Take the Aussie 1 cent coin and compare it to the 2 cent coin. Same metal (97% copper 2.5% zinc 0.5% tin) and the 2 cent coin weighed twice as much as a 1 cent coin (5.2 g vs 2.6 g).
Yet copper prices went up so the 1c and 2c coins were withdrawn from sale.
The ten cent coin has twice as much metal (75% copper 25% nickel) as a five cent coin (still being sold) and weighs twice as much.
Yep you guessed it! A 20c coin weighs the same as four 5c coins and two 10c coins!
Yet Devlin* and his colleagues then pulled a swifty on the Australian public.
First came the 50c coin. While it's the same metal as the other silver coins, rather than have it weigh five times a 10c coin and ten times a 5c coin, they undetook a marketing makeover trick.
They then sold less for more!
Yes, rather than having an infinite number of sides, they reduced the number of sides of the new 50c coin to just twelve!
And so instead of weighing 28.25 grams, the 50c coin sold for a premium, by weighing just 15.55 grams.
The unit price of the coin measured by METAL increased by 81.6 percent. The price per kg for the same metal we were buying in Australia went from $17.70 to $32.15.
Now that's marketing!
But it gets better...
The $1 coin then release looks like GOLD! From the silver coins having 25% nickel, the new improved GOLD coin had just 2 percent nickel. Maybe all the 1c and 2c pieces were melted by the mint and reissued as $1 coins, as the copper was now 92 percent to create that fools gold look.
So time to get out the marketing 101 manual once again.
The $2 coin was subsequently made SMALLER than the $1 coin! It was more convenient (more could fit in a purse) and you expended LESS energy carrying around a $2 coin than two $1 coins.
It's just that two $1 coins is worth about 70 percent more in metal than one $2 coin.
Brilliant. Oh, our Reserve Bank wants to get rid of 5c coins now. So expect more marketing brilliance in the future. That's what monopolies can get away with.
It takes a mint to make a mint!
BTW our Royal Australian Mint had said the metal value of our coins is commercial-in-confidence. Not any more!
The value of metals in the 50c coin was 15.53c, as of mid-November 2011 metal prices.
So the intrinsic value of the 5c piece was 2.83c, while the 10c piece was worth 5.65c. The 20c coin had 11.29c worth of metal in it.
As highlighted above, the $2 coin's constituent metals, valued at 4.82c, are worth less than that of the $1 coin (6.58c).
So has YOUR government got into the marketing as well as manufacturing money business? It's very lucrative!
Jonathan Crabtree P.S. Make sure your government's bank has a good ethics committee. Subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia are in the process of being 'busted' for using bribery as a way to win money making contracts for overseas customers.