One of the brightest stars of the precious metals market is the Somalian Elephant Series. This collection of coins is as unique as they come, with an interesting background story, changing designs annually, and perhaps the widest variety of weights and metals you’ll find in any collection. What started as a silver bullion coin program now includes both gold and platinum coins in weights ranging from half-gram sizes up to 1 kilogram.
The Somalian Platinum Elephant is the latest addition to this beautiful collection of coins. While it shares the same annual designs issued each year with its silver and gold counterparts, the platinum coin in this collection is unique in that it is only available as a 1 oz weighted coin. Learn more about this series and the introduction of the Platinum Elephant below!
Issued by the Bavarian State Mint, the Somalia Elephant coins actually originated as a coin issued in the African Wildlife Series for the nation of Zambia. The coins were then known as the Zambian Elephant Series and featured new designs on the reverse every year depicting the African elephant species. The obverse of the coins had the legend, or coat of arms, for Zambia from the 1999 introduction of the series until 2003. Beginning in 2004, the coin series was shifted by the Bavarian State Mint to the Republic of Somalia.
In perhaps one of the more unique twists in modern bullion coinage, there is no evidence to suggest the Bavarian State Mint had the authorization of Zambia to make this switch or support from the Republic of Somalia to back the coins as legal tender. Despite these facts, the coins remain intensely popular due in large part to the beautiful reverse designs which change with each passing year.
Originally, the Zambian/Somalia Elephant Series had strictly limited mintage figures and were only available as the Silver Elephant (1999-present). In 2004, when the Bavarian State Mint shifted the program to Somalia it introduced the Gold Elephant coin into the series (2004-present). In 2016, with platinum prices rising and demand for the metal growing again, the Bavarian State Mint issued the first-ever 2016 Somalia Platinum Elephant coin in bullion and proof options.
As mentioned above, the Somalia Elephant Series originated as a coin collection with only a 1 oz silver coin available (1999-2003). In 2004, the series expanded for the first time to include a Gold Elephant coin alongside the Silver Elephant. In the years to come, particularly during the Great Recession (2008-2010), the Bavarian State Mint began to expand the offering of coins in both silver and gold.
Today, the Somalia Elephant Series focuses heavily on the 1 oz coin in all three metallic options. However, silver buyers will find the Somalia Silver Elephant available in weights that include 1 Kilogram, 10 Troy oz, 1 Troy oz, and as of 2017, fractional-ounce coins. Similarly, the Somalia Gold Elephant coin has grown to include a vast array of weights that include 1 Kilogram, 5 Troy oz, 1 Troy oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, 1/25 oz, 1/50 oz, and even half-gram options. The Somalia Platinum Elephant bullion coin is only available in 1 oz, but there are fractional ounces available in proof.
The 2016 introduction of the Somalia Platinum Elephant coin saw the bullion collection gain a 1 oz option in platinum. That same year saw the introduction of Proof Somalia Platinum Elephant coins that included both the 1 oz coin and fractional-ounce coins. However, those fractional ounce coins are not available for individual sale like the bullion version. The 2016 and 2017 Proof Somalia Platinum Elephant coin sets include a proof 1 oz coin along with ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz options which are not otherwise available to purchase in fractional weights.
These four-coin proof sets arrive in beautiful, black display boxes that feature a lined interior with text that indicates “African Wildlife – Platinum” and the year of issue on the set. Each one comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, and to date, the sets have been strictly limited to just 100 in total.
The Somalia Platinum Elephant coins have a new design on the reverse face every year just like the silver and gold versions of the coin. In any given year, the Somalia Elephant Series coins share the same design across silver, gold, and platinum. For example, the latest 2018 design features a massive African elephant with its trunk seemingly reaching off the surface of the coin to the viewer. In the background field of the coin, you’ll notice dead trees on the savanna and birds taking flight off the remaining branches. Engravings around the design rocker include “African Wildlife” along the top and “Elephant – 1 oz PLATINUM.”
On the obverse of the coins is the coat of arms for the Republic of Somalia. The design includes the national shield with a five-pointed star supported on either side by a leopard. Below the shield and leopards, you’ll find two crossed lances and two crossed ferns. The lances are wrapped in a ribbon. The engravings on this side include the year of issue split on either side of the coat of arms, with “Somali Republic” on the top rocker and the face value below. Each of the Somalia Platinum Elephant coins contains 1 Troy oz of .9995 pure platinum and bear a face value of 1,000 Shillings.
The Somalia Platinum Elephant coins, along with the silver and gold options, are unique in that the coins are not produced in Somalia. The series isn’t even produced on the African continent. Since the 1999 introduction of the coin for Zambia, the Bavarian State Mint has handled the coining of the products in this collection. Founded in 1158, the Bavarian State Mint is the oldest company in operation in the city of Munich. Its rich minting history includes the production of coinage for the autonomous Principality of Bavaria and its local princes. Today, the Bavarian State Mint is entirely owned and controlled by the state government in the Free State of Bavaria and operates as one of the four major mints for the German nation.
The coins in the Platinum Elephant range are available from JM Bullion. If you have any questions about these coins, don’t hesitate to ask. JM Bullion customer service is available at 800-276-6508, online using our live chat, and via our email address.