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Perth Mint is mint!

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 6 June 2013 | Views [525]

Perth Mint

Perth Mint

Today is Chris's birthday!!!  Its been a bit hard to make it birthday like apart from opening some cards this morning but we're heading out to have a nice dinner tonight.

This morning we visited the Perth Mint.  It was set up in 1899 as a branch of the British Royal Mint to refine gold from the Western gold rush and create coins and gold bars.  They still make commemorative coins there.  There was a brief tour and then we watched a guy pour a gold bar from molten gold!  We also discovered our weight in gold - apparently Chris is more valuable than me at $2,933,144, though I was still worth $2,034,672 in gold!  They have a gold bar there in a box that you can put your hand in to try and lift it - at 12kg through a hole in a box it wasn't easy!  Apparently its worth about $580,000 at current gold prices, definitely the most expensive thing I've ever held in my hand!

As we were about to leave I decided that I would like to use the coin striking machine - you put a $2 coin in the machine and you could watch it mechanically stamp a brand new gold coin with a Perth Mint design.  It was fairly old school and seemed to be mechanically powered by a rotating wheel behind. I put the coin in and we both watched closely as it stamped the coin but then as the little sweeper came out to push it along and out of the exit shute, the coin hadn't popped back up out of the slot so nothing came out!  I explained to the guy that worked there that I appeared to have broken it but he said it had happened before and they just needed to turn it off and get it to restart/reset.  They tried this and the sweeper arm again came out but the coin didn't pop up.  The guy was querying if there was even a coin in there but I assured him there was - he then asked me to put another $2 coin in the machine.  I hesitated, something in the back of my head suggested maybe it wasn't a great idea but I followed orders!

IT WAS NOT A GREAT IDEA!!  The machine pushed another blank coin out on top of the first one and stamped down, it didn't come back up and a defeaning screeching sound started coming from the machine like pressure was building up and something was about to give!  We all (Chris, a couple of Mint employees and me) backed away quickly!!  Luckily the guy who had suggested it had the thought fairly quickly to hit the emergency stop button!  He then radioed 'an urgent page' for assistance and explained to us that 'I've sent for the guy who fixes my mistakes'!  They did pay me back the $4 that I put in the machine and after I asked they found me one that been made earlier so we ended up getting one for free and both got the giggles after we walked back out into the street!  I can see the headlines - British tourist ruins coin striking machine! (It doesn't take much to make the news here!)

Anyway, after that we headed to the coast for a bite to eat and on down to Margaret River where we're staying in a lovely little guesthouse that seems very peaceful.  Wine tasting tomorrow...

Tags: birthday, coin, gold, mint

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