Precious metal investors tend towards bullion coinage struck in pure gold and silver. The market for gold bullion coins dates back to 1967’s introduction of the Gold Krugerrand by South Africa, while silver bullion coins exploded onto the scene in the 1980s with the introduction of major bullion collections such as the Chinese Silver Panda, American Silver Eagle, and the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Often toiling on the sidelines over the past five decades, platinum bullion coins command the attention of a growing number of investors and collectors. Platinum bullion coins have appeared as part of existing collections such as the American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf, and sprung into their own in series from mints around the globe. Learn all about the platinum bullion coins offered by JM Bullion in the sections below.
Australia is credited as the first major industrialized nation in the world to introduce platinum bullion coinage. This does not mean that other commemorative strikings didn’t occur first, but rather that the nation was the first to offer an investment-grade platinum coin. The authorization of platinum coins from the Perth Mint came in 1987 and the first issue was the Australian Platinum Koala coin in 1988.
The most common platinum coin from Australia today is the Platinum Platypus. Introduced in 2011, the Australian Platinum Platypus features the same design of a platypus on the reverse of the coin each year. On the obverse of the coins is the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Through the 2018 issue of the Platinum Platypus, the Perth Mint has used only the fourth-generation design of Queen Elizabeth II created for the Royal Mint of England in 1998 by Ian Rank-Broadley.
Australian Platinum coins feature 1 Troy oz of .9995 pure platinum and are issued face values of $100 (AUD) by the federal government of Australia.
Canada was the next major nation to issue an annual platinum bullion coin for investors. Adding to its existing Maple Leaf Series in 1988, the Royal Canadian Mint introduced both the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf and Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf. The Platinum Maple Leaf coins feature 1 Troy oz of .9995 pure platinum and feature a face value of $50 (CAD). The RCM issued the Platinum Maple Leaf from 1988 to 2002 with four weights available that included 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz options. From 2003 to 2008, the Platinum Maple Leaf was suspended. Returning to regular production in 2009, the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf now features just a 1 oz coin.
On the obverse side of Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins is the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. The coins issued from 1988 to 2002 have Dora de Pedery Hunt’s third-generation Canadian portrait of Her Majesty. All coins issued after 2009 feature Susanna Blunt’s fourth-generation image of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.
The reverse face of all Platinum Maple Leaf coins contains the design of the sugar maple leaf. The Royal Canadian Mint continues with the design inspired by Walter Ott’s 1979 image for the Gold Maple Leaf’s debut, though modernizations have taken place throughout the past four decades. The modern Platinum Maple Leafs issued after 2015 feature the Royal Canadian Mint’s latest security features, including radial lines in the background field and the micro laser-engraved maple leaf privy mark on the reverse.
Arguably one of the more robust platinum coin collections is the American Platinum Eagle. Introduced in 1997 as the third installment in the American Eagle series behind the Gold Eagle and Silver Eagle, the Platinum Eagle was issued from 1997 to 2008 in both a bullion and proof version with four weights available in each: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. The coins all contain .9995 pure platinum content and featured face values based off the $100 (USD) value of the 1 Troy oz coin.
In 2008, the bullion Platinum Eagle was suspended as the US Mint redirected bullion coin efforts toward meeting the sky-high demand for the Gold Eagle and Silver Eagle coins. The Proof Platinum Eagle continued through the depths of the Great Recession, but only as a 1 Troy oz coin. The bullion coin returned 2014, was skipped in 2015, and has now been issued annually again since 2016. As with the Proof Platinum Eagle though, the bullion Platinum Eagle is now also available only in 1 Troy oz.
What makes the American Platinum Eagle Series unique is the designs. The designs of the bullion version have remained constant since 1997. On the obverse is John Mercanti’s depiction of the Statue of Liberty in a close-up view of her face. The reverse includes Thomas D. Rogers’ design of an American bald eagle flying over the nation.
The Proof Platinum Eagle is a distinct program in its own right. It is the only bullion coin from the United States Mint to feature new obverse designs each year and often features a new reverse design as well. Only one design has ever repeated in the Proof Platinum Eagle Series. The 1997 debut featured the same obverse and reverse images as the bullion coin. Similarly, the 2017 Proof Platinum Eagle brought those designs back to the proof collection to mark the 20th anniversary of the program. In general, the United States Mint selects different program themes for its Proof Platinum Eagle Series.
By in large, the platinum bullion coin market was dominated by the aforementioned coins for decades. It wasn’t until 2016, amid rising prices and demand for platinum, that other mints began to introduce platinum bullion coins. The first expansion came in 2016 when two major bullion coin collections added 1 Troy oz platinum coins to their offering.
The Austrian Platinum Philharmonic and Somalian Platinum Elephant coin both debuted in 2016. Both coins are available only as 1 Troy oz specimens with .9995 pure platinum content. The Austrian Platinum Philharmonic features the same obverse and reverse design elements used on the Gold Philharmonic and Silver Philharmonic coins from the Austrian Mint. Designed by Chief Engraver Thomas Pesendorfer, the obverse includes the Golden Music Hall where the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs. The reverse depicts a collection of musical instruments used by the members of the orchestra.
Somalian Platinum Elephant coins use the same reverse design each year, that of the coat of arms for Somalia. The obverse design of the African Elephant matches the same one used on the gold and silver versions of the coin each year, but the Bavarian State Mint changes this imagery each year to add collectible value to this impressive program. The Platinum Elephant is available in just 1 Troy oz as a bullion coin and is struck in limited mintages as a Proof Platinum Elephant that includes three fractional-weight coins: 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz.
Platinum coins have only continued to grow in popularity beyond 2016. A number of impressive coin programs have been added in recent years that offer investors the chance to buy platinum. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following coins:
Sovereign mints are not the only production facilities to issue platinum coins. There are a limited number of platinum bullion coins struck by the Pobjoy Mint of England, a family-owned mint facility that is the largest of its kind in Europe. These coins are issued for the Isle of Man and feature low-mintage designs.
If you’re interested in buying platinum bullion coins from JM Bullion, you have a lot of options to choose from when buying. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. JM Bullion customer service is available to you at 800-276-6508, online using our live chat service, and via our email address.