Author: Marin Aleksov

5 Popular Precious Metal Mints and Brands

Choosing the right precious metals company when you’re buying bullion bars and coins is an important and sometimes difficult task. The stakes are high. You want to ensure that the precious metals products you buy are authentic and high quality. This is your hard-earned money we’re talking about. 

You’ve probably noticed that the number of mints and brands offering precious metal bullion, whether as bars or coins, is vast and sometimes confusing. Did you know that some mints are government-operated, and some are privately owned and operated? And did you know that both types of mints are among the most popular and reliable? 

Let’s start with the basic definition of a mint, and then we’ll move on to the most popular precious metals mints or brands. 

What does mint mean when referring to coins, money, and precious metals? 

Most of us think of the refreshing green leaves used to flavor chewing gum, breath fresheners, and drinks like mojitos and mint juleps. Of course, we mean a very different kind of mint.

According to the Rosland Capital glossary, a mint is an establishment in which coins are produced. Mint is also used as a grading term.

As mentioned earlier, governments operate some mints and private companies own and operate some. Because trust and integrity are essential to creating and maintaining the value of minted precious metals products, each mint places its own mint mark on its offerings. Let’s look again at the Rosland Capital glossary, which says that a mint mark is the “mark on a coin identifying the mint at which it was struck.” This functions as both accountability and a promise of high quality for each mint’s brand reputation.

In the early days of the US Mint, mint marks were unnecessary because the first Mint in Philadelphia was the only one. Mint marks first appeared on US coins when other Mint branches opened in Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans in 1838. Even after that, the Mint in Philadelphia was not required to mark its coins until 1942. 

A brief history of minted coins

Human beings have used currency since we started exchanging goods and services. Historians say that the Lydians, from a kingdom located in what is Turkey today, first minted coins around 600 B.C., using an alloy of silver and gold called electrum

This new coinage made exchange easier for merchants traveling through diverse societies in varying climates, cultures, and values, opening greater possibilities for exchange beyond the barter system. A modern comparison might be giving someone a gift card they can use anywhere and for almost anything, rather than guessing what kind of specific gift they might like, want, or need — and getting it wrong.

Early modern coin minting grew more sophisticated. Some coins were pressed by rolling blanks through a machine. Other coins were ingots, meaning molten metal was poured into molds and allowed to cool and solidify.  

Today, all kinds of coins and bars are minted for a variety of uses, from authorized circulated currency to uncirculated currency such as bullion coins to coins or tokens used for arcade games or bus fare. Mints produce coins, bars, and other products from a variety of precious metals such as silver, gold, platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular precious metals brands or mints.

5 of the Most Popular Precious Metal Companies

PAMP

PAMP logo with 1-ounce gold bar

Founded: 1977

Mint type: Private

Perhaps one of the most well-known and popular mints, PAMP is a private mint that was established in 1977, and is based in Ticino, Switzerland. PAMP operates a precious metals refinery and fabrication facility, where it produces a wide range of products, including bullion coins and bars minted from gold, silver, and Platinum Group Metals (PGM), in a variety of sizes, shapes, purities, and weights. PAMP products are accredited as Good Delivery by all major precious metals authorities, including the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). 

PAMP also supplies a diverse range of metal products to consumers, industries, governments, banks, and other institutions. The most popular product among consumers is the 1-ounce Lady Fortuna rectangular pure gold bar ingot at .9999 (four nines) gold fineness. PAMP offers bars ranging in weight from 1 ounce to 1 kilogram in precious metals including silver, gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium. 


United States (US) Mint

Logo of the United States Mint

Founded: 1792

Mint type: Government

Perhaps the United States Mint is the kind of minting operation you had in mind: one operated by the government to issue the country’s coinage for circulation. The US Mint was founded in 1792, and currently has minting locations in  Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and West Point. According to the Mint, it is the “sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the nation to conduct its trade and commerce.”

In addition to authorized coinage for circulation, the US Mint produces many other coin-related products such as proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins, as well as Congressional Gold Medals. The most popular offerings from the US Mint include silver and gold bullion coins and the American Eagle gold. Many taxpayers will be happy to learn that the Mint is self-sustaining through its programs and operates at no cost to taxpayers. Legend has it that George Washington contributed some of his own silver to get the Mint started.


Royal Canadian Mint

Logo of the Royal Canadian Mint

Founded: 1908

Mint type: Government

Founded in Ottawa, Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint produces over one billion coins annually. The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin is the RCM’s most popular bullion offering. The Royal Canadian Mint has developed various technologies to protect the integrity of its bullion offerings. 

