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The Perth Mint kicked off its Lunar Series with the 1996 Year of the Mouse, the first year in the repeating Chinese Lunar Calendar. This cycle of the Lunar Calendar concludes in 2007 with the Year of Pig.
The obverse of the 1996 Mouse coins carries the effigy of a young Queen Elizabeth, the third official likeness of the Queen during her reign. The same likeness graces the obverses of the 1997 Ox and the 1998 Tiger. However, in 1999 Australia adopted a mature image of the Queen, one that Buckingham Palace had released in late 1997.
The release of the new effigy resulted in the first three coins in the Lunar Series (the Mouse, the Ox, and the Tiger) carrying a young likeness of Queen Elizabeth, while the remaining nine coins carry a mature Queen Elizabeth.
As is the case with all the one-ounce gold coins in the Lunar Series, production of the one-ounce Gold Mouse coins will be limited to 30,000. Because the cap has been not reached, under the legislation that authorized the Lunar Series coins, The Perth Mint can produce the coins until the 30,000-coin limit is reached. This policy enables collectors to put together complete sets at prices close to the spot price of gold, even if they do not learn about the coins until years after the coins are introduced.
Because The Perth Mint is still producing the Year of the Mouse 1-oz gold coins, they are relatively cheap, for collector coins, selling a few dollars above popular one-ounce bullion gold coins.
People born in the Year of the Mouse are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and are likely to be perfectionists. They are thrifty but are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful. They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.
Besides 1996, other Mouse years include 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, and 1900.