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  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • Palladium

Bullion Products: An Overview


Bullion Products: An Overview

Gold, Silver and Platinum

The three most commonly own precious metals are gold, silver and platinum. Gold is perhaps the most recognizable of all precious metals; since ancient times it has been associated with money, value and beauty. Silver has also been a form of currency for thousands of years. It has become especially popular in recent years due to its affordable low price per ounce. Platinum is an extremely scarce metal with a wide variety of industrial applications. Despite being significantly rarer than gold, it sometimes trades for less than the yellow metal. A complete discussion of gold vs silver is explained here.

Sovereign vs Private Bullion Products

There are two basic categories of precious metals products: sovereign and private issues.

Sovereign mint products are manufactured by world governments, such as the United States Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint of Australia, the Austrian Mint, the Royal Mint (United Kingdom), the China Gold Coin Corp, the Mexican Mint and others. They carry legal tender values in their respective currencies. Since their weight and purity are guaranteed by respected governments, sovereign mint products often trade for a higher premium than privately issued products.

Privately issued bullion items are produced by independent non-governmental mints and refineries. They usually trade for a lower premium than sovereign mint products, but are often manufactured to the same level of quality and purity. When buying privately-issued bullion products, it’s important to stick with name brands that are universally accepted and respected in the marketplace. Investors should look for ISO-9001 certified and LBMA-approved mints.

Coins, Rounds and Bars

There are essentially three major types of bullion products: coins, bars and rounds.

  • Coins: These are sovereign mint products with an official government-backed face value.

  • Rounds: As the name implies, these are round like coins, but are privately-issued (and do not carry a face value).

  • Bars: These are made by both sovereign mints (like the Royal Canadian Mint, Perth Mint, etc) and private mints. In terms of method of manufacture, they can be either struck or poured.