Australian Lunar collector coins have been sought after around the world ever since the series began with the 1996 Year of the Mouse (Rat) release. With the 2007-dated Year of the Pig coins, all 12 animals associated with the ancient lunar calendar are now represented in 99.99% pure gold, bringing this first sequence of proof designs to a fitting culmination.
Not all coins increase in value as time passes, but many do. Australia's Dragon and Horse 1 oz. gold coins already are selling at premiums, as are the 1 oz. silver coins issued in the first 4 years of that series (1999-2002).
Legend has it that the 12 lunar-zodiac animals were selected by the Jade Emperor. He conducted a race of all the animals, and named years in the order that they finished. During the race across the countryside, the rat hitched a ride on the back of the slow but persistent ox. When the ox was a few feet from the finish line, the rat jumped off and raced ahead to claim the victory and the right to represent the first lunar-zodiac year. The rat also fooled the cat into believing that the race was to be held a day later, so the cat missed the race entirely. As a consequence of this trickery, the cat still chases the rat!