Until 2016, many investors and collectors in North America were unfamiliar with the official sovereign mint of the Republic of Korea, better known as South Korea. KOMSCO, or the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation, was founded in October 1951 to provide secure and stable currency production and control for the nation of South Korea. Following the 2016 release of the Chiwoo Cheonwang Series, KOMSCO leaped onto the map globally as a new powerhouse in precious metals product. Learn about these exciting range of South Korean silver bullion medallions below!
The South Korean Chiwoo Cheonwang Series of gold and silver medallions from KOMSCO put the South Korean minting facility at the forefront of investor minds during one of the hottest sales years for many bullion programs around the world. Introduced in 2016, the Chiwoo Cheonwang Series features the image of Chiwoo Cheonwang, a real-life figure whose exploits on the field of battle earned him mythological status among ancient Chinese and Korean people.
KOMSCO uses what it considers a progressive design approach for the Chiwoo Cheonwang medals. By this, it means the designs of Chiwoo Cheonwang on the reverse side change each year, but not just at random. The design elements are meant to follow Chiwoo as he prepares for war and leads his troops into battle. Each design remains focused on his military exploits with a different pose each year. For example, the progression of the designs from 2016 to 2018 went as follows:
The 2020 release of the Chiwoo Cheonwang Series brought with it a new design element present on the obverse. All South Korean silver coins using the Chiwoo shield with the face of Do ggae bi received a new depiction of the hobgoblin-like figure for the 2020 date mark. This new visual element offers enhanced prominence for the eyebrows and nostrils of Do ggae bi on that shield, as well as the addition of horns and a new “smile” on the face of Do ggae bi. This image is based on artwork depicting Do ggae bi held in the Gyeongju National Museum of the Republic of Korea.
When the Chiwoo Cheonwang Silver Medallions were introduced in 2016, the mintage was set at just 30,000. That figure was increased to 50,000 for the 2017 release in response to the initial popularity and then lowered modestly to 45,000 in 2018 as demand for silver began to cool. KOMSCO responded to the lower demand for silver that continued into 2019 by setting the mintage cap for the 2019 release at just 33,000 medals. The Silver Chiwoo was available only in 1 oz silver in 2016 and 2017, but as of 2018, a 10 oz silver bullion option has been introduced as well.
The second major silver bullion series from KOMSCO is the Zi:Sin Series. Similar to the many Chinese lunar-themed collections available in the market, the Zi:Sin Series is a 12-medallion release that focuses on a new figure each year. However, this collection focuses on the mythical warriors that lead god’s armies into battle when the forces of evil threaten the peace and harmony of mankind. The collection debuted in 2017 with the Gallus design, with details of the first three releases through 2018 including:
KOMSCO has responded to the growing popularity of the Zi:Sin Series of silver coins for sale by producing variations in the collection. This movement began with the 2019 introduction of the Scrofa designs in the series. Examples of additional Zi:Sin Series bullion medals include the following:
Proof Zi:Sin Silver Medals are also available in the series. Each one is limited in mintage to 1,000 medals and comes with truly beautiful presentation packaging. The individual medal designs are all the same and come with frosted design elements overlaying mirrored background fields. The medals all come with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity from KOMSCO and arrive with presentation packaging.
The boxes in this series that house the coins reflect the appearance from the obverse of the coin. This design includes Do ggae bi’s image on the battle shield of Chiwoo Cheonwang. The coin is encapsulated inside and is revealed when you open the case down the center to reveal the silver medal within.
The South Korean Tiger Medals debuted from KOMSCO in 2016 alongside the coveted Chiwoo Cheonwang collection, however, the Tiger Medals were initially only available as gold bullion products. It wasn’t until 2018 that KOMSCO introduced a South Korean Silver Tiger Medal option for investors.
The common reverse design in the series features a unique, stylized reverse that depicts the Korean peninsula using traditional Korean language characters to form the shape of the peninsula. As a unifying symbol, there is no demarcation between North and South Korea in the map’s design, only the image of the entire peninsula.
