Over the last several years, many precious metal investors have found themselves foregoing traditional stocks in favor of actual “physical metal” investments, such as bars, rounds and other types of bullion. While this shift can be partially attributed to some of the present changes occurring in the world’s economic climate and their need to ensure the security of their investments with tangible assets, it can also be due to the increase in the number of operating private mints. With more privately run establishments producing precious metal bullion, investors and collectors are no longer limited to the coins produced by their national mints. Instead, they now have the privilege of choosing from a wide selection of precious metal merchandise from any of the globe’s finest private mints.
Private mints are business owned establishments that are responsible for the production and refining of non-government issued precious metal bullion. In contrast to their government affiliated counterparts, like the US Mint or the Royal Canadian Mint, private mints do not have the authorization to produce any legal tender coins. All government issued pieces of bullion, such as coins, must be commissioned and regulated by nation’s Treasury Department. Any attempts to do so without the treasury’s approval would result in criminal charges of forgery.
Although prohibited from producing coins and other precious metal currency, private mints are at liberty to produce any other forms of bullion, including bars and rounds. Furthermore, they are allowed to produce these pieces without any government imposed restrictions on their design, shape, precious metal composition or mintage. This degree of artistic freedom has led these establishments to produce some of the most beautiful and innovative bullion items ever released by the precious metal industry.
Among the most popular forms of bullion produced by private mints are precious metal bars. These are often a favorite with investors because of their rectangular shape, which allows for easy stacking and storage. They are available in a many sizes ranging from 1 oz to 100 oz with smaller bars better suited for self storage and larger ones best kept in either a bank or depository.
Privately minted bars typically possess a purity of 99.9% or higher and can be composed from a variety of precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium and even base metals, such as copper. While some private mints, such as Johnson Matthey, try to diversify their inventory by producing bars in a variety of precious metals, there are other mints, like the SilverTowne Mint, which attempt to specialize in only one particular type of precious metal bar.
Privately minted bars are available with a wide array of designs and will often display the trademark logos of their original mints. Such is the case with bars produced by PAMP Suisse, which are engraved with the mint’s iconic “Lady Fortuna” image. In addition to expressing their creativity through the bar’s artwork, several mints are beginning to demonstrate their artistry through the texture of the bar itself, like the Atlantis Mint, which has been using the traditional practice of casting to create a more rustic and hand crafted looking bar.
As mentioned previously, privately minted bars are not limited by any government imposed mintage restrictions. This allows the mints to produce them in larger quantities, making them more readily available to the precious metal community. However, customers are advised that while most countries do not have any restrictions regarding the production of precious metal bars, there may be certain limitations on how much precious metal can be invested into personal retirement accounts. Investors should also be aware of their individual state’s or country’s taxation policies regarding the purchase of such items.
Another popular form of bullion produced by private mints is the round. These flat, circular discs are available in smaller sizes usually ranging from 1/10 oz to 1 oz, making them ideal for investors who prefer to store their precious metals in the convenience of their own home. As with bars, privately minted rounds can be composed from a variety of precious metals and will usually possess a purity of 99.9% or higher.
Because rounds are very similar in shape to coins, many mints draw inspiration for their round designs from actual pieces of currency, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf or the Buffalo Head Nickel. These particular rounds are a favorite among coin enthusiasts because they are minted in larger quantities than the original pieces and because they offer them the opportunity to collect a wide range of coin-inspired designs at a fraction of the original’s cost. It is important to note that while these rounds may replicate the details of specific coins, they have no legal tender face value and are not intended to be used as currency.
In addition to honoring historical coin designs, private mints will often release special edition rounds whose artwork celebrates a particular event or occasion, like the Chinese New Year. These usually serve as commemorative souvenirs and will usually possess a lower mintage rate to increase their value. Then, of course, there are certain rounds that display no more than the their mint’s official logo or privy mark. Rounds possessing these simpler designs function primarily as investment pieces and are readily available in larger quantities.
Although not as common as bars and rounds, many private mints have begun creating precious metal bullion pieces in a wide variety of sculpted or molded forms. Like their more conventional counterparts, these figures can be composed from any of the popular precious metals such as gold or silver. While most of these items possess a purity of 99.9%, making them suitable as investments, they are primarily purchased as gifts or collectibles for display purposes due to their unique shapes. Among the more well-known mints that are producing such pieces are NTR Metals, which has released an exclusive collection of bullet-shaped precious metal bullion and the Atlantis Mint, which offers a broad selection of hand poured forms, ranging from alien skulls to eagles.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of purchasing privately minted bullion pieces are the lower premium rates. In most cases, bars, rounds and other non legal tender bullion will possess a significantly lower premium over spot than coins. This is partially due to the lack of government regulation. Without any mintage restrictions by their national treasury, private mints can produce larger quantities of precious metal bullion; consequently, lowering the price of certain collectibles due to their availability. Furthermore, unlike national mints that possess a monopoly on coin production, private mints are in constant competition with each other, which forces them to keep premiums at a reasonable amount in an attempt to gain or maintain business. Ultimately, it is the investors and collectors who benefit from these factors because it enables them to purchase high quality precious metal merchandise at competitive premium rates.
When purchasing privately minted merchandise from JM Bullion, customers can place their orders with full confidence that they will receive a finely crafted, authentic collectible. All privately minted pieces from JM Bullion’s collection have been acquired directly from only the most reputable mints and will undergo a thorough evaluation prior to distribution. To further ensure the security of these investments during the transport process, each package receives complimentary shipping and insurance. For more information about JM Bullion’s wide selection of privately minted merchandise, customers can call 800-276-6508. Additional support is available through the website’s live chat feature or online submission forms.