The Mint has recently received a range of commentary in relation to rolled circulating coins that has found its way into the marketplace after being distributed to banks from the Royal Australian Mint.
This presents an excellent opportunity for us to provide some greater insight into how the Mint manages its two major streams of business activities: (1) The provision of circulating coins to banks through a supply chain solution and (2) the development, manufacture and distribution of commercial products for purchase by individuals and companies for the purpose of collection.
From what we are hearing and seeing, there’s a degree of confusion about the difference between rolled coins that are developed and sold through the commercial line – targeted primarily for coin collectors –and coin rolled into paper packaging that are sent to banks for the purpose of use in change.
Firstly, it is important to distinguish between an official Royal Australian Mint rolled coin collectible product (Official Rolls) and coins in rolls that are sourced through banks and cash management companies (Rejected Rolls)
Official Rolls are characterised by having a limited mintage in that format and are specifically created with the coin collector in mind. We know that this format is particularly popular and presents an excellent way to preserve coins in mint condition.
It is worth noting that the coins contained in the rolls are regular circulating coins – which may either be unlimited in mintage or have a very large mintage – however we do announce a mintage (a maximum volume that will be produced) for these coins to appear in Official Rolls. This is typically limited to 5,000 although from time to time there are exceptions.
There are some essential elements to Official Rolls that warrant identification. Firstly, they appear in Royal Australian Mint official rolling paper. We are aware of other companies rolling circulating coins and whilst this may be of appeal to the market, these should not be considered Royal Australian Mint Official Rolls.
Also, Official Rolls feature coins that at one end have a visible obverse (heads) and at the other end a visible reverse (tails). Many years ago we established a standard for this format, with the heads and tails combination essential so that for every Official Roll the reverse design is evident, as is the year date of striking.
So in summary, Official Rolls are purposely designed, manufactured and released by the Mint for the purpose of collection. They are mintaged (capped at a publicised maximum volume), they are wrapped in our official paper and they feature a heads and tails combination.
What you may not be aware of is the fact that we cannot program our coin rolling machinery to solely produce heads and tails combinations that are utilised for Official Rolls. Therefore when we produce and package to a full mintage of 5,000 there is another 5,000 (approximately) rolls that do not meet the head/tails requirement – they are either heads/heads or tails/tails.
These coins go back into the circulating coin inventory to be utilised in orders being shipped to banks at a future time. These are not considered error coins, but rather are reject products as they do not meet the product specification required for Official Rolls. Rather than destroy them, or go to the extra time and cost of having to unpack them, they may be sent to banks in this format. At times these shipments may also contain any Official Rolls that have not been purchased to mintage.
It is also worth noting that typically banks or their contracted cash management company would break the rolls down for either storage, repackaging or to go into floats for retailers. This is the reason that Rejected Rolls are not seen all that often, noting that certainly have been occasions in the past where rolled coins have surfaced through the circulating supply chain.
Recently we received some urgent orders for circulating coins, which led to some coins being distributed to the banks in rolled format (Rejected Rolls). We can safely assume that these coins were required quite urgently, as they have appeared in the market in their original paper wrapping rather than being re-packaged by a cash management company.
For future, to make it easier for collectors we are looking at ways to further differentiate our Official Rolls from the Rejected Rolls. This may include an extra identifying mark on the packaging, but this is yet to be determined.
We hope that this has gone some way to clarifying any misunderstandings regarding Royal Australian Mint Official Rolls and the recent appearance of Rejected Rolls in the marketplace.
Most importantly collectors can be absolutely confident that the published mintages of their Official Rolls has not been exceeded, nor undermined.