Bullion DNA™ Anti-Counterfeiting Technology uses a digital authentication process for Gold and Silver Maple Leaf coins. Mintshield™ Surface Protection is said to reduce white spots on Silver Maple Leaf bullion coins. 

The circulation presses in Winnipeg can produce 20 million coins each day, or 750 coins per second. In 2007, the Mint created the largest coin in the world, a 100 kilogram, 99.999% pure, $1 million gold bullion coin. 

According to the RCM, “The Mint’s high-tech plant in Winnipeg produces over 1 billion circulation coins each year. The Mint produces limited-mintage numismatic coins honouring major national achievements and themes. Crafted of gold, silver or platinum, the Mint’s collector coins are individually handled as they enter the presses. A single coin may be struck up to three times to achieve a crisp, flawless impression. Certain coins feature the Mint’s proprietary technologies: double holograms, selective plating, colouring or laser enhancement.”


Perth Mint

Logo of The Perth Mint, Australia

Founded: 1899

Mint type: Government

The Perth Mint, founded in 1899 in Perth, Australia, was originally built to refine metal from the gold rushes in Western Australia, as well as distribute sovereigns and half-sovereigns for the British Empire. 

Accredited by five of the major gold exchanges and serving customers ranging from individuals to sovereign wealth funds, the Perth Mint offers “an array of bullion and collectable legal tender coins, bars and medallions each year. We are proud to showcase Australia’s icons to the world and celebrate a variety of popular universal themes, through the original artistry of our coin designs and creative concepts.”

Some of the Perth Mint’s signature products include the Australian Kookaburra, Koala, and Kangaroo bullion coins. Some recent offerings pay homage to pop culture, such as the Star Wars™ Clone Trooper™ Helmet-Shaped 2021 2oz Silver Proof, the Jurassic World 2021 2oz T.Rex-Shaped Silver Antiqued Coin, the SUPERMAN™ Shield 2021 1oz Silver Proof Coin, and the James Bond GoldenEye 25th Anniversary 2020 1oz Silver Proof Coin. Other coins celebrate the unique Australian ecosystem and wildlife such as the Great Barrier Reef and the famous marsupials from down under: kangaroos, quokkas, and koalas. 

Check out this 2 kilo .9999 silver Australian Koala coin:


Sunshine Minting

Logo for Sunshine Minting, Inc.

Founded: 1979

Mint type: Private

Sunshine Minting, Inc., founded in Idaho in 1979, mints over 70 million ounces of bullion each year. Among them, SMI offers its version of the popular Silver Buffalo Round. In addition to striking its own collector bullion coins, Sunshine Minting serves as the primary supplier of 1-ounce silver planchets — the round metal blanks ready to be struck as coins — to the United States Mint for the .9995 American Silver Eagle bullion coin. SMI also supplies precious metal blanks to private mints. 

However, SMI sells to a varied and diverse range of customers, including governments, financial institutions, corporations, marketing companies, other businesses, and private groups. According to SMI, its “minting operation is geared to manufacture products to industry standards in brilliant uncirculated (BU), proof-like or proof quality.” 

Although it can provide platinum blanks, SMI specializes in the fine gold and fine silver varieties, ranging in size from 1 gram to large 100-ounce bars. SMI also offers services for designing and producing custom creations from any silver, gold, platinum, or non-precious metal minted product.

Finding a Precious Metals Mint to Anchor Your Asset Portfolio

How do you decide which mint and which precious metal products are right for you? That depends on your unique situation. Vital first steps include understanding your goals and doing thorough research. You may end up with more questions than answers at first. But we’re here to help you make an informed decision.

Get more information from the precious metals representatives at Rosland Capital.

What’s the Difference Between Bullion and Numismatic Coins?

Is there a difference between bullion coins and numismatic coins? Yes, and when you’re in the market for coins, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and why you’re looking for it. Bullion coins and numismatic coins are valued differently and for different reasons. Let’s explore the differences and the similarities, and what that may mean for you.

What is bullion?

What does the word “bullion” make you think of? Do you imagine the huge rectangular gold bullion bars stacked like bricks in a vault at Fort Knox? You’re not wrong. But that’s only part of the picture. Bullion coins are minted using those same highly refined precious metals such as silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. 

As Rosland Capital’s Precious Metals & Coins Glossary (by kind permission of Lorenz Books, publishers of one of our favorite books, The World Encyclopedia of Coins, written by Dr. James Mackay) succinctly states: “Bullion is precious metal whose value is reckoned solely by its weight and fineness.”

