The world’s largest gold coin, on its first visit outside Australia, was unveiled on Thursday at the Hang Seng Bank headquarters in Central as part of a showcase tour for the historic Perth Mint.
The enormous coin weighs 1,012 kilograms and is made from 99.99 per cent pure gold. It is 31 inches wide, more than 4.7 inches thick, and took some 18 months to manufacture.
The coin carries the image of Queen Elizabeth II, the head of state, on one side and a leaping kangaroo on the other.
The 2012 Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin is worth HK$305 million, far more than the AU$1 million (HK$6.9 million) legal tender.
Since the coin was released, its worth has dropped to HK$305 million from HK$431.66 million, as the value of gold has tumbled.
Unveiling the golden disc, Andrew Fung Hau-chung, head of global banking and markets at Hang Seng Bank, said it was with luck that Perth Mint, a long-term customer of the bank, chose Hong Kong as a “strategically important” first visit.
“We distribute Perth Mint’s gold coins, and is very popular in Hong Kong and with Chinese everywhere…it demonstrates Chinese as a whole like to accumulate gold and gold bars.”
Despite the Chinese people’s huge appetite for gold, the huge coin will not be put on public display. Only ‘selected’ retail and commercial customers at Hang Seng Bank will be invited to view the coin at the bank’s headquarters. It will be on show there until January 11 before it heads to Berlin, Germany, for a world exhibition.
On its release two years ago, Perth Mint chief executive Ed Harbuz said it was “the pinnacle of ingenuity and innovation”.
“To cast and handcraft a coin of this size and weight was an incredible challenge - one which few other mints would even consider,” said Harbuz, at the time.
Fung said a number of considerations, from a lack of space to host an exhibition to a range of security and safety concerns, ultimately prevented a full public display.
The SCMP's Danny Lee shows us what this giant coin looks like.