Bullion coin

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A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment rather than used in day-to-day commerce.[1] A bullion coin is distinguished by an explicit statement of weight (or mass) and fineness on the coin; this is because the weight and composition of coins intended for legal tender is specified in the coinage laws of the issuing nation, and therefore there is no need for an explicit statement on the coins themselves. The United Kingdom defines investment coins more specifically as coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are, or have been, legal tender in their country of origin.[2] Under United States law, "coins" that fail the last of these requirements are not coins at all,[3] and must be advertised as "rounds" instead. The American Eagle and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series are the only coins available in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.[4][5]

Bullion coins are typically available in various weights. These are usually multiples or fractions of 1 troy ounce, but some bullion coins are produced in very limited quantities in kilograms or heavier.[6]

Bullion coins sell for a premium over the market price of the metal on the commodities exchanges.[7] Reasons include their comparative small size and the costs associated with manufacture, storage and distribution. The amount of the premium varies depending on the coin's type and weight and the precious metal. The premium also is affected by prevailing demand.

The ISO currency code for gold bullion is XAU. ISO 4217 includes codes not only for currencies, but also for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and platinum, by definition expressed per one troy ounce, as compared to "1 USD") and certain other entities used in international finance, e.g. special drawing rights.

Gold[edit]

Reverse of a 2018 Israeli Jeruselem Gold
Reverse of a 2013 American Buffalo
Reverse of a 2013 Russian George the Victorious

The largest demand for gold in the world is jewelry, which consumes 50% of world production. Industry uses 9%, coins use 10% and the rest is for investments.[8] Starting in 1821, with Britain moving to the gold standard, countries monetary unit became associated with the value of circulating gold or stored gold bullion, but not both. During this time, gold coins were circulated for general use. During the early years of the Great Depression, nations dropped the gold standard and most gold coins were no longer minted. The South African Kruggerand became the first modern coin minted in 1967 to help market South African gold produced by Rand Refinery and the South African Mint.[9] By 1980, the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin production.[10]

Country Name of bullion coin Fineness weights options
in troy ounces (ozt)
1ozt Mintage
(2018)
Years Minted
Australia Gold Nugget .9999 120, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1
2, 10, 1 kg
188,921[11] 1986–present
1991–present
Austria Vienna Philharmonic .9999 125, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1 355,436[12]
(2017)
1989–present
Canada Maple Leaf .9999 120, ​115, ​110, ​15, ​14, ​12, 1, 100 kg 1979–present
China Gold Panda .999 (since 2016) 1g, 3g, 5g, 8g, 15g,
30g, 50g, 100g, 150g
700,000[13] 1982–present
Iran Emami .900 2g, 4g, 8.13g 1980–present
Israel Jerusalem of Gold Series .9999 1 3,600[14] 2010–present
Kazakhstan Golden Irbis .9999 110, ​14, ​12, 1 2009–2016
Malaysia Kijang Emas .9999 14, ​12, 1 2001–present
Malta Melita[15] .999 14, ​12, 1 2018–present
Mexico Libertad .999 120, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1 1991–present
Libertad .900 14, ​12, 1 1981–90
New Zealand Kiwi .9999 110, ​14, ​12, 1 500[16] 1990–present[16]
Poland Orzeł bielik .9999 110, ​14, ​12, 1 1,000
(2015)
1995–2015[17]
except for
2001, 2003 and 2005
Russia George the Victorious .999 7.89g 150,000[18] 2006–present
Somalia Elephant .999 150, ​125, 1, 5 1999–present
South Africa Krugerrand .9167 120, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1 1967–present
Ukraine Archangel Michael .9999 110, ​14, ​12, 1 1,500[19] 1999–2018[20]
United Kingdom Sovereign .9167 0.2354 1887–1932
1949–52 (dated 1925)
1957–59
1962–68
1974, 1976, 1978–82
2000–present
Britannia .9167 110, ​14, ​12, 1 1987–2012
Britannia .9999 110, ​14, ​12, 1 2013–present
United States Gold Eagle .9167 110, ​14, ​12, 1 191,000[21] 1986–present
American Buffalo .9999 1 121,000[21] 2006–present