Regardless of the shape or size, bullion is all about the purity of the metal itself. Precious metal purity is graded according to millesimal fineness, or parts per thousand, and the standard varies by metal. For example, an assayer certifies the grade of fine silver only for silver bullion with a millesimal fineness of 999, or 999 parts per thousand. This translates to 99.9% pure silver. The same purity standard holds for gold bullion. This level of purity is called 24-karat gold, though that term is most commonly used with jewelry.

According to London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) purity standards for Good Delivery, platinum and palladium bullion must meet the minimum requirement of 99.95% pure platinum or palladium. Although we know that gold is mined along with other precious metals such as platinum to be used in jewelry, electronics, and sustainable energy industries, coins remain one of the most popular forms and uses. All these precious metals are available as bullion coins. Which brings us to our main question.

What’s the difference between bullion coins, numismatic coins, and semi-numismatic coins?

What are bullion coins?

Again, to quote the Glossary, a bullion coin is a coin struck in precious metal, now usually with an inscription giving its weight and fineness, whose value fluctuates according to the market price of the metal.

Some of the most popular bullion coins include ones minted in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Austria, and the United Kingdom:

It is worth noting that different bullion coins can have different metal content. For example, the American Buffalo is 99.99 fine gold, while the American Eagle is 91.67% pure gold. The Eagle still contains 1 Troy oz of gold, because it weighs 33.931 grams, or around 1.09 Troy ounces.

As long as a bullion coin’s gold content and weight are known, and the issuing authority—in this case the US Mint—is trusted, these variances are of no import.

Although bullion coins are not now meant for use as currency, they are issued by a sovereign nation, have a legal tender value and could theoretically be used for purchases. The fact that the legal tender value is a small fraction of the metal content’s worth discourages that sort of activity.

You may also come across “rounds” that have the same metal content as a bullion coin of the same weight, but these are not legal tender coins whose production is authorized by a sovereign government.

While bullion coins can be seen to have a functional, transactional purpose, they are not immune to the tides of fashion. Before the US Buffalo coin was introduced, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, promoted as ’24-karat’, was a particularly popular purchase. The arrival of the Buffalo, with its nostalgic use of the Buffalo Nickel design, and its homage to the incuse lettering of the $2.5 and $5 Indian Head coins, created a new favorite.

What are numismatic coins?

What does numismatic mean? 

Let’s check with our Glossary again. It says: “Numismatics (from Latin numisma, coin) is the study and collection of paper money, coins and medals.”

According to the American Numismatic Association (ANA), numismatists study money in any of its forms, often focusing on certain areas of numismatics, such as coins, tokens, or paper currency. For our purposes here, numismatics relates to coins. This often involves an interest in coins as currency, as part of human histories, cultures, and societies. 

Numismatic coins are essentially coins that are no longer in production, are in limited supply and, in the case of US coins, were minted before 1933. They were usually minted as bullion for use as currency and as a medium of exchange. They only acquired their ‘numismatic’ status later, once they became part of history.

One example would be the beautiful $2.5 and $5 Indian Head coins first issued in 1908. These have a recessed, or “incuse” design, and were initially not popular—people thought germs might hide in the crevices—but now they are beloved collectors’ items.

Coin buyers also seek coins minted up to present day, especially limited or special editions, sets such as the U.S. quarters featuring the fifty states, and the now-rare first euros released by each state that joined the European Union prior to standardizing the currency across nations. The scarcity of coins stamped with errors will always be a source of attraction and fascination for numismatists.

That’s not to say that value is unimportant. On the contrary, the value of numismatic and semi-numismatic coins can sometimes greatly exceed that of bullion coins with the same metal content. One difference between bullion coins and numismatic coins is what gives each its value. As we’ve seen, bullion coins are valued for their precious metal content and weight, whereas numismatic coin values also derive from factors such as rarity, historical context and importance, condition, and current demand for a particular coin.

The most valuable numismatic and semi-numismatic coins are worth far more than the spot price for their inherent metal value. One of the most famous numismatic coins is the United States $20 double eagle gold coin. This U.S. gold coin was the result of a collaboration between President Theodore Roosevelt and American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. While visiting the Smithsonian and seeing the ancient Greek coins bearing the image of Alexander the Great, Roosevelt had the idea to reinvent American coinage, introducing a higher caliber of artistic quality. Mission accomplished.

What are semi-numismatic coins?

While “numismatic coins” can be defined as older coins that are no longer made, semi-numismatic coins can still be in production. Along with “First Strikes”, semi-numismatic coins can include proof coins, which are specially minted coins produced in limited runs by some of the most popular mints and precious metals brands. These coins are usually double or triple struck and placed into protective casings without being touched by human hands or placed into circulation, leaving them in “mint condition” without scratch or blemish. 

