May 23, 2024

Bargain Gold and Silver Prices Boost Worldwide Coin Demand

feature-300x200Bargain prices for gold and silver is fueling global demand for bullion coins.

During September sales by the U.S. Mint of American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins increased dramatically.  Sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coins during September rose to 58,000 ounces, up from 25,000 in August.  Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins rose to 4,140,000 ounces in September, more than double the 2,007,500 ounces sold in the previous month (see also Must Know Facts Before Buying American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins).

The increased demand for gold and silver coins seen in the U.S. was mirrored at other major world mints which have seen steadily increasing demand during the third quarter.

The Perth Mint of Australia, one of the largest mints in the world, has also experienced a sales spike in demand for gold and silver bullion.  During September The Perth Mint sold 756,839 ounces of silver bullion up from under less than 450,000 ounces earlier in the year.  The Perth Mint actually sold more gold bullion during September than the U.S. Mint with sales of 68,781 ounces.

The Perth Mint

The Perth Mint – ounces of gold and silver sold

The Perth Mint sells gold and silver bullion as both coin and minted bars and has a much wider product category than the U.S. Mint.

Further declines in the overextended and over-leveraged financial markets due to economic worries is likely to accelerate the recent trend into safe haven assets such as gold and silver.

Courtesy: yahoo finance

Courtesy: yahoo finance

The Top 10 Biggest Gold Producing Countries in the World

pygmy-possum-coinThe Perth Mint presents a neat infographic on the world’s top 10 gold producing countries.

China, which loves gold more than anything, came in as the number one producer with annual output of 370 metric tons.  According to the latest official numbers from the IMF, China holds the world’s fifth largest reserves of gold with holdings of 33.9 million ounces.  Unofficially, many analysts say that actual gold reserves held by China are far larger than the “officially” reported numbers.

The second largest gold producer in the world is Australia (home of the Perth Mint) which produced 250 metric tons of gold in 2012.

The United States came in at third place with annual production of 230 metric tons.  As a dubious consolation for those who hate to see the U.S. come in third, keep in mind that the United States still reigns supreme in the number one spot for production of paper currency.

The Perth Mint, which has been producing gold coins since 1899 has produced (in my opinion) some of the world’s most artistic gold and silver coins.

Unsinkable Silver Investments? World Mints Unveil Centenary Titanic Coins


The sinking of the Titanic has captured the imagination of people since the tragedy struck on the night of the 14th April 1912. The centenary of the disaster is being marked around the world and particularly in the UK and North America which were deeply affected by the tragedy. Victims of the disaster came from around the world and to mark the occasion three of the world’s major Mints are also marking the loss of the Titanic with issues of commemorative Titanic coins. As this is a major anniversary it is likely that these coins will be extremely popular and make an excellent addition to any collection – and one that should increase in value in the years to come.

The Unsinkable Titanic
The launch of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic took place on 31st May 1911, and this centenary was marked last year in Belfast where the ship was launched from the Harland & Wolf shipyard into Belfast Lough. The Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage on 10th April 1912 – sailing with over 2,000 people on board. Four days later the ship famously struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and, with her watertight compartments breached, she sank. An estimated 1,500 people lost their lives in the disaster and the event caused shock around the world. This year the Royal Canadian Mint, The British Royal Mint and the Australian Perth Mint are all issuing coins to mark the centenary. The Mints have commissioned unique designs for their coins and are all offering relatively low issues, which will make these coins of additional interest to collectors.

Canadian Coins
The Royal Canadian Mint issued a $10 Fine Silver coin, with a mintage of 20,000. The Canadian coin is the highest denomination coin but will have the largest mintage. The design features the Titanic showing the ship in full steam with an iceberg in the foreground. The obverse of the coin also features the 2003 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II created by Susanna Blunt. Canada played a significant role in the aftermath of the disaster and the port of Halifax in Nova Scotia received many of the survivors. It was also the burial site of many of the victims recovered from the North Atlantic. In addition to the $10 coin, the Royal Canadian Mint has also issued a 50 cent silver-plated coin and a 25 cent coin – featuring a full color design.