As with other programs, KOMSCO offers differing designs on its Silver Tiger Medals. The 2018 debut of the silver bullion Tiger Medals included a 1 oz silver medal and a 10 oz silver medal, each with its own unique design, and the second release in 2019 also delivered a new design for the 1 oz option. Available designs include:
The 2018 Silver Tiger Medals debuted with a total mintage of 30,000 medals available in individual protective capsules, rolls of 18, or boxes of 90 medals. The 2019 Silver Tiger Medal features a lower mintage of 20,000 medals total with products shipping inside of protective plastic flips, tubes of 25 medals, or a Monster Box of 250 medals (10 tubes in all). The 2018 10 oz Silver Tiger had a mintage of just 2,000 medals and featured a presentation box with Certificate of Authenticity included.
KOMSCO issues its silver bullion medallions with individual and bulk purchase options. For both the Chiwoo Cheonwang Series and the Zi:Sin Series of silver for sale, KOMSCO offers the medallions with either individual protective plastic, mint tubes of 25, or sealed boxes of 250 medallions that includes a total of 10 tubes per box. The Tiger Medallions have a different packaging setup. Individual 2018 Tiger Medallions ship in protective capsules, while multiples of 18 are housed in rolls and boxes are available with a total of 90 medallions.
Both the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service have certified a variety of South Korean silver bullion products from these lineups. The South Korean Chiwoo Cheonwang and Zi:Sin collections both feature low-mintage proof options which have been certified as well. Examples of certifications include:
Known officially as the Korea Printing and Security Printing Corporation, KOMSCO is the government-owned corporation responsible for the production of paper banknotes, circulation and bullion coins, stamps, passports, and other government documents for the Republic of Korea. The mint was founded on October 1, 1951, during the Korean War as a means of providing the South Korean government with secure, stable printing and coining services. Now headquartered in Daejeon, the mint opened a technologically advanced facility in Gyeongsan in 1975 and it produces currency and other products for some 40 other nations.
Introduced in 2020, the new South Korean Silver Phoenix bullion medal captures two different depictions of an animal with a rich history in Korean culture. Referred to in Korean as the “bonghwang,” the Phoenix was first referenced in Korean written texts I the 14th century. It has long been used by various Asian cultures, including those of China and Japan, as a symbol for the monarchy or emperor. Considered a noble creature, the Phoenix is said to have the ability to regenerate itself after living a long life. The bird is famously said to burst into flames and burn to complete ashes, before a young Phoenix rises from the ashes of its ancestor.
Featuring 1 Troy oz of .999 pure silver in Brilliant Uncirculated condition, the new South Korean Phoenix series features two designs of the bird that are distinctly different. These include:
Debuting in 2019, the South Korean Taekwondo Series offers new designs on the reverse field each year depicting the national sport: taekwondo. The history of taekwondo in Korea is relatively new when compared to other forms of martial arts practiced throughout the Asian continent and Southeast Asia. Taekwondo was formulated by martial artists of other backgrounds that came back to Korea following the defeat of the Japanese during World War II.
Indigenous forms of martial arts practiced on the peninsula, including Taekkyon, Subak, and Gwonbeop, were banned during the Japanese Occupation from 1910 to 1945. Returning Korean martial artists with backgrounds in Japanese and Chinese forms of martial arts, predominantly karate, established kwans. These kwans, or schools, were the birthplace of taekwondo. Karate and the aforementioned indigenous Korean forms of martial arts were combined to create a new form of martial arts emphasizing fast movement in kicking and punching techniques, with head-height kicks and jumping, spinning kicks included.
The reverse of the South Korean Taekwondo Series bullion medals have featured the following designs through 2020:
We encourage those silver buyers interested in silver bullion from KOMSCO and the Republic of Korea to reach out to JM Bullion at 800-276-6508. You can connect with us on the web as well using our live chat feature or email address.