Interview with Natasha Muhl, designer of the APMEXclusive 2014 1/2 oz Silver Australian Great White Shark

Natasha Muhl, designer at the Perth Mint We had the opportunity to chat with Natasha Muhl, the creative force behind the APMEXclusive 2014 1/2 oz Silver Australian Great White Shark. See below for some unique insights into her design process.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m from the Kimberley in the North West of Western Australia, so I spent a lot of time outdoors in nature growing up. This would probably be my biggest inspiration, especially when it comes to designing Australian fauna-themed coins. While doing my research for any new series, I tend to look at a range of photography and watch nature documentaries. This helps me to accurately recreate the animal. I also take inspiration from coin collecting catalogs and numismatic magazines, as it’s always great to see what other mints are up to and keep ideas fresh.

How do you start the design process?
The Perth Mint Sales and Marketing team meet fortnightly to discuss potential concepts for each coin program. Once the theme has been determined, the designers are given a detailed creative brief to follow. As part of the research process we often take part in field trips. With the Great White Shark bullion coin for example, I visited the Aquarium of Western Australia and dived with a range of sharks. It was wonderful to come face to face with these amazing creatures and it really helped steer my creative process.

What are some of your favorite coins?
There are so many to choose from, but I would have to say The Perth Mint’s Famous Ballets Silver proof coin set, with its subtle pad printing details, is one of my favorites. More recently I’m really enjoying the Gods of Olympus series which is struck in high relief to a rimless format – a first for the Mint! These mythological gods are quite dark and moody so it is an exciting concept for the design studio. They have also proven to be extremely popular with collectors which is always great.

How did you get into designing coins?

2014 1/2 oz Silver Australian Great White Shark

2014 1/2 oz Silver Australian Great White Shar

I studied at Central Institute of Technology [in Perth], graduating with an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design in 2009. Fellow Perth Mint designer, Tom Vaughan, was a previous classmate of mine and he kindly recommended me to the Mint when they were looking for a new illustrator. It’s always been my dream to become a designer, so I feel very fortunate to work for The Perth Mint as I get the chance to illustrate a broad range of themes for a variety of audiences.

Why a shark instead of another sea predator or animal?
The Great White Shark is probably the most feared and interesting predator in existence. Most people around the world have watched the movie Jaws and can imagine the terror of an encounter with this deadly creature. I think that’s what makes them so exciting and sought-after.

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America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

2013 5 oz Silver ATB Mount Rushmore National Park, SD

2013 5 oz Silver ATB Mount Rushmore National Park, SD

Big in size. Big in popularity. Big in collectibility.

In April 1832, the U.S. Congress carved out a federal reserve near Hot Springs, Arkansas. In April 2010, the U.S. Mint paid tribute to this site with Hot Springs National Park, the first 3-inch, .999 fine, 5 oz Silver coin in the mint’s history to launch a brand new series.

This was the start of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins series. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Mount Hood National Forest followed later that year. The U.S. Mint has released five America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins each year since 2010. They’re one of the mint’s most talked about bullion products.

The series honors five national parks and historic sites every year. The program is expected to run through 2021 with a total of 56 coins honoring national parks and historic sites. By the time the series is complete, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories will be represented.

Big, beautiful, 5 oz Silver editions of the popular quarters.

America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins have a nominal face value of 25 cents. The designs are exact duplicates of the popular America the Beautiful quarters that are now in general circulation. Check your pockets or purse and there’s a good chance you’ll find some of these quarters.

But these giant 3 inch, 5 oz coins show design details in ways that no pocket quarter ever can. Also, the coins’ .999 fine Silver composition gives them a lustrous sheen.

For more serious collectors, APMEX has very rare, First Strike and proof America the Beautiful coins — some graded perfect SP-70 by PCGS.

A large selection for investors and collectors.

Though the U.S. Mint issues these coins as bullion, they have become very popular amongst collectors. In the first year of the series, which includes the popular Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks, only 33,000 coins of each design were minted. These have become rare collectibles.

There is a total mintage of only 200,000 coins, spread across all designs for the given year. So these big, beautiful coins are scarce enough to potentially become valuable with collectors.