Proof coins will have a highly polished mirror background, with their design rendered in frosted finishes, giving a cameo-like appearance – they are visibly different and often much more appealing than their mass-produced bullion cousins.

These uncirculated, collectible coins are often of the same metal content as bullion coins while also being relatively rare and unusual, and they draw value from both of these aspects. 

For example, the American Eagle Gold Proof, produced in limited quantities by the US Mint, is a popular item with coin enthusiasts, while the “Uncirculated” version of the same coin is minted in much larger quantities, and would be described as a bullion coin.

In general, semi-numismatic coins can add unexpected character and value to your portfolio. They are also available in a greater variety of sizes compared to coins designed for circulation.

Is it better to buy bullion coins or numismatic coins?

There’s no one answer to that question—it depends on your goals. Whatever you choose, it often makes sense to diversify your holdings and help solidify your portfolio. If you’re thinking about buying precious metals, whether gold, silver, or others contact our precious metals specialists at Rosland Capital.

How is Gold Mined? 3 Ways to Find Gold

What do you imagine when you think of how gold is mined? Maybe you see a prospector panning for gold in a river or a miner with a pickaxe during the California gold rush. Or perhaps you think of current TV shows following the companies that are open-pit mining in the wilderness of Alaska, who are probably excavating, hauling, crushing, and processing gold ore as you read this. 

1. Placer Mining

Placer mining is done in areas where the soil or rock is loose. These areas called placer deposits are often found on beaches and riverbeds. The most common and effective gold mining methods in placer deposits use tools and machines to move and sift through the sediment. The much denser gold settles and remains as the lighter sand, soil, and rocks separate and get washed away.

Dredging

Sometimes the gold deposits sit in deeper water, inaccessible by simply wading into the river. Dredging uses machines to remove sediment and soil from a live riverbed. Sometimes this process involves digging with a machine from above the water’s surface. Occasionally, large hoses are used to suck both water and soil away from the riverbed, depositing it into a machine for processing. 

Suction dredging usually requires a miner to dive down to the riverbed and operate a suction hose that carries sediment up to a sluice box on a floating platform. Gold dredging has been practiced since the early 1900s, when steam and electricity made it possible to build machines capable of handling large amounts of material. In the United States, using a gold dredge requires a license and is heavily regulated in areas where this method is common, including states like Alaska, Montana, and California. Suction dredging for gold remains a common practice in South America, Asia, and Africa.

Panning 

Probably one of the oldest methods associated with gold mining is panning. Panning is widely recognized as one of the simplest and cleanest ways to extract gold from a placer deposit. In this gold mining process, the miner uses a large pan to scoop up soil and then slowly swirls or shakes the pan underwater to sweep away loose and light sediment, leaving the heavier gold material in the pan. Due to the simplicity and effectiveness,  it remains a favorite method among those prospectors who don’t need to move metric tons of earth to strike gold. 

Sluicing

Water is an incredibly useful tool for separating gold from waste rock. Sluicing takes advantage of water’s power to move a large amount of material efficiently. This is especially useful when separating gold from soil and gravel. Ultimately, sluicing uses a channel-like box to recreate the effect of a river. The sluice is placed in the river to keep water moving through it, pushing sediment along and separating materials as it goes. The bottom of the channel has fins or ridges that trap the heavier gold material that settles as the moving water carries the unwanted sediment tailings away. 

A method similar to the sluice box is the rocker box. Using a rocker box is preferable in areas with less water available. It uses the same effect of separating soil and sand from gold and capturing gold fragments in the ripples at the bottom of the box. Instead of using the river’s natural movement, a rocker box (also called a cradle) is rocked back and forth to create the movement needed to separate the good stuff from all the rest.

2. Hard Rock Mining

Sometimes the ground is too hard to scoop up with a pan, a shovel, or even a digging machine with steel carbide teeth. In this instance, you need tools that can process thousands of tons of rock to get to the gold. Typically, larger gold mining operations have the resources to extract gold that would otherwise be impossible for smaller outfits to reach. But before they begin mining, they have to do some exploration to find lode deposits.

This kind of gold mining exploration, known as hard rock mining, requires the expertise of teams that often include geologists, geographers, chemists, engineers, and more. Among these disciplines, core samples are drilled, local geography is surveyed, and many other factors are taken into account when deciding the viability of developing a gold mine in a particular place. 