Palladium[edit]

Obverse of a 2017 American Palladium Eagle

Palladium is a silvery-white metal. Its primary uses are for catalytic converters, jewelry, electronics, professional flutes and fuel cells. The highest price for an ounce of palladium was $1,600 in 2019.[22]

Country Name of bullion coin Fineness weights options
in troy ounces (ozt)
Years Minted
Australia Emu .9995 1 ozt 1995–1998
Canada Palladium Maple Leaf .9995 1 ozt 2005–2010
China Panda .999 .5 ozt 1989, 2004, 2005
Portugal Columbus .9995 1 ozt 1987–2000
Russia Ballerina .9995 1 ozt 1989–1995
United States Palladium Eagle .9995 1 ozt 2017–present

Platinum[edit]

Reverse of a 2001 American Platinum Eagle proof.

Platinum is a silverish-white with its name is derived from the Spanish term platino, meaning "little silver". Platinum is used in catalytic converters, electronics and jewelry. The first and only case when platinum coins were used as a regular national currency was in Russia. The coins were minted between 1828 and 1845. Russia stopped minting platinum coins as it proved to be impractical: platinum resembles many less expensive metals, and, unlike the more malleable and ductile silver and gold, it is very difficult to work. From 1975 to 1985, the Isle of Man sold commemorative coins with various designs such as a gyrfalcon, herring, Manx cat, and of the Manx Loaghtan sheep. The American Platinum Eagle comes in two versions. The bullion version is a static design while the proof versions are the only U.S. bullion coins that change designs every year. The highest price for platinum was $2250 an ounce in 2008.[23]

Country Name of bullion coin Fineness weights options
in troy ounces (ozt)
1oz Mintage Years Minted
Australia Platinum Koala .9995 120, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1 2,048
(2008)
1988–2008
Platinum Platypus .9995 1 2,994[11]
(2017)
2011–2017
Platinum Kangaroo .9995 1 5,251[11]
(2018)
2018-present
Austria Vienna Philharmonic .9995 125, 1 15,354[24]
(2017)
2016–present
Canada Platinum Maple Leaf .9995 120, ​115, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1 1988–99, 2002, 2009
Isle of Man Noble .9995 120, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1 1983–1989, 2016
United Kingdom Britannia .9995 110, 1 2018–present
United States Platinum Eagle .9995 110, ​14, ​12, 1 30,000[25]
(2018)
1997–present

Rhodium[edit]

Rhodium is a rare silver-white metallic element. Its primary use is in catalytic converters found in automobiles. The highest price for Rhodium was in 2008 when it rose above $10,000 per ounce ($350,000 per kilogram). The first and only coin produced is Tuvalu's South Sea Dragon. There have been two bars produced by Pamp and Baird & Co.[26]

Country Name of bullion coin Fineness Weight Mintage Mint Years Minted
Tuvalu South Sea Dragon .999 1 ozt 1,000[27] Baird & Co 2018

Silver[edit]

Obverse of a 2004 American Silver Eagle
Reverse of an Armenian Noah's Ark silver coin
Obverse of a Russian Saint George the Victorious silver coin

The first modern silver bullion coin was the Mexican Onza. It was minted in 1949 and struck intermittently with that date until the 1978, 1979 and 1980 mintages. Mexico created a new coin, the Libertad, in 1982. It was not released until 1984 due to a financial crisis in Mexico.The value of the coin is listed as 1 Onza.[28] The Libertad and South Korea's ZI:SIN are technically not bullion coins as they are not legal tender. In 1986, the American Eagle became the second bullion coin to be minted. It was authorized by the Title II of Public Law 99-61 (Liberty Coin Act) as a way to reduce America's stockpiled silver and to pay for the federal budget. In its first year, 5.8 million Silver Eagle coins were minted. The most minted in one year occurred in 2015, with 47.9 million coins.[29] Countries that did not have their own mints, turned to private mints. Majority of these coins are done for Pacific or Caribbean island nations and are used to bring income into their treasury. Examples are Congo's silverback gorilla coin minted by Scottsdale Mint[30] and Niue's hawksbill turtle minted by New Zealand Mint.[31]

