Brief history of the ‘P’ mintmark

Feb 1, 2024

Many people are aware that a ‘P’ is our most famous mintmark. There have been others, but they are stories for another day.

The practice dates back to the nineteenth century. Branches of the Royal Mint in Sydney and Melbourne used the letters ‘S’ and ‘M’ respectively to distinguish their gold sovereigns from London-made coins.

So when the Perth branch opened in 1899, the sovereign dies supplied from Britain showed a small ‘P’ under Pistrucci’s famous St George and the Dragon reverse.

a Perth Mint sovereign with a notation to the 'P' mark

Between 1899 and 1931, more than 106 million sovereigns and 735,000 half sovereigns were made in Perth, differing from coins struck at other Empire mints only by the appearance of the letter ‘P’.

This custom was revived in 1986 when the initial Australian Gold Proof Nugget became the first modern Australian coin to bear our traditional mintmark.

To commemorate its centenary in 1999, the Mint introduced a ‘P100’ variation. Reviving memories of its prowess as a manufacturer of one of the world’s greatest coins, it appeared with splendid effect on that year’s bi-metal Centenary Sovereign featuring the famous Pistrucci reverse.


Today, the ‘P’ mintmark is proudly evident on all proprietary Perth Mint coins issued for investors and collectors. But the story is destined to continue.

This year, there is a new ‘P125’ variation signifying The Perth Mint’s 125th anniversary. One of the first coins it appeared on was our first release featuring the official Commonwealth effigy of His Majesty King Charles III.

Throughout 2024 it will appear on many more issues, adding further numismatic interest to what promises to be some of Australia’s most sought after commemorative and collectable releases.