How scarce and disbursed is the gold likely to be in an area under consideration for hard rock mining? Less than 0.1% of potential mining sites ever develop into fully functional and productive mines. However, if a mining operation has the tools available to get to the gold, a smaller amount of gold per ton is worthwhile to extract. 

Open Pit and Underground Mining

Open pit mining is what most people picture when they think of gold mining. Huge digging machines, earth movers, massive motorized sluicers, and enormous pits carved into the earth give you a good idea of what open pit mining is all about. This is what you see at the famous Fimiston Open Pit, aka the Super Pit gold mine, in Western Australia.

When the ground happens to be exceptionally hard, dense rock like granite, miners drill holes and place explosives in them to break apart the rock for hauling and processing. This is used with underground mining as well. When the lode deposits are far enough below the earth’s surface, mine shafts are created to give miners access to the veins of gold. The material is sent to the surface for processing and the tailings and the waste rock are placed out of the way. 

3. Byproduct Mining

It’s not often you hear about gold being the secondary metal sought out by a mining operation. But, as the name suggests, byproduct mining means that gold happens to have come along with another material that is mined, such as copper and other metals, and sometimes even gravel. Gold is mined as a byproduct from mines in Utah as well as the mine in Papua, Indonesia, which primarily mines copper. 

Processing Gold Ore

With a greater understanding of chemistry came alternative methods for extracting gold from gold ore. Rather than dredging, sluicing, blasting, crushing, and separating the gold manually and mechanically, it can be done chemically. The two most common methods of chemically processing gold ore have used a sodium cyanide solution or an older, now-obsolete method involving mercury. However, traditional mechanical methods remain the most commonly used.

The good news is that many precious metals are increasingly used in sustainable energy solutions, so the benefits of mining and processing gold go beyond their aesthetic appeal to more practical applications to improve both environment and economy.

Knowing more about the ways that gold is mined has hopefully grown your appreciation for what goes into getting this precious metal out of the earth and into the gorgeous gold coins and bullion bars we all enjoy.

Learn how to buy gold with Rosland Capital at BuyGold101.com.

stack of platinum bars

What Platinum Is Used For

From Dental Work to Jewelry: 5 Ways That Platinum is Used

Platinum is not only one of the rarest elements in the world; it’s also one of the most valuable and useful precious metals. Despite its high melting point and difficulty to work with, platinum lends itself to many uses — from jewelry to dental work to cancer treatments — and extends its value to aesthetic and practical purposes all over the world. 

The Origins of Platinum

Platinum, often mixed with gold, is known to have been used by ancient peoples in Central America and Egypt to make jewelry. However, the earliest known reference to the precious metal comes from an Italian physician named Julius Scaliger who first wrote about platinum in 1557, calling it “platino,” which means “little silver” in Spanish. He found this metal notable because it wouldn’t melt. 

For nearly 200 years, people were unable to melt or fashion platinum into something useful. Then, in the early 1800s, British chemists Smithson Tennant and William Hyde Wollaston developed a method for purifying platinum by dissolving it chemically in “aqua regia,” which is a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids. This separated platinum from the other metals it’s often found with, such as palladium, rhodium, iridium, and others. A similar technique is still used today. 

Platinum’s resistance to corrosion and high melting point makes it a valuable candidate for a wider range of applications than softer metals like silver and gold that can’t take more extreme conditions. Here are five common and everyday uses of platinum.

1.  Uses of Platinum in Jewelry

When Europeans arrived in South America, they discovered that the ancient people in South America had already been using platinum to make jewelry. Jewelers still use platinum to make jewelry today , using approximately 40% of available platinum. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, platinum jewelry in the United States is approximately 85-95% pure, and any jewelry in the U.S. that contains less than 50% pure platinum cannot in any way be labeled as platinum.

Shine and durability make platinum a prized material in jewelry making, especially when setting precious gems securely, and the precious metal is naturally hypoallergenic. 

2. Uses of Platinum in Dental Work

We don’t often think of our mouth as an extreme environment, but with the acidity, chewing, and impact of all of the things we eat and drink, not all metals can handle the conditions. Platinum and other related metals, such as palladium and iridium, boast incredible durability and corrosion resistance. This makes them useful and popular choices for many kinds of dental work, from fillings to crowns to bridges. Platinum-group metals are usually alloyed with other precious metals — like gold, silver, copper, and zinc — to increase their malleability, which is essential for custom dental work.

3. Uses of Platinum in Sustainable Energy

In the race to create sustainable and environmentally friendly products, processes, energy, and lifestyles, scientists and engineers are innovating. Improving the efficiency and cleanliness of the things we use every day is a big step in that process. Among the precious metals, platinum plays an important role in the development of sustainable energy. Hydrogen fuel cells use platinum as a catalyst to improve efficiency, and the metal also serves as a vital element in catalytic converters, which reduces the toxicity of car exhaust and helps cut down on pollution.  

