NUMISMATISTS can add Hong Kong's first gold coin to their collections next month - provided they are lucky enough to get one. The Government has commissioned only 20,000 pieces from the Royal Mint, so there will be the inevitable Hong Kong rush for something valuable, at $2,888 each. The gold coin commemorates the introduction this year of the bauhinia flower to grace the territory's coinage. But it is also a gold version of the new $10 coin, which goes into general circulation early in the year. Two thousand of the gold coins will be placed on the international market for overseas collectors. Currency manager of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Jimmy Ho Shek-lau said the coin that replaces the $10 note is the first of the mixed metal design popular in some other countries. But the special gold version's outer ring is cast in a blend of high-quality gold and silver, with the centre section in solid 22-carat gold. Proceeds from the sale of the coins, which will raise a total of $57.76 million, will be used to support selected community projects. Each coin is in a protective plastic case and comes with a numbered certificate to guarantee authenticity. With demand for the historic issue expected to be heavy, prospective buyers are restricted to a single purchase, and then only by application. Forms will be available between January 3 and 8 from District Offices and Hongkong Bank branches are Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, North Point, Mongkok, Wayfoong House, Paterson Street, Des Voeux Road West, Kwun Tong, the China Building and the Queen's Road headquarters. Completed applications have to be returned to one of these banks before 12.30 pm on January 8. A ballot will be held if the 20,000 coins are over-subscribed. They will be available from January 31 and must be collected in person.