27 November 2017

? Worth my Weight In Gold

$3,984,155.00 AUD 
my weight in gold on the 22nd Nov 2017 at Perth Mint

The year is 1899, rich gold deposits have been found in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, huge numbers of prospectors are flocking to the then colony of Western Australia to deposit their raw gold.
Sir John Forrest, the first Premier of Western Australia or 'Big John' as he was known then, foresaw the importance of gold in the development of Western Australia's economy, and successfully lobbied the British Government to establish a branch of the Royal Mint in Perth.
And so the Perth Mint was founded. It was Australia's third branch of Britain's Royal Mint, the others being the Sydney Mint and the Melbourne Mint (both now closed).
Between 1899 and 1931 more than 106 million gold sovereigns and nearly 735,000 half sovereigns were struck for use as currency in Australia and throughout the British Empire.

I think it's quite a nice colonial-era building 

The production of gold sovereigns stopped in 1931 when Britain abandoned the gold standard. Nevertheless, the refinery remained busy making fine gold bullion bars. But it wasn't long before the production of coins re-started. In 1940, with Australia entering WW2, an urgent telegram arrived from the Commonwealth Treasury in Canberra saying: "Heavy demand for Australian coin and Melbourne Mint working full capacity. Could you undertake minting copper coins?" Hundreds of millions of Australian pennies and half pennies were produced between 1940 and 1964, and 1.3 million shillings in 1946. Output was boosted further when Australia introduced decimal currency in 1966, a staggering 829 million 2 cent coins and 26 million 1 cent coins were produced by 1973. 
In 1957 the Mint produced "arguably the purest of all gold". Refinery Officer Leo Hickey and Senior Craftsman Alexander Osborne produced a proof 'plate' of almost six nines - 999.999 parts of gold per thousand - as measured by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London. The Royal Mint was so impressed that it ordered some of the gold as the benchmark for its own standards. 
Perth Mint remained under Britain's jurisdiction until 1 July 1970, when ownership transferred to the Government of Western Australia. The change came at a fortuitous time - a few years later a new gold boom took off. With the price of gold rising dramatically, the Mint became the focus of renewed interest and opportunity, and is now Australia’s largest fully integrated, innovative precious metals enterprise, providing premium gold, silver and platinum products and services to markets throughout the world, exporting some $18 billion worth of pure gold, silver and platinum bullion bars and coins to investors in more than 100 countries annually. 
A tour of the Mint gives you the history of the building and how gold came to be. The history of gold is really interesting, you can read about it here 

William Ford and Arthur Bayley were the first to strike gold in the State of Western Australia.

I don't think this was their original wheelbarrow! 
but it was probably used by prospectors at some time in the past.

The world's largest and most valuable coin, weighing in at a staggering 1 tonne is showcased 
in all its golden glory on a revolving platform which is lowered into a vault beneath it every evening. 
An image of Queen Elizabeth II is on the other side of the coin.
You can see how it was made here

Technical details if you like that kind of stuff

The gold pour where you can see 99.99% molten pure gold being poured
to form a 6 kilogram solid gold bar. 
Unfortunately my phone camera couldn't cope with the dim lighting in the smelting area.
The chap doing the demonstration is in the far left of the picture and that gold glow is, yes you've guessed, the gold melting in the furnace.

Here he is about to pour the melted gold into the  mold

I didn't bring my fairly large SLR camera this time, thinking my phone one would be ok. My grandson can't understand why anyone would want such an old fashioned phone, I tell him that I only have one as a standby in my handbag, I don't need an all singing all dancing, we have an app for everything you could possibly need phone. Still not convinced he then went on to explain how I could have a sat nav that could not only guide me around when at home but also around Perth or anywhere else I might get lost. But the coup de gras was when he showed me how good the cameras are on modern phones. So when I get home he is going to help me find a good phone at a good price. He's a lovely boy. 

The mold is then placed in a bath of water to cool

And here it is, transformed into a gleaming solid gold bar. 
Unfortunately they didn't give any free samples!

The shop has lots of gorgeous items for sale

Time for a refreshing cup of tea and a scrumptious chocolate and caramel macaron.

 The Mint cafe was quirky, I loved the prospector theme.

Polly x 


  1. the colonial building is gorgeous..

  2. This was interesting, I loved learning about the history of gold in Australia. You are my most expensive friend, Polly.

  3. Hello Polly,
    That was a great post. Very interesting history facts. Your pictures are gorgeous!
    Big hug

  4. This is a fascinating post, Polly. I had no idea. That gift shop is pretty darned magnificent and I'm sure not inexpensive! Worth your weight in gold? Well, of course!

    1. Thank you Jeanie. Yes the gift shop was a tad expensive!


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