2009 Kangaroo at Sunset Gold Coin

November 27, 2008

Australia $25 Kangaroo At Sunset

The 2009 $25 Kangaroo at Sunset is the third in the Kangaroo at Sunset coin series released by the Royal Australian Mint (RAM). The 2007, 2008 and 2009 coins all had a 1000 coin mintage. The first two years' coins were sold in the usual manner, through the RAM's website, by phone, and mail order. They sold out in just a day or two and the prices for both have been very strong. The 2007 coin is now selling for upwards of AU$2000 (issue price around $350) and the 2008 coin is selling for AU$700+. These prices have shown a very healthy return on investment for those lucky enough to get one.

In an effort to be more 'democratic' the RAM decided to issue the 2009 coin via a ballot system. People on the RAM's mailing list had an opportunity to submit a ballot entry to purchase one of the 1000 coins. The conditions on the ballot were fairly strict in terms of date of submission and the manner in which the ballot should be filled in. Since the ballot itself closed (on 11 November 2008) the whole process has slipped into what can only be called farce.

Firstly, despite pledging to contact winners of the ballot by the 21st of November no-one at the RAM actually seems to have contacted anyone. The only indication that someone had won a coin in the ballot was a mysterious $395 charge on their credit card. So in spite of their strict terms and conditions on the ballot the RAM didn't seem to mind breaking the rules at their end.

Secondly, some of the 2009 Kangaroo at Sunset coins started appearing on Ebay BEFORE any collector had received a coin. What's more, the same sellers seemed to have more than one coin with consecutive serial numbers despite the ballot stating clearly that you could only purchase one coin. It became apparent that these ebay sellers were actually registered RAM dealers and had got their coins before the average collector had got theirs. What's more the first of these coins fetched very strong prices, over AU$1500 for a coin with a release price of $395. It has now become clear that dealers were allocated coins separately to normal collectors. Following is an exerpt for a RAM letter:

In the case of the 2009 Kangaroo at Sunset coin a small proportion of the total mintage of 1000 was allocated to dealers for pre-purchase through a separate ballot process. Where dealers did not take up their allocation the remaining coins were returned to the retail customers' ballot allocation.

So it turns out that dealers were allocated their coins before normal collectors and in the end collectors DID NOT have access to the full mintage of 1000 coins. What's even worse is that the dealers had access to the coins BEFORE collectors and had the opportunity to get the best prices on ebay. The whole thing seems fairly badly run and perhaps deliberately (or by accident) some information has been concealed from the run of the mill collector. I support the notion of the ballot process but I think the process needs some fine tuning, the RAM needs to stick to their own terms and conditions, and dealers MUST be in the same ballot with the rest of us. These coins are not commodity products like mint or proof sets and (I dont believe) that dealers should be given first bite at them.

Posted by mnemtsas at November 27, 2008 7:28 PM
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