In 2013, former Chief Engraver of the United States Mint John Mercanti traveled to Austin, Texas to meet with Perth Mint wholesale manager Neil Vance to discuss the possibility of collaborating on an exclusive new coin design that could be marketed exclusively to collectors in the United States. The subject of the proposed coin was the wedge-tailed eagle, the largest bird of prey native to Australia and the state bird of New South Wales and the Northern Territory. For Mercanti, the design was a riff on the American bald eagle, a motif he was well familiar with given his long tenure as an engraver at the U.S. Mint, and for the coin’s North American distributor GovMint, the coin was an opportunity to further capitalize on Mercanti’s exclusive relationship with third-party grading service, PCGS (NASDAQ: CLCT).
The Perth Mint’s Wedge-Tailed Eagle one-dollar coin debuted in 2014 and was issued in gold and in silver 1 oz (proof and mint state) and 5 oz (proof) finishes. The design was reprised in 2015 and according to Perth spokesperson Makeila Ellis, the Mercanti wedge-tailed eagle design will return in 2016.
Ian Rank-Broadley’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth II sits in the center of the coin. Rank-Broadley’s initials IRB are located just beneath the bust truncation. Wrapping around the coin are the following inscriptions: ELIZABETH II, AUSTRALIA, and 1 Dollar.
A wedge-tailed eagle prepares to land on a craggy and dead tree trunk. The eagle motif is framed by a thin circle, with the tips of its wings and tail feathers and the tree trunk breaking the plane. The Perth Mint’s “P” mint mark is located beneath the eagle’s outstretched haunches. Canted to the left and wrapping around the top of the coin’s rim is the inscription AUSTRALIAN WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE. Centered at the bottom and wrapping around the rim is the inscription 2015 1oz 999 SILVER. John Mercanti’s initials “JM” appear at the top of the eagle’s wooden perch.
Designer(s): John Mercanti was named Chief Engraver of the United States Mint by Mint Director Edmund C. Moy on May 19, 2006. One of the most prolific coin designers in United States history, Mercanti is most known for his reverse design on the American Silver Eagle bullion coin (View Designers Profile). Ian Rank-Broadley’s designer profile can be read here.
|Year Of Issue:||2015|
|Mint Mark:||P (for Perth Mint)|
|OBV Designer||Ian Rank-Broadley|
|REV Designer||John M. Mercanti|
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Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle Coins Currently Available on eBay