Read more about precious metals and sustainable energy >> 

4. Uses of Platinum in Medicine

Platinum-based chemotherapy is used as a major treatment for cancer patients with a wide variety of cancers. When combined, ruthenium and platinum pack a one-two punch as a cancer-fighting combo. Ruthenium gathers light, transferring some of the light energy to the platinum part of the molecule, which turns the platinum site into an effective treatment that can bind more effectively to the DNA.

Additionally, platinum helps to reduce unwanted side-effects and toxicity of the treatment in other areas of the body. The intravenous treatment attacks the structure and function of cancer cells to prevent them from reproducing and growing. 

5. Uses of Platinum in Electronics

Computers often use precious metals in their hard drives, albeit in small quantities. Because of their conductive properties — as well as resistance to high heat and corrosion — metals like gold, silver, palladium, copper, and platinum remain essential to current and future computer technology. 

One of the biggest challenges for the electronics industry and governmental organizations has been figuring out how to reclaim precious metals used in computers and other electronics before they end up in landfills. It’s not likely to be worth your time to try salvaging the metals from your electronics, because there’s not much in a single hard drive, but add up the thousands of electronics thrown away every year, and suddenly it makes sense to recycle those old hard drives instead of sending them to the dump. 

Electronics recycling programs make it easy to safely dispose of your old electronics and keep precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum from going to waste. 

Learn More About Precious Metals Like Platinum 

Along with other precious metals, it’s no wonder that a beautiful and durable metal like platinum has stood the test of time. Platinum continues to surprise us with its versatility and utility as part of everyday life, from aesthetically pleasing jewelry and increased computing power to cancer-fighting treatments and sustainable energy. Interested in learning more about precious metals, including gold and silver? Visit RoslandCapital.com.

rows of solar panels in a green field

Precious Metals and Sustainable Energy

What Is the Connection Between Precious Metals and Sustainable Energy?

Many of us have heard about sustainable energy, from solar energy to hydrogen fuel to renewable resources. But did you know that alternative energy sources and precious metals are deeply intertwined? In fact, the demand for renewable energy sources plays a prominent role in the demand for precious metals.

So, what does gold have to do with solar power? How does silver drive the electric vehicle industry? What does platinum have to do with hydrogen fuel cells? In this article, I’ll explain the many ways that gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are playing an important role in green energy research.

Gold, Silver, and Sustainable Energy

For millennia, nearly every culture in the world has mined gold and silver for various purposes. Besides their most common uses — such as jewelry or medical devices — gold and silver also have enjoyed a variety of “magical” applications throughout history, particularly for ancient and medieval alchemy. 

Although spinning gold into something else might seem like the stuff of fairy tales, researchers have been able to use gold as a catalyst to turn solar energy into methane and methanol. Well-known for its high conductivity, silver, too, has emerged as a key ingredient in the development of solar technologies. When used in the form of a paste in solar cells, silver helps conduct electrons from sunlight and the resulting electrical energy that can be used immediately or stored in batteries. 

Additionally, silver plays a vital role in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, which is growing rapidly. According to McKinsey, 143 new EVs were launched in 2019 and automakers plan on launching 450 additional models by 2022. From the electric engine to the battery pack to the batter management system, silver is necessary for EVs to operate. Gold, too, is used for the circuit boards of EVs. 

A global authority on precious metals, the London Bullion Market Association predicts that the demand for silver in the auto industry will increase 246% by 2040 — from a little more than 1,300 metric tons in 2015 to more than 4,500 metric tons in 2040. Although the amount of silver and gold may be small from car to car, the aggregate total is notable and will only expand the importance and value of these precious metals. 

Platinum, Palladium, and Renewable Energy

Discovered in 1735, platinum is known for its brilliant shine and durability and is used in everything from dental tools to jewelry.

Platinum’s cousin palladium isn’t known as widely for its white luster as it is for its use in the automotive industry where it’s used to turn toxic pollutants into water vapor and less-harmful carbon dioxide. In recent years, the demand for palladium has grown thanks to research into its applications in alternative energy. In fact, although palladium isn’t used in electric car production, the demand for palladium in hybrid cars is on the rise.

Groundbreaking uses for platinum and palladium are emerging as scientists investigate how to shift from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy. Both metals are excellent candidates for use as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells, because of their excellent conductivity. Platinum and palladium make it possible to turn hydrogen into an efficient, powerful, and sustainable fuel source. This potential makes platinum and palladium the standouts among the precious metals for green technologies.

