Media Release Disposal of Gold Coin Holding

The Reserve Bank has held for many years a large quantity of gold coins, accumulated prior to 1976 when Australian law required that members of the public exchange gold coins for Australian currency. The total value of these coins is minor relative to the Bank's assets; the gold value is about $19 million.

The Bank has decided that it does not need to continue to hold this large quantity of coins. It will retain a small number for display in its Museum of Australian Currency Notes. Other coins which were identified by the Royal Australian Mint as having historical value have been transferred to the Mint's National Coin Collection.

Of the remainder, most have been disposed of. Those with no numismatic value – that is, worth only their weight in gold metal – have been melted and sold as gold bullion. Those with small numismatic value have been sold at tender to coin dealers in a number of bulk lots.

The final group of 5,850 gold coins, comprising Australian half sovereigns and sovereigns, Adelaide pounds and some foreign coins, have significant numismatic value and are expected to be of interest to coin collectors. These are to be sold by public auction, together with 800 silver and copper-based coins also held by the Bank. The auction will complete the process of disposing of the Bank's gold coin holdings.

The Bank has appointed Downies Australian Coin Auctions to conduct the public auction. Downies Australian Coin Auctions will appraise the coins and prepare and distribute a catalogue which will be available in late October 2005. The auction will be conducted over 29–30 November 2005 in Melbourne.

Enquiries regarding the auction:

Downies Australian Coin Auctions
Melbourne, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8456 8456
Fax: +61 3 8456 8488

Other enquiries:

Dr RW Rankin
Assistant Governor (Business Services)
Reserve Bank of Australia
Phone: +61 2 9551 8955
Fax: +61 2 9221 5528