Meet coin designer Wade Robinson

Jun 13, 2024

Wade Robinson

Wade Robinson remembers clearly the first coin he designed at The Perth Mint.

“It was a year of the monkey coin for our Lunar series. I remember it because my first child was born in the Year of the Monkey and it seemed like an appropriate match,” Wade says.

“I wanted a coin for my son as a memento.” 

That was 20 years ago and when Wade joined the Mint the commercial building was brand new and the design team had “half the team and twice the space” in the design studio. 

“We were using pen and paper and inks and paints back then, so we needed more space to do the job,” he says.

“Our process has changed a lot. It was labour intensive then – working on paper and transferring designs to the dies rather than doing most of it digitally as we do now.” 

The design studio was a secluded space back then, walled off from the rest of the commercial floor, allowing the designers to play loud music on the boom box to keep the creative juices flowing without disrupting other employees. 

“It was a loud office. Music on all the time. Doors meant it could be closed off completely,” he says.

As design supervisor, Wade spends most of his time coordinating the team but also fits in a few design projects to keep his hand in.  

He says each member of the talented design team brings their own skills and areas of specialty which complement each other. 

Projects are allocated to designers based on their skills and interests, and decisions are sometimes made to include a plaster sculpting element for some special designs. 

“Coin design is a very specific skill. There are probably no more than a dozen specialist coin designers in Australia. We have a talented bunch at The Perth Mint who are all highly regarded in the coin design world.”

— Wade Robinson


Even though it holds fond memories for him, that year of the monkey coin doesn’t rank highly on Wade’s list of favourite designs. 

“It was a very challenging brief and I’m not that happy looking back at it,” he says.  

But there have been many designs over the years that he enjoyed working on and views much more favourably, including the Antarctic series, an Anzac anniversary coin, other military campaign coins and a classic cars series.