The British £5 Commemorative Coin
The British Royal Mint has issued a £5 silver coin to commemorate the Titanic disaster. Featuring a design by Lee Robert Jones, the image of the liner is illustrated alongside an image of the goddess “Thane”. A statue of Thane, a goddess of death, was erected as a memorial in Belfast in 1920 – eight years after the sinking of the liner. The Royal Mint issue is a limited edition of only 7,500 coins which is presented in a stylish case, with a certificate to authenticate the coin.

A Full Color Tribute
The Perth Mint in Australia minted the lowest number of commemorative coins with only 5,000 coins produced. The $1 dollar Australian silver coin features an attractive full color design by Aleysha Howarth, and is the only one of the various Titanic coin releases to feature a color design. This factor combined with the low mintage is likely to make it one of the most sought after Titanic commemorative coins.

Each Titanic coin comes in a handsome display case along with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.  For orders and further information, please visit the Perth Mint Titanic product page.


This year sees the centenary of the loss of the iconic Titanic. Three major world Mints will mark the occasion with commemorative coins, all of which are likely to be highly sought after and prove to be a sound investment.

Perth Mint Introduces Stunning Silver Proof Coins

The Perth Mint has offered a variety of stunningly beautiful coins over the years.  As an investor/collector, it is particularly appealing to purchase coins that not only have the intrinsic value of precious metals but also offer a magnificent coin design.

The latest offerings from the Perth Mint highlight their artistry in producing coins with colorization.  The limited mintage coins are not only enjoyable to own and display but also make excellent gifts, especially for those who have never owned precious metal coins.

The three latest silver proof coins from the Perth Mint illustrate that investing in precious metals can not only be profitable but also enjoyable.

Australian Sea Life II – The Reef – Hawksbill Turtle

This coin’s reverse features the endangered Hawksbill Turtle which lives in the coral reefs of northern Australia.  The silver proof coin’s mintage is limited to only 10,000 coins and is offered in 1/2 ounce size 99.9% pure silver.  The coin’s obverse depicts Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth along with the 2011 year date.  A display case is included with the coin.  The cost of the coin in US dollars is $65.20.

Australia’s Box Jellyfish 1 oz Silver Proof Coin

Depicting the deadly box jellyfish on the coin’s reverse and offered in 99.9% pure silver, this 1 ounce coin has extremely limited mintage of 5,000.  The obverse of the coin features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and also the monetary denomination.  A high gloss timber presentation case houses each coin.  The cost of the coin in US dollars in $112.04.

Transformers III – 1 oz Silver Proof Trio

Transformers III comes as a three coin set with mintage limited at 5,000 coins. Featured on the respective coin’s reverse are colorized depictions of Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Megatron.  Each 1 ounce coin is struck in proof quality 99.9% pure silver and the obverse depicts Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.  Each coin comes housed in a clear presentation box.  The cost of the three coin set in US dollars is $288.82.

While the Perth Mint offers a wide variety of coins, many in limited mintage, the U.S. Mint has taken the opposite approach based on the theory that not every collector who wanted the coin would be able to purchase it.   Neither has the U.S. Mint ever produced coins with colorization and many of the U.S. coin designs are dated.

The U.S. Mint should consider producing limited mintage coins with more imaginative designs to create some product excitement and expand the universe of coin and precious metal collectors/investors.




As Gold Hits Record Highs, Perth Mint Finds Success in Smaller Sized Coins

As the price of gold continues to climb, the cost of purchasing a one ounce gold bullion coin is approaching $1,600.  In order to provide the opportunity to own gold within a more reasonable price range, innovative mints have begun offering smaller sized gold coins.   In April 2010, the Perth Mint of Australia introduced a half gram 99.99% pure gold coin named the Mini Roo.