Driven by Precious Metals, the Future Is Green

Although we can’t be sure what the future holds, all signs point toward more industries “going green” at a rapid clip. As interest in sustainability grows, innovative uses for precious metals will only drive demand. If you’re interested in learning more about precious metals, including gold and silver, visit RoslandCapital.com.

How to Research Gold Spot Prices

If you’re considering buying gold or other precious metals, it’s important to understand what “spot prices” are. Unfortunately, this term, along with other industry terms like “bid/ask spread,” “good delivery,” and “troy ounces” can confuse buyers. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems! 

Rosland Capital has published a new blog article that breaks down these concepts. Ready to get started? Read the “How to Research Gold Spot Prices” blog article to learn more.

Five Tips For Buying Gold

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced precious metals shopper, the decision to purchase gold takes a great deal of careful consideration. If you don’t go into making your purchase with the right preparation, you could run the risk of ending up with products that aren’t the right fit for you, or worse, being taken advantage of by less legitimate vendors.

To help put your mind at ease, here are five tips for success when buying gold from a precious metals firm:

1. Have A Clear Goal in Mind

While gold undeniably holds value no matter its purpose, it’s a serious purchase that shouldn’t be made without some serious thought. The decision to include gold and other precious metals in your asset portfolio is one with long-term impacts, and it can be wise to determine the root of your interest in buying gold well before entering a transaction.

Before making your purchase, ask yourself this: why are you buying gold in the first place? Is it to own a thing of beauty that you can show off to the world? Or are you purchasing precious metals to help protect your financial assets? The more confident you feel in your reasoning regarding gold, the easier it will be to commit to the idea and follow through on it.

2. Know What Type of Gold Would Best Suit Your Needs

Once you decide to purchase gold, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with what your options are as far as the types of gold you have to choose from.

With Rosland Capital, for example, you can purchase gold bullion coins, gold numismatic coins (what’s the difference?), and gold bullion bars. With other vendors, consumers could also consider purchasing gold mining stocks, gold ETFs, or gold jewelry. All of these options hold potential value for those interested in buying gold, but it can be helpful to assess which gold products or assets would be the most beneficial in helping you achieve your personal goals.

3. Learn What You Can About The Gold Market

For those unfamiliar with how it works, the gold market and its price fluctuations can seem very confusing. In order to enter into your transaction feeling well-informed, it can be useful to conduct research into the factors that typically trigger gold’s movements on the market and, consequently, when the best time to buy gold would potentially be based on those movements. Seeking out resources like a gold price historical chart can also be helpful in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of gold’s relative maintenance of market value over the years.

4. Research Reputable Precious Metals Firms

With a purchase as significant as physical gold, it’s natural to want to avoid getting scammed. To find a legitimate business to work with, make sure to perform thorough research in order to properly evaluate whether entering a transaction with a particular firm will successfully deliver the gold products you seek and provide you with an excellent customer service experience.

Reputable businesses in the precious metals industry will typically be able to demonstrate their legitimacy through accreditations from trusted organizations, like an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau or a AAA rating from the Business Consumer Alliance. These firms will also typically be able to showcase positive reviews from their satisfied customers in order to further reassure potential new buyers that they aren’t about to be scammed or ripped off.

5. Discuss Your Concerns with a Precious Metals Expert

If you’ve done all of the above steps and still have concerns about purchasing gold, seek out a precious metals expert with the knowledge and experience to address your questions and help you feel more confident in your decision. Firms like Rosland Capital have experienced specialists who can assist potential buyers in safeguarding their wealth and determining their next steps toward acquiring gold.For more information and advice on buying gold, visit Rosland Capital’s “How To Buy Gold” page on our main website as well as our supplementary educational site, Buy Gold 101.

Rosland Capital: First-Time Gold Buyers’ Mistakes

Buying gold as an addition to your asset portfolio is a big decision, and it’s important to proceed carefully in order to ensure that the purchases made will have the potential to bring you the most value possible. That’s why Rosland Capital has produced this useful informational guide to help first-time buyers avoid common mistakes and to feel more confident in their choices.

Take a look at the guide here:

https://www.roslandcapital.com/first-time-gold-buyers-mistakes

The National Debt and Gold Prices: How Are They Related?

Currently, the US national debt is over $28 trillion. In September 2020, the U.S. national debt is neared a staggering $27 trillion. Earlier in the year, around the time that the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact the United States, the national debt spiked by $1.54 trillion in just six weeks.

