The Perth Mint has unveiled the most valuable collector coin in Australian history – a diamond-encrusted treasure valued at nearly $2.5 million.
The Discovery gold coin is based on the holey dollar, which was introduced by governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1814.
It contains four Argyle pink diamonds and Perth Mint chief executive Richard Hayes said it represented opulence and exclusivity.
“Gold and diamonds are amongst our most prized possessions,” he said.
“Individually, they express an allure and elegance that is simply undeniable, but when combined these two treasures of the past become our legacy for the future.
“Celebrating the destiny and pursuit of fortune embodied in the passion of our early prospectors, Discovery tells the remarkable Australian story of rags to riches.”
The coin depicts a sailing ship, a panning prospector and boab trees to signify the Kimberley region.
The pink diamonds alone are worth about $1.7 million.
Mr Hayes said there was a lot of international interest in such high-end collectables, mainly because of the diamonds.
“In terms of pink diamonds themselves, you can fit the whole year’s production literally into the palm of your hand,” he said.
And they would move hundreds and hundreds of tonnes of dirt and earth to produce what literally fits into the palm of your hand, so that really does explain to some degree their intense rarity.”
Seven versions of the coin were cast before they arrived at the unique $2.48 million beauty.
WA Mines Minister Bill Johnston said the final product was a tribute to WA craftsmanship.
“It’s a testament to the quality of workmanship that the Perth Mint can do that we’re able to produce this Discovery coin,” he said.
“West Australians might not realise the extensive activity here at Perth Mint. It’s an important tourist destination but it also is a major export industry.”
The Discovery coin is scheduled to remain on display at the Mint until September 28, unless it is sold before then.
The coin is expected to end up in the hands of a buyer in Asia or the Middle East.