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Demand for rare $5 coin overwhelms mint as value jumps to $600

One woman phoned more than 1,000 times over six hours to snag her "piece of history".

Composite image of World Heritage $5 coin, with a load of coins in a tray in the background, and an inset of a phone call log screenshot.
The World Heritage $5 coin was limited to one per person. (Source: Getty/Royal Australian Mint/supplied) (Royal Australian Mint/Getty/supplied)

Punters have vented their frustration after waiting hours on hold and calling through hundreds of times while trying to score a rare $5 coin that’s now being flogged on eBay for up to $600.

The Royal Australian Mint had already put a one-per-person purchase limit on the Australian World Heritage coin ahead of it going on sale on Thursday, but avid collectors still struggled to get their hands on the “extraordinary piece of history”.

The coin wasn’t available on the Mint’s online store. Instead, people who couldn’t make it to the ACT site needed to call through to buy one or risk trying their luck at the post office.

But the phone line was inundated and many were left disappointed after calling for hours.

“After trying since 8.30am, and 1,321 calls, I got through, was on hold for 42 mins, and got one,” a woman told Yahoo Finance about their six-hour effort.

“I’ve made well over 700 calls and it keeps saying caller busy or call failed. I only wanna buy one for my nana who collects coins,” another wrote to the Mint.

You might think it’s an exaggeration, but people had receipts, sharing pictures of their phone call log.

Screen shot of a phone call log showing Royal Australian Mint was called 1,000 times in attempt to secure $5 coin.
One collector rang the Royal Australian Mint more than 1,000 times to secure the $5 coin. (Source: supplied)

Several said their line had been disconnected multiple times while trying to get through and many more simply gave up.

“Sometimes it will ring two or three times, then disconnect. I think we are up to about 1500+ tries with three disconnections,” a collector told Yahoo Finance.

The frosted uncirculated coin was retailing for $30 but had already appeared on eBay for up to $600.

There were dozens of listings at the time of publication. The majority were priced around $250, which was a tidy 24-hour profit from a $30 spend.

What’s special about the $5 coin?

The coin features all 20 of Australia's World Heritage locations.

The design, by Tony Dean, includes the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park, Willandra Lakes Region, the Sydney Opera House, K’gari and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

These images frame a full-colour, central image of a handprint, fan palm frond and a shell fossil to represent the natural and built icons and Australia’s Indigenous heritage.

The coin is considered legal tender but is not intended for general circulation.

The design is unique, but this is not the first time demand for “rare” uncirculated coins has crashed the Mint’s operation.

Last year, the website and phone line went down for the release of the 10th anniversary edition of the 2012 red poppy $2 coin.

The Royal Mint told Yahoo Finance the September coin release - which also included the Christmas Decoration Festive Florals coloured 50c coin - made for an “incredibly busy day” with a “huge demand and wait time on all platforms”.

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