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
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
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
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.”
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:
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.