The design of the obverse (heads) side of the coins rarely change. Many coin's reverse (tails) side does change from year to year but retains the same overall theme. For example, the Chinese Panda always includes pandas on the reverse side but has different portraits of pandas every year. The reverse side of Australian's Kookaburra and Koala, Congo's Gorilla, Isle of Man's Angels and Cats, New Zealand's Kiwi, Rwanda's Wildlife, Serbia's Tesla and Somalia's Elephant change every year.

Annual silver bullion coin releases
Country Name of bullion coin Fineness weights options
in troy ounces (ozt)
1ozt Mintage
(2018)
Years Minted
Armenia Noah's Ark .999 14, ​12, 1, 5, 10, 1kg, 5kg 479,551[32]
(2017)
2011–present
Australia Kangaroo .9999 1 10,000 1993–present
Koala .999 1, 1kg 166,434[11] 2007–present
Kookaburra .9999 1, 10, 1kg 243,740[11] 1990–present
Dragon .9999 1 500,000 [11] 2018-present[33]
Austria Vienna Philharmonic .999 1 2,064,804[34]
(2017)
2008–present
Canada Maple Leaf .9999 12, 1 1988–present
China Silver Panda Varies Varies 10,000,000[35] 1989–present[36]
(pre-1989 are medallions)
Congo (Republic) Silverback Gorilla .999 1 75,000[37] 2015–present
Cook Islands HMS Bounty .9999 1 2009–present
Isle of Man Angels .999 1 15,000[38] 1995–present
Domestic cats .999 1 10,000[39] 1998–present
Noble .999 1 30,000[40] 1983–present
Mexico Libertad .999 120, ​110, ​14, ​12, 1, 2, 5, 1kg 300,000 [41] 1982–present
New Zealand Kiwi .999 1, 5 10,000[16] 1990–present[16]
Niue/Fiji Taku (Hawksbill Turtle) .999 1 350,000[42] 2010–present
Russia Saint George the Victorious .999 1 250,000[43] 2009–present
Rwanda African Wildlife .999 1 2008–present
Serbia Nikola Tesla .999 1 50,000[44] 2018–present
Somalia Elephant .9999 14, ​12, 1, 2, 1kg 1999–present
South Africa Krugerrand .999 1 1,000,000[45]
(2017)
2017–present
South Korea Chiwoo Cheonwang .999 12, 1, 2, 10 35,000[46] 2016–present
Ukraine Archangel Michael .9999 1 40,000[19] 2011–present
United Kingdom Britannia .958 110, ​14, ​12, 1 N/A 1997–2012
Britannia .999 1 2013–present
United States Silver Eagle .999 1 15,700,000[21] 1986–present
Reverse of a 2010 "America the Beautiful" coin

Silver bullion coins also come in limited series that usually contain two to twelve coins. Examples are animals from Chinese Lunar New Year or the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Examples of some limited series silver bullion coins
Country Name of bullion coin Mint weights options
in troy ounces (ozt)
1ozt Mintage Years Minted # of coins
Australia Lunar series Perth Mint 12, 1, 2, 5, 10, 10kg 300,000[11] 2008–2019 12
Barbados Trident Scottsdale Mint 1 30,000[47] 2017–2020 4
Canada Wildlife series Royal Canadian Mint 1 1,000,000[48] 2011–2013 6
South Korea ZI:SIN (Twelve Gaurdians) KOMSCO 1 10,000-40,000[49] 2017–2028 12
Tokelau Sea creatures Highland Mint 1, 2, 5, 10, 1kg 2014–2025 12
United Kingdom The Queen's Beasts Royal Mint 1, 2, 5, 10, 1kg 2017–2021 12
United States America the Beautiful United States Mint 5 20,000-126,700[21] 2010–2021 56

