scarcity of these coins.
8. Price appreciation is assured due to the mintage numbers and an increasing interest in the series.
Having said that the series does offer some challenges which centre around availability. In additions the mint started series 2 before series 1 was completed causing some confusion around release dates, packaging etc.
The series was made in Proof and bullion, with gilded and coloured varieties also available.
I have concentrated on the proof issues as I believe these offer the best value.
The coins were minted in ½ oz , 1 oz , 2 oz, 10 oz and 1 kg sizes.
Sets of 3 coins, and some years 5 coins, were also sold.
For me the 2 oz and 3 coin sets offer the best value and greatest reward to collect.
Just as a guide lets have a look at the incredibly small mintage figures of the 2oz proof.
Lunar Proof 1999-2010 Series 1 Mintage figures 2 oz
Rabbit 424, Dragon 838, Snake 939, Horse 772, Goat 417, Monkey 264, Rooster 262, Dog 688, Pig 369, Rat 136, Ox 171, Tiger 287
As you can see very few coins were struck. The 3 coin set in some years has even smaller numbers released making it very scarce.
A complete list of mintages can be found in the Australian Coins and Banknote Pocket Guide released by Greg McDonald.
In 2008, the Year of the Mouse, the mint started minting the series 2 lunar coins while the series 1 did not end until 2010 the Year of the Tiger.
So 2008, 2009 and 2010 the mint issued 2 types or style of lunar coins.
The second series is readily available which is why my selection and choice is with the series 1 coins.
I try to carry the Series 1 in my store so usually do have a good selection.