Struck with a fineness of .9999, each Mini Roo contains 0.016 troy ounces of gold. The coins have a diameter of 11.60 mm and thickness of 0.70 mm. By comparison, the one ounce Australian Gold Kangaroo has a diameter of 32.60 mm and thickness of 2.80 mm. The half gram Mini Roo and 1 oz. Gold Kangaroo are shown side by side in the image below.

According to the Perth Mint’s website, the Mini Roo is currently priced at $54.18. A major precious metals dealer’s website currently quotes the price of a single one ounce 2011 Gold Kangaroo at $1,668.23.

Alexandra Lucchesi of the Perth Mint Public Relations Department was kind enough to some insights on the objectives and sales levels of the diminutive gold coins.

Gold and Silver Blog:  Can you provide us with any indication of the sales levels of the Mini Roo half gram gold coin and how it compares to the sale of one ounce coins?

Alexandra:  To compare sales of the Mini Roo and 1oz gold bullion coins would not be a valid comparison.  The issues vary considerably in weight and price, and therefore, do not encompass the interest of the same individual and institutional investors.  Furthermore, the Mini Roo is targeted more toward collectors and gift buyers, whereas the gold coins of the Australian Kangaroo and Lunar series are directed more toward investors.

Gold and Silver Blog:  Has the half gram gold coin met sales expectations and have sales increased as the price of gold has climbed?

Alexandra:  The release of the Mini Roo has met our objectives at both wholesale and retail levels, with sales exceeding more than 15,000 2010-dated coins to date since being released in April last year.  With the 2011 coin only just released a fortnight ago [April 5, 2011], we can not yet estimate sales for the remainder of the year, although, with periodic prompted promotion, we are also anticipating favourable sales of this issue.

Gold and Silver Blog:  Will the Mini Roo become a regular annual issue?

Alex:  A Mini Roo was first introduced to the market in April 2010.  Complementing the world renowned Australian Kangaroo gold bullion coin series, the Mini Roo is expected to be released each year and will continue to portray the identical design as, or a simplified version of, the iconic Australian Kangaroo annual issues.

Gold and Silver Blog:  I would suspect that the much lower cost of the Mini Roo allows greater participation by investors and collectors as well as placing the Mini Roo within the affordable gift category.  Was the higher price of gold the determining factor in deciding to produce the half gram coin?  Have the offerings of smaller sized gold coins resulted in an increased number of new customers?

Alexandra:  That is correct.  The Perth Mint introduced the Mini Roo to encourage a broader audience to start investing in, or collecting, precious metal coin products.  In addition, the smaller coin was perfect to capture the interest of those who, traditionally, were unable to afford the classic Australian Kangaroo bullion coin sizes.  The timing for the initiative was also enhanced by the rising price of gold.  The lower price point of the button-sized Mini Roo does give individual precious metal investors, coin collectors and gift buyers the opportunity to purchase a pure gold coin at an affordable price featuring a similar design as its traditional counterpart.

The Perth Mint Australia

As Silver Prices Soar, Silver Coins Get Smaller

Ten years ago, one ounce silver bullion coins could be purchased for around $7 each. This reflected market silver prices below the $5 level. As recently as one year ago, the prices for one ounce bullion coins had risen to around $18 each. Following the dramatic rise in the silver price experienced in the last five months, newly minted one ounce silver bullion coins from a major world mint are now priced around $39, assuming a purchase in quantity.

Silver has been called “poor man’s gold”, but after the significant rise in price, even the traditionally smallest sized coins are becoming expensive. Thus, it was only a matter of time before smaller sized coins would be introduced.

Last month, the Perth Mint of Australia began selling one-tenth ounce Silver Koala coins. Previously, this series had been offered in sizes ranging from one-half ounce to 1 kilo. Other numismatic and bullion coin offerings from the Perth Mint have also been available in sizes starting at one-half ounce, but this seems to be the first instance that a one-tenth ounce size has been available.