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Investing in Bullion and Bullion Coins". Consumer Information - US FTC. U.S. Federal Trade Commission. May 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  2. ^ "VAT Notice 701/21A: investment gold coins". Gov.UK HMRC pages. HMRC. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  3. ^ Bouvier's Law Dictionary (Revised 6th ed.). 1856. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  4. ^ "American Eagle Bullion Coins for Investors". United States Mint. United States Mint. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  5. ^ "BULLION PRODUCTS". Royal Canadian Mint Website. Royal Canadian Mint. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Lucius Precious Metals | Buy Gold, Silver, Bullion & Coins". www.lpm.hk. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  7. ^ "Buy Physical Gold Bullion, Gold Coins & Gold Bars | LPM". www.lpm.hk. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  8. ^ "Gold Pie Charts". Business Insider. July 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Products". Rand Refinery. Retrieved 19 April 2019. produced by Rand Refinery and the SA Mint
  10. ^ Tom Bethell (4 February 1980). "Crazy as a Gold Bug". 13 (5). New York Media. p. 34.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Investment Bullion Bars and Coins Mntages". Perth Mint. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  12. ^ "1 ounce fine gold". Austrian Mint. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  13. ^ "China Debuts Extensive Range Panda Bullion". AgAuNews. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  14. ^ "The Cardo" Israel Bullion Coin 2018 - 1oz Gold". Israel Mint. 5 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Melita bullion coins 2018". Central Bank of Malta. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d "New Zealand Kiwi Series adds a five ounce Variant". AgAuNews. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Au and Ag". Polish Mint. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Saint George the Victorious". Central Bank of the Russian Federation. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Bullion Coins". National Bank of Ukraine. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Ukrainian Gold | LPM". www.lpm.hk. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  21. ^ a b c d "US Mint". SD Bullion. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Palladium Price". APMEX. 30 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Platinum Price of Today & History". Gold Republic. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Vienna Philharmonic". Austrian Mint. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Bullion Sales Figures". US Mint. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Rhodium". Midas Gold Group. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  27. ^ "1oz Rhodium Tavalu South Sea Dragon". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Mexico issues first modern silver bullion coin". CoinWorld. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Silver Eagle Mintage". Silver Eagle Guide. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Congo Silverback gorilla series". APMEX. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Niue Silver Coin - Hawksbill Turtle". New Zealand Mint. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Noah's Ark Silver Bullion Coin". Geiger Edelmetalle. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  33. ^ "Dragon 2018 1oz Silver Proof Rectangular Coin". Perth Mint. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Vienna Philharmonic". Austrian Mint. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  35. ^ "China Debuts Extensive Range Panda Bullion Commemoratve coins". AgAuNews. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  36. ^ "Chinese Panda Silver Series". Bullion Data. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  37. ^ "2015-2019 Congo Silverback gorilla by Scotsdale Mint". AgAuNews. 4 June 2019.
  38. ^ "1 oz Angel Isle of Man Silver Proof Coin". Coin Invest. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  39. ^ "Pojoy mints Isle Man Cat Series Hits 28 Years old". AgAuNews. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  40. ^ "2018 Isle of Man Silver Noble". APMEX. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  41. ^ "Libertad Coin Seres 2019 Programs Surprises May Have Only Begun". CoinUpdate. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  42. ^ "2018 New Zealand Silver Niue Hawksbill Turtle". JM Bullion. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  43. ^ "St. George the Victorious". AgAuNews. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  44. ^ "Serbia Begins Tesla Silver Bullion Coin Series". CoinWorld. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  45. ^ "2017 Krugerrant Expands Gold Range Adds Silver Platinum coins". AgAuNews. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  46. ^ "South Korean Chiwoo Cheonwang Series Silver Bullion Medallions From Komsco". CoinWeek. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  47. ^ "Barbados Trident Bullion Coin Back for 2018". AgAuNews. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  48. ^ "Canadian Wildlife Siilver Bullion Coins". CoinNews. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  49. ^ "Korean Silver Medals Highlight Mythology". Coin World. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.

External links[edit]