Gold

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. 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. 

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.

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

Gold and silver have been used for millennia in nearly every culture in the world. 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 both of these metals 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.

Marin Aleksov and Jackie Stewart pose with a limited-edition gold coin donated to Stewart's Race Against Dementia charity.

Rosland Capital Supports Jackie Stewart’s Race Against Dementia

Rosland Capital and CEO Marin Aleksov recently participated in a fundraising event for Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart’s Race Against Dementia charity.

The event, held in Monaco to coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, featured a one-kilogram gold coin from Rosland, minted with Sir Jackie’s racing-era likeness and signature on the front and the classic Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse side.

Only two of these coins will ever be minted. The first was auctioned in Monaco to benefit Race Against Dementia’s mission of finding better treatments, and an eventual cure, for dementia, which afflicts nearly 47 million people around the world today. The remaining coin, the last of its kind and a truly unique collectible, can be seen on Rosland’s website. It includes commemorative packaging, a certificate of authenticity signed by Sir Jackie Stewart, statements of fineness, weight, and proof, and a signature of the authorized Swiss assayer.

Marin Aleksov and Jackie Stewart pose with a limited-edition gold coin donated to Stewart's Race Against Dementia charity.

Rosland CEO Marin Aleksov and Sir Jackie Stewart pose with the 1-kilo coin in Monaco.

Rosland’s donated coin was won at auction by former Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine, with all proceeds going to Race Against Dementia. All told, the Monaco event raised nearly $400,000 for the battle against dementia.

Appearing at the event alongside Sir Jackie, Marin Aleksov said:

“We’re passionate about supporting innovative charities and very excited to collaborate with Sir Jackie Stewart and Race Against Dementia to raise funds for a worthy cause. Sir Jackie Stewart is an icon of motorsport, with a lifetime of achievements; he has effectively used his profile away from the circuit to raise awareness for dementia research. There’s no better way to honour him than in gold, and no better place to auction this unique piece than in Monaco, the crown jewel of the Formula 1 World Championship. I would also like to thank Formula 1 for their support in this charity contribution; it’s fantastic when partners come together to support causes that are important to the Formula 1 community.”

Check out Race Against Dementia’s recap of the event, which includes a number of pictures of the auctioned coin, as well as photos of Marin Aleksov and Sir Jackie Stewart:

Amber Lounge, Monaco (Race Against Dementia news)

Future of Gold Looks Bright

Late last month, gold and silver prices saw new highs. On February 23, anxiety of the new U.S. president and his administration’s new policies caused prices to hit a 3.5-month high.

The momentum continued over the next few days, pushing gold and silver slightly higher in anticipation of President Trump’s speech to the U.S. Congress about his plans for growing the country’s economy.

Managing director of American Precious Metals Advisors and senior economic advisor to Rosland Capital, Jeffrey Nichols, was interviewed about his insight on the recent jump in prices and outlook of precious metals. Here are a few quotes from him:

Scrap Register

In recent weeks, with gold trading in a narrow range and good technical support apparent to all, perceptions of momentum have also shifted and today traders just didn’t want to lose out — or bet against —  a rising market.

Additionally, there has also been a positive shift in inflation and inflation expectations offsetting the expected rise in interest rates. In other words, real ‘inflation-adjusted’ interest rates are falling, and this is — and will continue to be— a big plus for the yellow metal.

Kitco

Gold has a bullish posture considering the metal has been able to rise despite a bearish factor — expectations for higher U.S. interest rates this year.

Benzinga

In my view, an accelerating U.S. consumer-price inflation rate will outpace any increase in nominal rates brought about by the Fed – a trend that will contribute to record high gold prices in the next few years.

Stay up-to-date on precious metal prices with Rosland Capital’s gold and silver price historical charts. You can also head over to Rosland Capital’s products page to view gold and silver coins.

Marin Aleksov Unveils 5kg Coin at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Rosland Capital CEO Marin Aleksov was present at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Friday, November 25 to showcase the latest addition of the Officially Licensed Formula 1 Coin Collection. Aleksov revealed a 5 kilogram gold coin, the most impressive addition to the collection, to reporters and Formula 1 fans in the Paddock Club. Licensed by Stunt & Co and minted by Swiss-based PAMP, the collection also included gold and silver 5oz coins and a .25oz gold coin celebrating the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“We knew we had to deliver something special to the Paddock Club here in Abu Dhabi and our glorious 5kg Gold Coin certainly delivers on that front. It is literally one-of-a-kind and quite simply spectacular,” said Aleksov. “Furthermore, our new 5-ounce Gold and Silver Coins are a welcome addition to our portfolio while we are also delighted to add the special edition one-quarter ounce Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gold coin to our growing collection of bespoke F1 race weekend coins.”

The collection also includes all 21 Formula 1 circuit names on 2.5oz gold and silver coins and a gold 1kg coin. In addition to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the collection also celebrates many of the other very well-known races, including the British, Italian, United States and Brazil Grand Prix.  

You can find more information about the Rosland Capital coin collection here.

 

More photos from the event can be found on Rosland Capital’s Instagram.

MTB Features Rosland Capital Liberty Coin Series

Last month, the Lady Liberty series available from Rosland Capital was featured in a piece on MTB. Minted by Swiss-based PAMP, the gold coins are available in three different designs that display the iconic views of the Statue of Liberty. The obverse shows the Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank­-Broadley.

Head over to the MTB website for more information on the Rosland Capital collection.

lady 3.jpg

 

Why Rosland Capital’s Latest Coin Collection is Unique

In June, Rosland Capital announced it would be the official dealer of the limited edition Formula 1 coin collection that would not only celebrate the 2016 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but also the British, Italian and United States Grands Prix. Minted by Swiss-based PAMP, the coins are available in .25 and 2.5 oz formats. A special Kilo coin was also unveiled at the British Grand Prix in July.

However, these coins are much more special than just their looks. Read more about Rosland Capital’s F1 coins to hear what makes these coins no ordinary keepsake.

Rosland Capital to Distribute Official Formula 1® Coin Collection

Rosland Capital recently announced global distribution of an Official Formula 1® gold and silver coin collection, in celebration of the the FIA Formula One World Championship as well as the British, Italy, the United States and Brazil Grand Prix races. Available in the United States and in the United Kingdom, the front of each of these limited series coins includes a Formula 1® car, the name of the event and the Formula 1® logo. Gold coins celebrating the British Grand Prix™, which will be held July 8-10, 2016, became available on June 15.

The collection also features limited single gold and silver coins with all 21 Formula 1 circuit names printed on the front and includes a certificate number, statement of metal fineness, weight, proof of quality statement, and signature of the PAMP assayer.

The back of each coin in the collection features Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II along with the legal tender value of the coin.

“We are honored to be working with our friends at Stunt & Co. on this endeavor,” said Marin Aleksov, Chief Executive Officer of LA-based Rosland Capital LLC. “The coins are not only a way to celebrate the races, but also a unique keepsake for coin collectors and Formula One fans alike. The history of the races are truly brought to life in the coin series.”

The collection is minted by Swiss-based PAMP and is in association with the global license-holders, Stunt & Co. Ltd. Go to https://www.roslandcapital.com/f1 for more information about the collection or check out more about the Formula 1® Collection from Rosland Capital on Coin Week and on Coin World.