A bullion coin
is a coin
struck from refined precious metal
) and kept as a store of value
or an investment rather than used in day-to-day commerce.
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.
Under United States
law, "coins" that fail the last of these requirements are not coins at all,
and must be advertised as "rounds" instead. The American Eagle
and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
series are the only coins available in gold
, and palladium
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
Bullion coins sell for a premium over the market price of the metal on the commodities exchanges.
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
Reverse of a 2018 Israeli Jerusalem Gold
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.
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 abandoned 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
By 1980, the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin production.
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
, 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.
is a rare silver-white metallic element. Its primary use is in catalytic converters
found in automobiles and jewelry. The highest price for Rhodium was in 2008 when it rose above $10,000 per ounce ($350,000 per kilogram). The first coin was produced by the privately owned Cohen Mint of New York City. It was only minted in 2009 and came in a 1 gram size.
The first bullion coin issued by a nation is Tuvalu's South Sea Dragon. There have been two bars
produced by Pamp
and Baird & Co
Obverse of a 2004 American Silver Eagle
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.
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.
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
's hawksbill turtle minted by New Zealand Mint.
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
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
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Last edited on 28 April 2021, at 18:05
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