Around 12 percent of the total national debt is owned by the Federal Reserve, who, as discussed in an earlier blog post, has been purchasing treasury bonds at an elevated rate in order to keep interest rates lower and to diminish the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the American people.

As the national debt has continued to climb over the years, the market price of gold has also gradually increased. The correlation between the two is simple: as our federal government borrows more money and pushes the country into greater debt, the value of our currency decreases. As the U.S. dollar becomes more unstable, consumers look to protect their financial standings with assets like gold and other precious metals, as their inherent value tends to remain relatively steady over the long term.

Many experts believe that the direct nature of the relationship between these two economic players dates back to 1971, when President Richard Nixon called for the removal of the “gold standard” that linked the value of gold to the value of the U.S. dollar. Instead of basing the dollar’s worth on a tangible source of value, like precious metals, the new fiat system operated on trust in the currency and created a debt ceiling for the government to function beneath (a ceiling which has since been broken several times, as seen in the above graph).

So, while the value of U.S. currency no longer consistently moves in tandem with the national debt, the movement of gold prices continues to generally follow the same upward trajectory as the country’s debt levels.

Our fiat system has already been seriously impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic. When operating within an unstable economy, fiat currencies tend to face debasement and become more unstable themselves. As the United States’ financial standing has become more volatile in recent months, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve have continued to take action in response to the volatility that, although temporarily stimulating the economy, has dramatically increased our national debt and further debased the value of the dollar. On the other hand, though, gold has been experiencing a historic rally throughout much of this year.

While it is likely that the national debt will continue to climb rapidly to new heights, and while the fiscal devastation the pandemic has wrought is undeniably terrible for the American public, it is worth noting that consumers still have access to gold as a potential safe haven in order to help protect their assets as they seek to maintain their own financial well-being in the long run.

The Federal Reserve and “Gold Positive Signals”

Since 1913, the Federal Reserve has held control over the United States monetary system and has worked to maintain its stability by creating regulatory policy, supervising banks, and providing services to various financial institutions. When the country is faced with a financial crisis, though, the Fed also has the capacity to employ certain emergency measures in order to keep the economy afloat. Over the last several months, the Fed has had to put these measures into action as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read on to learn more about how the Federal Reserve addressed the economic ramifications of the pandemic, how gold has performed on the market in comparison to the sectors of the economy managed by the Fed during this time, and how various asset classes may fare in the coming months and years.

What is Quantitative Easing?

In short, quantitative easing is a monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government bonds, securities, and other financial assets—regardless of interest rates—in order to stimulate the economy and encourage spending, lending, and investing.

As the nation’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve has initiated quantitative easing in the past as a means of alleviating the impact of financial crises. Following the 2008 recession, the Fed spent trillions on bonds and mortgage-backed securities to inject money back into the economy and to keep the country moving forward.

In March of this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit the United States, countless businesses were forced to suddenly shut down, and millions of American workers were consequently furloughed or laid off. In response, the Federal Reserve brought back its quantitative easing program and quickly expanded its security-purchasing capacity to an unlimited amount in order to soften the economic blow.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 12.39.33 AM

Federal Reserve Chart, The Balance

Why is This Good for Gold?

Historically speaking, times of economic uncertainty have generally proven to be times of strong market performance for gold and other precious metals. Many consider gold to be a financial safe haven due to its reliability as a store of value and the consistent, millennia-old recognition of its purchasing power around the world. So, as the stock market has grown increasingly volatile, the U.S. dollar has decreased in value, and the Federal Reserve has deployed its stimulus efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers have flocked toward gold as a potentially more stable means of safeguarding their wealth.

Gold Price Historical Chart

Gold Price Historical Chart, Rosland Capital

 

In late July, gold hit a new record by surpassing $2,000 per ounce, and it has continued to maintain its market position around that price in the days since. In early 2000, gold wavered between $250 and $300 an ounce, meaning the price has increased by over 600% in the last 20 years.

What Happens Now?

While there’s no way to know our country’s financial future with certainty, some experts have speculated that the economic fallout from the pandemic could continue for years to come, even after effective treatment and/or a vaccine become available and “normal” life is able to resume in full. Despite the Federal Reserve’s mitigation efforts, the United States economy as a whole remains and may remain for some time in an extremely volatile state.

However, when it comes to gold, some analysts are predicting that the price rally is only going to continue—in fact, Bank of America recently raised its 18-month target to an unprecedented $3,000 an ounce. While the lack of clarity for what our economy’s future holds might feel a little disheartening, there is possible hope and stability to be found in the precious metal markets.