The Royal Australian Mint has released a “once-in-a-lifetime” set of coins showing the change of monarch as King Charles III steps back from public duty due to illness.
The ballot has now closed for the 2024 six-coin uncirculated year set, and collectors have been notified via email whether they were lucky enough to get their hands on the coins.
The set commemorates the succession of King Charles following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Coins commemorating significant milestones during the Queen’s 70-year reign soared in value when she died in 2022, as can be true in many aspects of collecting.
Despite the King undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer, it’s unlikely he’ll be handing over his crown anytime soon. But that’s not stopped royal commentators speculating about his abdication, and it’s also caused movement in the coin-collecting world, with a roll of $1 coins with the King's effigy selling for $150.
“It’s a bit morbid but collectors are pre-emptively jumping the gun and we’re already seeing a bit of a pump on those $1 coins [bearing his effigy],” coin expert Matt Thompson told Yahoo Finance.
Do you have a story to tell? Contact email@example.com
In terms of collecting, the length of time a monarch sat on the throne and how rare a coin is can impact its value. But what does this mean for the $40 set of uncirculated coins the mint has released?
“A short term would absolutely have a significant impact on the desirability of Charles’ coins as it would represent a very manageable complete set,” Thompson said.
“We haven’t seen a particularly short reign since Edward VIII in 1936. He was only on the throne for 11 months.”
How can I get the new King Charles coin set?
The “highly prized” set isn't available through the mint’s coin shop, which is currently being renovated. Instead, collectors had to enter a ballot, phone the contact centre, which is notoriously difficult or from authorised dealers, which many complain jack up the prices around release time.
The ballot is run by e-commerce platform EQL and there is a way to increase your chances of winning. EQL told Yahoo Finance that if you missed out on a previous ballot with the same retailer - so, if you weren’t successful in your bid on the last 14-coin $2 set - you were more likely to win because your “EQLizer score does go up”.
This essentially increases the chance of someone who hasn’t won getting a shot and promoting fairness in the competitions.
But, remember, this isn't a sure-fire way to win. There could’ve been thousands of others who missed out.
“The reality is, if it's a high heat drop and there are hundreds of thousands of others in the same position as you, then it's not guaranteed,” a spokesperson said.
But if we look at the first round the Mint used EQL, there were 23,000 entrants for 6,000 coin sets, according to numbers provided to Yahoo Finance by the mint. That’s far better odds for a lottery than last week’s Powerball which, based on one standard game, is one in 134,490,400. You’re more likely to be killed in an asteroid impact, struck by lightning, or bitten by a shark.
Registration for the ballot opened at 8.30am on Wednesday and closed at 8.30am Thursday. The draw took place immediately after. If you win, payment is processed and the set is mailed out within 7 to 14 business days.
Remember, you need to register and there’s a multi-step security verification process to “confirm you are human and slow down bots”, which previously caused issues for the mint’s website.
Warning: ‘Heat’ in market could be short-lived
Coins of the Queen in circulation, like the $2 coronation anniversary coin released in 2013, jumped in value - from $50 to $125 - following her death, and uncirculated pieces can fetch between $150 and $200.
This set only features one uncirculated coin of the King and movement in the market now could be blamed on “speculators” trying to be strategic. Thompson said that was particularly true for those more interested in making a quick buck than cultivating a collection, and that caused a “great deal more unpredictability in the market”.
“People always want to feel like they’re on the right side and, if this Charles coin ends up increasing significantly in value, they will tell everyone they are a genius and that they knew it from the start,” Thompson told Yahoo Finance. “But if nothing happens, they will quietly exit, stage right.”
He warned against getting caught up in the hype, which could result in people paying too much for a coin that may not be worth very much in the long run.
“I'd probably manage expectations if I were paying the inflated prices because, you know, the Royal Australian Mint do pretty regular releases,” he said. “There's going to be all the products that come out and sort of take a bit of the heat out of these coins.
“We’ve never had such a multi-generational marketplace where there’s everything from primary school students, to old seasoned collectors all trying to get their hands on the same coins.”