Thursday, April 3, 2008

Perth Mint

You can find out who the Perth Mint are in this write up on the Perth Mint. Find out what gold bullion they have and how safe they are.

In all transactions with gold or other precious metal with any gold dealer or mint, it is always wise to do your own due diligence and find out as much about them as possible.

Who are the Perth Mint
The Perth Mint opened in 1899 and was Australia's third branch of Britain's Royal Mint - the others being the Sydney Mint and the Melbourne Mint at that time but since closed.

Sir John Forrest, The visionary leader and first Premier of Western Australia, is regarded as the founding father of The Perth Mint. 'Big John', as he was known, could foresee the importance of gold in the development of Western Australia's economy, and successfully lobbied the British Government to establish a branch in Perth, Western Australia.

Currently the Western Australia State Government owns the Western Australian Mint through the wholey owned Gold Corporation, (established under the Gold Corporation Act 1987) one of the Perth State Government enterprises who, in turn, own the Perth Mint 100 percent. They also have share ownership associations with AGR Matthey, Johnson Matthey and Newmont Australia who are concerned with the manufacture and refining of bullion bars and industrial products.

In 1988 the Government of Western Australia merged The Perth Mint (also known as Western Australian Mint) and Gold Corporation Australia under a new entity called Gold Corporation. Gold Corporation was formally created by the Gold Corporation Act 1987 on 30 June 1988 and it and all of its subsidiaries are wholly-owned by the Government of Western Australia. In Australia each state has its own government as well as Australia having a federal government. the Government Guarantee was included in the Gold Corporation Act 1987.

The mint, in effect then is not just a dealer in gold coins. The Perth Mint is also a manufacturer and, through its associations above, a refiner and caster of its own bullion and manufactures it’s own coins.

The current Chairman of the Perth mint is P J Unsworth Chairman. The executive officer is Ed Harbuz. Their Registered Office is the Perth Mint Building in Hay Street East Perth. Western Australia.

Perth Mint Customer Service

You can call the Perth Mint and talk to someone on the phone. Also email is available and they usually get back to you within 24 hours depending on when you call. Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is around 12 hours ahead of the US and so phone calls should be in Western Australia business hours.

Placing an order online is relatively simple. You will need to open a free account with the Perth Mint and provide your basic details but then you can easily choose gold or silver coins or any other of the many and varied products the Mint sells and add them to your shopping cart.

When you order a product, such as a gold coin or silver coin or bullion, from the then the process is very straight forward and clear. The shipping times are given depending on where you are and how you would like your purchase shipped.

With investment products one can call a specific phone number and to call for any trades such as buying and selling allocated and unallocated gold or silver. The service here is brisk and professional. The consultants are helpful without being chatty.

The Perth Mint has a formal complaints procedure where any complaints can be emailed and a response given notifying the complainant of what action is being taken and when it will be resolved.

Something should be said about the "Government Guarantee".

There is no other dealer, or mint for that matter, in the world that advertises they have a government guarantee.

Perth Mint's Government Guarantee
According to the Perth mint website, "The Perth Mint operates under a Government Guarantee, which is enshrined in Section 22 of the Gold Corporation Act 1987. Clause 22(1) of the Gold Corporation Act 1987 explicitly states that "The payment of the cash equivalent of gold due, payable and deliverable by Gold Corporation, the Mint or GoldCorp under this Act and all moneys due and payable by Gold Corporation ... is guaranteed by the Treasurer, in the name and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State."

This guarantee is particularly important when it comes to investments and pooled gold.

Although the guarantee is applied to gold it is also indicated on the site that it applies to other precious metals such as silver and platinum also.

Perth Mint Products Range

The product range is very extensive and diverse. Along with the usual gold and silver bullion there are commemorative issues, theme issues, peripheral products such as jewelry, gifts and watches.

To give a complete list of products would be beyond the scope of this review but here is a small list of examples of what you can find on site available to the public.

This list applies mostly to gold coins and silver coins. There are other sets in other precious metals available also.
Discover Australia Fauna
Australian Lunar series
Year of the Mouse
Year of the Pig
Year of the Dog
Year of the Dragon
Year of the Goat
Year of the Horse
Year of the Monkey
Year of the Ox
Year of the Rabbit
Year of the Rooster
Year of the Snake
Year of the Tiger
Chinese Astrological Series
Themed Coins
Australian Treasures
Historic Replicas
Indigenous Culture
Lucky Symbols
United Kingdom
War (Military)

The above is generally available in silver and platinum coins also. In addition there are such items as:
Chinese Astrological Series
Kailis Pearl Jewelery
Gold Jewelery Collection
Australian Lunar Coin Pendants
Coin Watches
Baby Gifts
Wedding Gifts
Executive Gifts
Gold Bars
Coin Watches
Interestingly, the Perth Mint are one of the few pleases where one can buy natural gold nuggets. Natural gold nuggets are almost always found on the surface and never underground. They can be found in river beads and buried in earth. Each often has a story to it which also includes the name of the finder. The size can range from fractions of an ounce up to many ounces although sizes are very rare. The premium on natural gold nuggets is very high however. Usually about two to four times the spot value of gold depending on the weight. For example, with gold at 900 dollars an ounce, a 1.23 ounce nugget will cost around 1855USD. A nugget just over two ounces would be 3060USD. They do not have a lot of investment value due to the high premium, but are a great, if expensive, curiosity.