If you have a collection that you wish to complete, click here to see the huge APMEX selection of America the Beautiful (ATB) coins. One of the largest anywhere, it’s where you’re most likely to find the coin you’re looking for.

 

 

 

 

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Learn more about the Sheldon Grading Scale

2014 1 oz Gold American Eagle MS-70 NGC Early Releases

2014 1 oz Gold American Eagle MS-70 NGC Early Releases

Why graded coins are so prized and valued by collectors

Here’s a collector’s horror story that never has to happen to you.

You fall in love with a coin that appears to be in absolutely perfect condition. Not a scratch or smudge – you’d never know anyone touched it since it left the mint. You pay top dollar. Then to your surprise, an expert looks at it and spots a barely discernible nick near the rim on the coin’s obverse. It’s a great coin, but it’s not worth what you paid for it.

That’s exactly the nightmare Dr. William Herbert Sheldon set out to eliminate when he created the Sheldon Grading Scale in 1949.

A standardized system to evaluate a coin’s condition

The Sheldon Grading Scale gives expert coin appraisers a system of standardized attributes to evaluate a coin’s condition. The expert appraisers inspect the coins and grade them on a scale of 1 – 70.

A grade of 1 means the coin may be clear enough to identify, but it may be badly corroded or so worn that a side of the coin is blanked. On the other end of the scale, 70 means uncirculated perfection – no trace of wear, handling, scratches or contact with other coins. All the mint’s original luster is intact.

No circulated coin receives a grade higher than 58. At that grade, just about all of the coin’s original mint luster remains. Uncirculated coins receive grades from 11 – 70.

Who makes the grade?

The Sheldon Grading Scale is not for amateurs. The people who grade coins and assign these values have to be extremely well trained and experienced. That’s why most coins are graded by professional grading services.

There are dozens of grading services, but two of the most popular and highly respected are the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

Coins graded by these services are highly valued for three reasons.

First, the people who grade coins for NGC and PCGS are unimpeachable experts. Their judgment is highly respected throughout the industry.

Second, after the coins are graded, they are sealed in airtight protective slabs, which help prevent tarnishing. They also provide a strong tamper-evident layer, so coins coin can’t be damaged in handling without a collector knowing about it.

Third, they label the coins with grades and findings. When you see a coin in a plastic slab labeled MS-70, you know it is an absolutely perfect coin. If it has an NGC Early Releases or PCGS First Strike designation, you know it arrived at the grading service within 30 days of the coin’s release by the mint.

Needless to say, graded coins are highly prized and valued.

 A treasure trove of collectibles

APMEX has a huge selection of graded coins, from uncirculated Silver Dollars that are more than 100 years old to the latest bullion coins receiving First Strike and Early Releases designations. Click here to see some of our more popular Graded Gold Coins and Graded Silver Coins.

 

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Don’t Wait — Get Free Shipping On 2014 Eagles – Offer Ends 12/31!

Free Shipping on 2014 Silver & Gold Eagles

*Special Promotion: Enjoy Free Shipping when your order includes five or more 2014 Silver American Eagles (Raw or Certified) or Any Quantity of 2014 Gold American Eagles (Raw or Certified). Offer ends 12/31/2013 at Midnight ET. Applies to US Domestic Shipping Only.

Sunshine Silver Bar Special Until Thursday 11/7 Midnight (ET)

silverbars

Any quantity only $1.19 per bar over spot!
This 1 oz Silver bar from Sunshine Minting boasts a brand new security feature, MintMark SI™, to help you authenticate the origin and .999 purity of your Silver bar. This new feature is on the reverse of the bar among a repeating pattern of rising suns.

When viewed through Sunshine Minting’s special decoder lens at one angle, the central design shows the word “Valid,” but when you turn the decoder lens 90 degrees, a sunburst appears. These two different views further verify your 1 oz Silver bar. Authenticate your new Sunshine Minting Silver bars with the Sunshine Mint Decoder Lens!

The obverse of this Silver bar bears the Sunshine Minting eagle with the sun and rays in the background. Listed on the obverse are the weight and purity.