As will generally be the case with silver products, the smaller weight offerings carry a larger premium than than larger weight products. This can be the result of the fixed costs associated with manufacture or volume discounts which may be available for purchases in bulk quantities.

The Perth Mint’s website shows the one ounce 2011 Silver Koala priced at US $41.88, reflecting a premium of $5.57 or 15.34%. The one-tenth ounce version is priced at $13.76, reflecting a premium of $10.13 or 279%! (All prices at time of post.)

Obviously when purchasing silver for investment purposes, it makes sense to pay the lowest premium possible. That way, you will get more silver for your money and won’t risk seeing contraction of premiums offset gains.

The move by the Perth Mint to smaller sized silver coins is certainly an interesting one. How long will it be before other world mints follow suit?

Perth Mint Forecasts Jump in Silver Coin Sales

The Perth Mint is operated by Gold Corporation, which is wholly owned by the Government of Western Australia. The Perth Mint currently refines all of the gold mined in Australia, as well as gold from surrounding countries, and scrap gold from Asia. In addition, they refine substantial quantities of silver.

The latter has been favored by Sales and Marketing Director Ron Currie, who stated, “There seems to be more upside with silver than gold right now.”

The State of Silver

Currie’s statements come as the Perth Mint provided their outlook for silver coin sales to increase by more than 50% for the year. The Perth Mint sells investment gold and silver coins and bars to customers throughout the world. They recently launched a website which allows Australian customers to purchase bullion products at live prices.

Other world mints have also recently provided forecasts for higher silver bullion sales. The Royal Canadian Mint, which offers silver bullion coins like the Silver Maple Leaf, forecast an increase in silver coin sales of more than 50% for the year. For 2009, silver coin sales had reached 10,300,000 ounces.

Sales of the United States Mint’s American Silver Eagle bullion coin recently moved into record territory for the year to date. The latest figures available from their website show sales of more than 32,500,000 ounces for the current year.

Silver or Gold?

The recent move towards silver investment, comes as the price of silver has been outperforming gold. For the year to date, silver has risen by about 57%, while gold has gained about 25%.

This recent divergence has resulted in a decline in the gold/silver ratio. This ratio measures the  number of ounces of silver it takes to purchase an ounce of gold. The ratio had spiked to more than 80 in late 2008, and was above 70 as recently as February of this year. Currently, the ratio stands at about 51 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold.

During the era when gold and silver were used in circulating U.S. coins, the ratio was officially set at 15 to 16. Within the earth’s crust, gold and silver naturally occur at a ratio of about 17.

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales Highest in More Than a Decade

During May 2010, the United States Mint’s gold and silver bullion sales levels reached their highest level in a decade or more for the two most popular offerings. This heavy demand for physical gold was experienced by several world mints last month, driven by concerns and uncertainty about Greece and the Euro.

The United States Mint sold 190,000 of their 1 oz. American Gold Eagle coins. This ranked as the highest monthly sales total for the bullion option since January 1999 when 208,500 coins were sold. The all time record high for sales in a single month took place in October 1986 when 609,500 of the one ounce coins were sold.

There were 3,636,500 of the 1 oz. American Silver Eagle coins sold during May 2010. This was just shy of the all time monthly sales record of 3,696,000 coins sold in December 1986. The month of May ended with a three day weekend, if one more day of sales had taken place, the record may have been broken. It’s worth noting that Silver Eagle bullion coins are also subject to the US Mint’s allocation (rationing) program, meaning these impressive sales still do not reflect full public demand.

Recent articles report similar surges in bullion coin demand. Production of Gold Krugerrands by the Rand Refinery reached their highest weekly production levels in 25 years. The treasurer of the refinery cited Germany as a large source of demand. The Perth Mint of Australia which did not provide production levels, has doubled their capacity over the past 18 months. As soon as the European Commission announced that they would bail out Greece their stock of gold “all went.”

