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Platinum Makes A Comeback

May 30, 2017 0 Comments

Alongside the classic metals for coins, gold and silver, there is a third contender, platinum. There was a time when platinum was cheap, and since it alloys with gold, and has a similar specific weight, it was used by counterfeiters back in the day of the Spanish Empire. The UK was the first country to experiment with platinum bullion coins, in 1812. Russia was the only county to use it as an official currency, between 1828 and 1845, and they were also the ones who revived it for commemorative coins of the 1980 Olympics. Since then Canada has also regularly issued platinum bullion coins. Real interest only began when the US Mint started making .9999 1 oz. platinum Eagle coins denominated at £100, in 1997. They have issued them every year since then. Currently selling for over $1,200, they would have been a good investment, given the trends in platinum prices.

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Having stayed below $500 an ounce for years, platinum started to take off in the 2000s, peaking at $2,000 in 2008, during the financial crisis. Since then it has fallen back to around $1,000, so right now it is probably a bargain, and that could be reflected in the renewed interest in issuing platinum bullion coins by mints around the world. Besides the continuing Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum coin, Austria, Australia, and even Somalia have all taken to issuing platinum bullion coins.

The newest entry is from the Royal Mint, in the UK, who on the 15th of May, 2017, released a whole raft of platinum products, from 1,000 gram bars to 1 oz coins. It is the coins that will be of most interest to collectors, and these are in the popular ‘Queen’s Beasties’ range. The obverse, like all UK coinage, shows the profile of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in what is the Mint’s fifth version. Dating from 2015, this image was designed by Jody Clark. She also designed the Lion of England, shown on the coin’s reverse. The Lion is upright, snarling, with its right paw raised. It holds a shield bearing the Royal coat of arms. The shield is quartered with three English lions in two quarters, one quarter shows the Welsh harp, and one the Scottish lion surrounded by fleur-de-lis. Around the Lion of England are the words ‘Lion of England – 1 oz – Fine Platinum – 999.5 – 2017’. The coin is denominated at 100 British Pounds. Other animals from the Queen’s Beasts, 10 in all, including the unicorn, horse, bull, greyhound, griffin and peregrine falcon, are all promised for future issues, raising the possibility of one day having a full set in gold, silver and platinum – if your budget can stretch to it.

Above all these issues, the American Eagle Platinum 1 oz. still stands as the premier coin for collectors of platinum bullion, but with this new competition, collectors now have a much wider range of choices – something that can never be a bad thing. As an investment, or for its numismatic value, platinum certainly brings a new coin into the market, and a new range of possibilities.

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