REFERENCE GUIDE TO 2014 WORLD SILVER BULLION COINS

REFERENCE GUIDE TO 2014 WORLD SILVER BULLION COINS 2017-03-24T18:56:37+00:00

Despite the arrival of the first major releases of 2015 bullion coins, the 2014 field continues to grow and fill out with the Libertad just rounding out the field a short while ago. Not all of the America the Beautiful coins are out to buy, but we know they’re coming and what they look like, so happy days there. We know that many of you like to buy sets of world bullion coins instead of just stacking them, and this guide is for you.

The guide isn’t meant to be a comprehensive reference and exists to give a very light overview of the years releases with some high-quality images and some basic info to aid you in choosing which coins you might want to make up a year-set. Images where multiple sizes are available will be of the industry flagship one-ounce coin, unless otherwise stated and where there’s just a big reverse side image, roll your mouse over to see the obverse. Any errors please let me know as this took far longer to compile than I imagined and if I’m brutally honest, there was some brain-melt along the way. AgAuVIEWS are my own opinions.

Despite being up for pre-order at a major US dealer, we’re told that there will not be 2014 Andorran Silver Eagle, and there are no signs of the Russian George the Victorious reappearing either. The Suriname Map coin has disappeared along with the mint that produced it. The NZ Mint Kiwi is not a coin as it carries no denomination, and the NZ Post Kiwi is fundamentally a numismatic.

05 SEPT 2014 – REINSTATED SALTWATER CROCODILE

05 SEPT 2014 – ADDED SISTER CITIES COIN (Kudos to whinfell on Silverstackers for the heads-up)

06 SEPT 2014 – ADDED ARCTIC FOX COIN which I forgot despite already covering the thing. Faceslap needed.(Kudos to Vasek for the heads-up)

10 SEPT 2014 –  ADDED AUSTRALIAN STOCK HORSE after rethinking its exclusion on the grounds it was sold more as a numismatic

14 OCT 2014 –  ADDED BENIN ELEPHANT another one I thought I’d ticked off as done and hadn’t. Thanks to Zeeman for noticing

UNITED STATES MINT

 

First released on 24 November 1986, the coin is produced at three mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco and West Point. Available only as a one-ounce coin, it remains by far the most popular bullion coin in the world due mainly to being purchased in large quantity, by large organisations as a store of wealth; the fact they’re from the United States gives them a market solidity equalled only by the British Gold Sovereign in modern history. While coin collectors do buy them, and they remain the silver stackers coin of choice, the big negative from the numismatists perspective is that since they debuted some 28 years ago, the design hasn’t changed. Over 350 million of them have been struck in this period.

The design at least is quite superb. The classic Walking Liberty by Adolph A. Weinman from 1916 has only really been equalled by a couple of the Royal Mints Britannia designs, and John Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle obverse shouts ‘United States’ to anyone that sees it. A classic.

AgAuVIEW: A very attractive design on both sides doesn’t deflect the basic problem of its sheer ubiquity. In the context of this article, an essential coin to have as part of an annual set of world releases, but the desire to have a chronological sequence of these from 1986 to 2014 just isn’t there. Recent news that the speculated change to a new reverse design  isn’t going to happen is a huge missed opportunity. A speculators coin, not a general numismatic collectors one who would be better served with proof versions. Availability is widespread and simply not an issue.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE In the centre, behind a shield carrying the words E PLURIBUS UNUM, is a heraldic eagle clasping an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left, echoing the Great Seal of the USA. Above this sit the 13 stars of the early colonies. Surrounding that are the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1OZ FINE SILVER, and the denomination, ONE DOLLAR.
OBVERSE In the background around the top half of the edge sits the inscription LIBERTY. The main body is taken up by the ‘Walking Liberty’ design taken from the 1916 Half Dollar coin. At the base sits the date, and to the lower-right the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST. Below the Eagle to the left is the mint-mark.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.6mm, weight is 31.103g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED. For comparison, 2013 sales were 42,675,000 and 2014 is running at similar levels.

UNITED STATES MINT

Released as a series of five different coins in a calendar year, each with, in bullion terms, a low mintage. A pretty unique range being available only in a 5oz format, and spread over 12 years in total if you want one of each of the 56 designs. The artwork shines for these because of the extreme diameter for their weight, being even larger than the 10oz Noahs Ark, for example. The coins are generally available worldwide although the widely fluctuating mintage levels have made sourcing difficult if you delay.

AgAuVIEW: Beautifully done, constantly changing, reasonably priced and highly collectable. One of the stars of the silver bullion world and a solid investment.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE The main central are contains an image representing the National Park in question. In a surrounding ring includes multiple inscriptions. At bottom is the date (2014), at lower-left is the State location, at top the subject name, and at lower right the phrase E PLURUBUS UNUM.
OBVERSE A profile portrait of George Washington with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at top, QUARTER DOLLAR at bottom, LIBERTY at left, and IN GOD WE TRUST at right.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, smooth rim with incused inscriptions carrying the weight and fineness. Diameter 76.2mm, weight is 155.5g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE Currently; Smoky Mountains is 29,500. Shenandoah & Arches at 20,000.

NATIONAL BANK OF UKRAINE

 

A coin that’s very difficult to pick up outside of Ukraine, the artwork is classic early Russian/East European in design, carrying as it does strong Christian imagery. Also available in gold, only the one-ounce format is struck in silver and was first made available in 2011. It has been continuously struck since then, in stark contrast to the Russian George the Victorious coin that comes and goes to an unknown schedule.

