When purchasing precious metals, it is important to determine whether they came from a government mint or a private mint. If you are an investor, knowing where your purchase comes from helps build confidence in the brand and its purity, even though the value of the products that each produces is probably going to be similar. If you are a collector, your purchase’s provenance might be meaningful to you. In either case, it is always a good idea to understand what you are buying beforehand.
Private mints are owned by individuals or companies, not backed up by any government. They produce bullion, which is a name given to precious metals processed for purchase by private investors. Products of private mints are not legal tender, so instead of government identification, they are more likely to bear the brand names or logos of the company that produced them. Private mints, like Sunshine in Idaho and John Masterson’s Beaver Bullion in Canada, can be found around the world. They were often established originally in areas where there were mining operations so that miners could convert the ores that they found to a form that was easier to transport and trade.
Private mints typically produce bullion in the form of bars. It is extremely common for them to produce bullion bars of silver and gold. Copper, rhodium, palladium, and platinum can also be made into bars. The purity of these bars is very high, but the size varies based on the material.
Private mints also produce rounds of bullion that resemble coins. It is more accurate to refer to them as rounds rather than coins because they are not legal tender and have no face value. Bullion rounds have very high purity, however, because they are produced and purchased primarily for investment purposes.
Also called national or sovereign mints, government mints operate with the backing of the applicable authority in that country. Most of the coins that government mints produce are intended for circulation, while some are intended for collectors, and still, others are produced as bullion. However, all are legal tender with a face value.
The Royal Canadian Mint is the sovereign mint of Canada; its silver, gold, and platinum Maple Leaf bullion coins are iconic. The RCM has counterparts in countries all around the world.
The first U.S. Mint opened in the city of Philadelphia, the original capital of the United States. Locations were later added in the South and, following several gold rushes, in the West. Today, the only locations still in operation are in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.
Despite some dollar coins with the appearance of gold, the U.S. Mint does not produce any gold coins for circulation. However, it does produce gold coins for investing and collecting purposes. Gold, platinum, and silver American Eagle coins are popular as a symbol of their country of origin.
The Perth Mint was originally established in Western Australia as a branch of the Royal Mint in Britain while Australia was still a colony. As with the U.S. Mint locations in San Francisco and Denver, the Perth Mint was established to be more convenient for newly discovered gold mines in the western part of the continent. Ownership transferred to the Government of Western Australia in July 1970. Today, it produces legal tender, proof-quality collectors coins as well as bullion from its state-of-the-art facility. These coins often display kangaroos and other uniquely Australian motifs.
The Chinese Mint is located in Hong Kong and operated by the People’s Republic of China. It produces gold bullion of high purity levels. For the last 40 years, it has also produced commemorative coins. Similar to the Canadian Maple Leaf and the American Eagle coins, the Chinese Gold Panda is very popular with collectors.
Whether you are interested in investing in bullion or collecting, you have choices from around the world. Check out the selection available at Colonial Acres Coins.