Gold Services of the Perth Mint
Other services and products include allocated & un-allocated storage, certificate programs, depository services and private minting.

The Perth mint operates allocated and unallocated gold and silver bullion accounts. With the allocated accounts the account holder owns specific physical gold and or silver in coin or bar form and that is stored within the Perth Mint Vaults. If a person owns unallocated bullion then they are simply sharing in a pooled account and no one part of that shared bullion can be said to belong to any one particular individual.

So with unallocated (unsegregated) bullion you have title to unspecified precious metal deposited in a metal account. You pay the precious metal cost at the time of your purchase as well as a certificate fee. There is no storage fees on unallocated bullion. You pay NO storage fees on this option.

With allocated (segregated) Coins or Bars (Gold and Silver only), You own title to specific coins and/or bars, which are placed in a physical form in the PMCP storage facility. Here you must pay the quoted precious metal cost, fabrication charges and storage fees at the time of your purchase. The storage fee is based upon the value of the bullion at the time of purchase so does not rise even if the value of your purchase subsequently rises.

The above comes under the certificate program and when you buy gold or silver bullion under this program you will get a non transferable certificate to indicate your holding.

To do this, an account has to be opened to utilize all but the last of these services. In this case opening the account is similar to opening a bank account, substantiated proof of identity is required. Once this is done, one calls the mint and asks for a "trade". It can be done by email, phone call or fax. Once the gold price for that trade is established one then forwards the funds, usually by bank to bank transfer or bank wire, to the Mint and they will send a certificate outlining the trade.

A Depository service is also available for those wishing to deposit bullion in the Perth Mint. These naturally incur storage fees which will be dependent on the bullion, quantity and time of storage.

The Perth Mint Depository stores bullion in a high security environment which includes physical security (such as vaults and security staff), electronic security (such as surveillance and alarms), and an impressive level of procedural security for receiving, releasing and accounting for precious metal deposits. As a result, The Perth Mint offers one of the world's most secure locations for hard asset storage.
In addition a client can also hold funds in AUD and USD (interest is not paid).

Deposit and withdraw funds in currencies other than AUD or USD. Place market orders monitored 24 hours a day (100oz minimum for gold and platinum, 10,000oz minimum for silver) and even purchase European style put and call options over gold (in lots of 500oz) and silver (in lots of 250,000oz);

Private Minting is also available where an individual, company or other entity can have gold or silver coins and small bars fabricated to specific requirements.

Perth Mint Payment Options
All the usual payment options are available including credit cards, bank to bank transfer, bank wires and checks. Basically for consumer products such as gold bullion, gold and silver coins, credit card is the norm.

For larger ticket items and investment products then bank to bank transfer, or bank wires, are preferred. Credit cards cannot be used to purchase investment products

Perth Mint Guarantee Refund Policy

The Perth mint have a refund policy whereby, if you are unhappy with your purchase from the Perth Mint online shop, the Perth Mint will refund the full purchase price, not including shipping costs, within 30 days.

However this guarantee is applicable only to website and Mail Orders. The Perth mint must be contacted and approval obtained before returning the good.

Perth Mint Security
The Perth Mint has a secure shopping cart for credit card transactions. For investments, when you have an account all transactions require a password to be quoted and applied.

The Perth Mint has extensive terms and conditions and a strict privacy policy. In fact it is stated on site that "Under Section 74 of the Gold Corporation Act 1987 employees of the Mint face imprisonment of 1 year if they divulge any information concerning clients' transactions and 2 years imprisonment if they destroy or falsify the Mint's records."

Last Word on the Perth Mint
The Perth Mint is not a dealer per se but an actual Mint. You can go there and be taken on a tour of the mint and see coins being manufactured. A fascinating activity.

The Perth Mint is geared more towards a consumer and to some degree, a collectors frame of mind than the serious bullion investor. Most of the products are not particularly suitable as investment vehicles due to the high premium the Perth Mint sets, except perhaps allocated bullion.

Never the less it can be a fun experience buying and collecting "theme" gold coins provided one is not worried about increasing the value of ones collections in the short term.

If you have bought any gold coins or gold bullion from the Perth Mint, please feel free to leave your feedback on the quality of service and products including any online complaints and special attention or service given by online.

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