Some of the most popular gold bullion coins are Australian kangaroo coins. Australian kangaroo gold coins are pure gold, in other words 99.99% fine gold bullion. They are officially legal tender in Australia, though not at their face value but rather at the current gold market value for their weight in gold. The main denominations available are 1/20 troy oz, 1/10 troy oz, 1/4 troy oz, 1/2 troy oz, and 1 troy oz, though larger investment denominations are also available. Unlike other non-proof gold bullion coin series, every kangaroo leaves the mint in a durable plastic hard case.
First minted in 1986 and launched in 1987, the coin series' name is actually the Australian nugget. From 1986 to 1988 the coins displayed images of gold nuggets, but outside of Australia these images were not easily identifiable as "nuggets". The round object in the picture could have been a simple stone or lump of coal, or a piece of excrement for all we knew. Realizing this, Australia's Gold Corporation changed the image to that of a kangaroo from 1989 onwards, giving the Australian gold nuggets their common nickname "gold kangaroo" coins.
The golden kangaroo coin features kangaroo pictures that change every year. In this regard they are similar to Chinese Panda gold coins which feature yearly rotating designs. On the reverse side is a protrait of Queen Elizabeth. The kangaroo is unique in its design because itutilizes a 2 tone frosted effect, with a lighter "white gold" as the base color, with darker gold color frosted over top.
One innovation of the Australian gold kangaroo series is its availability of larger sized denominations, specifically 2-ounce coins, 10-ounce coins, and 32.15-ounce coins. 32.15 ounces is 1 kilogram! These are produced in order to limit the premium charges for buyersof large amounts of gold. All gold bullion coins are sold at a premium over the cost of their weight in gold, to cover production costs, and the smaller the denomination the proportionally larger the premium.
The Australian kangaroo gold coin is not the only coin series produced by the Gold Corporation's Perth Mint, but because of the series' limited minting it is considered to have slightly more numismatic value above its gold content than other gold bullion coins do. Plus the kangaroo is such aubiquitous symbol of Australia that collectors around the globe feel that they truly own a piece of Australia when they buy a gold kangaroo.
Kangaroos are also produced in silver and platinum versions.