Perth Mint to Resume Gold & Silver Sales


Today the Perth Mint announced that it will resume taking orders for gold and silver bullion coins on January 12, 2009. Sales of bullion products have been suspended since November 22, making this a very lengthy suspension for a major world Mint.

Notably, sales will be resumed for a “streamlined range” of gold and silver products. By limiting the number of products which will be offered, they expect to increase production volumes. Products which will be unavailable include fractional and non standard size bullion coins.

This is similar to measures taken by the United States Mint. For the past several months they have been focusing primarily on producing and selling (on an allocated basis) one ounce Gold Eagles and one ounce Silver Eagles. Recently, they announced the delay of all 2009 dated bullion products, except one ounce Gold and Silver Eagles.

Fractional gold coins have been favored by survivalists and investors with smaller budgets. Historically, the US Mint has offered gold in 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/10 ounce sizes. As world mints hunker down to deal with ever escalating demand, these products might become a thing of the past.

Can the US Mint Handle Demand for the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle?

For much of the year, the United States Mint has been touting the upcoming recreation of what they have called the “nation’s most beautiful coin.” Augustus Saint Gaudens’ design for the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle will be recreated as a one ounce 24 karat gold coin available for sale to the public.

The Mint’s intention to recreate the coin was first announced this March, followed by an official unveiling in July, and a well publicized first striking in November. The US Mint intends to strike the coins throughout 2009 in quantities necessary to meet public demand. So far, coin collectors have responded enthusiastically to the upcoming offering. With the recent main stream attention on gold, there will likely be interest from the broader public as well. Is the United States Mint prepared to handle the potentially significant demand for the new gold coin?

This year the US Mint, as well as most other world mints, have had continuous problems procuring sufficient gold blanks to meet the incredible demand for bullion coins. The US Mint in particular has been forced to suspend sales of some gold bullion offerings and continues to distribute coins though an allocation program since they are unable to meet the full demand.

Next year the US Mint will be at odds with itself as it struggles to meet growing demand for their regular bullion coins and new demand for a potentially hot collectible coin.

To estimate how much demand the new coin might generate, we can look at the US Mint’s 2006 release of the 24 karat American Buffalo Gold coin. Similar to next year’s offering, the coin design was taken from an old collector favorite, in this case the Buffalo Nickel. The coins were offered as one ounce bullion coins and one ounce collector proof coins. Sales of the coins began in late June 2006. In just over six months, the US Mint sold approximately 337,000 bullion coins and 252,000 proof coins for a total of 589,000 ounces worth of gold. Sales of the regular 2006 American Gold Eagle bullion coins totaled only 261,000 ounces.

Even if only the collectible versions of coins are considered, this represents a 50% increase in demand for gold coins. Since the US Mint has been unable to meet the full demand for regular gold bullion coins this year, the prospects that they can handle the additional demand for a popular collectible gold coin on top of already robust gold bullion coin demand seem remote.

Another aspect to consider is that the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagles are struck on specialized blanks. The coin will have a thickness of 4 millimeters which is more than 50% thicker than most one ounce gold bullion coins. So far the US Mint has been procuring these specialized blanks from Gold Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Western Australian Government, who operate the competing Perth Mint. Notably, the Perth Mint recently announced that they would be forced to cease taking orders for precious metals until January 2009 due to “unprecedented demand.” So, not only will the US Mint need to procure a large amount highly specialized blanks from an already tight market, they will need to procure them from a competitor struggling to meet their own demand.

Taken together these factors do not bode well for a smooth release of this “recreated materpiece.” I envision a frustrating series back orders, delays, and eventual order limitations for the new coin. The US Mint intended the Ultra High Relief Gold Coin to be “a prestigous example of the highest level of artistic excellence in American coin design.” Instead they might just end up with another gold related headache.