Designed by Volodymyr Taran, Oleksandr Kharuk and Serhii Kharuk, and engraved by Roman Chaikovskyi and Sviatoslav Ivanenko, they’re not one of the cheaper coins, but there are a couple of people on ebay that regularly put them up.

AgAuVIEW: A numismatic collectors ideal bullion coin; hard to get, limited mintage, cool design, and available for reasonable money. Definitely one to add to the more esoteric collection if you can track one down.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts the Taxiarch Archangel Michael; there is a circular inscription: …ЗА НАС І ДУШІ ПРАВЕДНИХ, І СИЛА АРХІСТРАТИГА МИХАЇЛА/ FOR US AND SOLES OF RIGHTEOUS MEN, AND ARCHISTRATEGOS MICHAEL`S STRENGTH (lines from T. Shevchenko`s `Haydamaks`).
OBVERSE At top is the Small Coat of Arms of Ukraine with the inscription НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ БАНК УКРАЇНИ (National Bank of Ukraine), in the coin center, within the octagonal cartouche, there is depicted a shield with the emblem of the National Bank of Ukraine thereon – allegorical figures of griffins with the hryvnia (monetary-weight unit of Kyivan Rus) placed between them. This emblem symbolizes safeguarding and augmentation of the country`s gold reserves. On the coin obverse there are indicated the coin face value, coin issue year, as well as the indications of the metal and its fineness and coin weight in fineness.
APPEARANCE 0.9999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.6mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE Doesn’t appear to be pre-set. For 2013 the mintage stood at 24,500, up from 20,000 in 2012.

ROYAL CANADIAN MINT

 

Starting in 2013 with a coin depicting the Polar Bear, the RCM started a series of wildlife coins whose main selling point was the unusual weight of 1.5 ounces. This second coin in what appears to be an annual release for Lear Capital, depicts the Arctic Fox. Designed by Maurice Gervais, it’s a fine looking piece and would make a great coin for any collection.

There are a few issues, however. Firstly, the opportunity hasn’t been taken to increase the diameter of the coins and instead the added weight has gone on thickness. With the Perth Mint doing 1oz coins at 45.6mm diameter (Lunar), would it have been too much to at least have matched that and allow the super artwork to shine?

Secondly, premiums on the coin are higher despite the added weight, although they have settled down a bit in many places. Finally, what’s the point of bringing out an attractive, semi-numismatic bullion coin and then not keeping the quality up? We know it’s bullion at the end of the day, but whereas the Maple is nothing more than that, this is sold as being special. Our own experience of the Polar Bear and the prevalence of milk-spots indicates it isn’t.

AgAuVIEW: A beautiful coin and one that every collector should get, but we really shouldn’t have to go to so much trouble to get a good one. Is it bullion or is it numismatic. Someone needs to decide.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts an Arctic Fox on the ice with a glacier field in the background. To the right is the inscription 9999 representing the fineness, at the top CANADA, and to the bottom, FINE SILVER 1 OZ ARGENT PUR. The artists initials ED (Emily Damstra) are also incorporated.
OBVERSE Depicts the Susannah Blunt effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the inscription ELIZABETH II at top and the monetary denomination and date, 8 DOLLARS 2014, at bottom.
APPEARANCE 0.9999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 37.5mm, weight is 46.6g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
2.0oz 1.5oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 500,000 (unconfirmed)

THE PERTH MINT (FOR GOLDLINE)

 

The second coin struck for Goldline in the US, this one has the famous Second World War naval engagement, The Battle of the Coral Sea, as its subject. Fought from 04-08 May 1942 between the United States Navy (USN) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), while a tactical victory for Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue, it was the first time that the Allies had managed to check the advance of Japanese forces. The battle is also known for being the first in which aircraft carriers engaged each other and where neither sides vessels sighted or directly fired upon one another.

Available only as an unlimited mintage 1/2oz coin, although a 1/10oz gold version is also to be released, it’s a true bullion coin being available in tubes of 25 or monster boxes of 500.

AgAuVIEW: We like this a lot, but don’t see it as a rapidly appreciating numismatic, more of a decent, novel bullion coin more tightly tied to the spot price. A refreshing change from all the animal coins.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Features a representation of the Southern Cross and the American flag with a naval ship sailing in the foreground. The design includes the inscription BATTLE OF THE CORAL SEA, WAR IN THE PACIFIC 1941-45, and The Perth Mint’s traditional ‘P’ mintmark.
OBVERSE Depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the 2014 year-date, and the monetary denomination
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 32.0mm, weight is 15.591g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED

MCI-INTERNATIONAL

 

Minted in Germany for MCI, a Berlin-based coin producer, this is the first in what was designed to be a constantly changing series of small run bullion coins. Originally proposed to be a coin that would be replaced at irregular intervals with a new design when the old one sold out, to date only this first coin has been released.

The design is pretty decent and seems to be popular. We look forward to seeing what comes next. There is a one-kilogram version of the coin available, but only in a very limited release of 99 pieces at a high price.

AgAuVIEW: Makes a fine addition to a collection along with the Somali Elephant and others. Outright collectability will depend on where the series goes from here.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a walking elephant in the centre surrounded by the inscription ‘PROTECTION DE LA NATURE – ELEPHANT DU BENIN 2014’ and the weight & purity. Surronding the inscription are 12 profile elephants readiating from the centre.
OBVERSE Depicts the national emblem of Benin and the denomination of 1,000 FRANCS
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, prooflike finish, reeded rim. One ounce diameter is 38.61mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 5,000

ROYAL CANADIAN MINT

 

This is the first release in a new four-coin series called ‘Birds of Prey’, effectively Canadian Wildlife series 2. Like the earlier range, there will be two of these released this year and two next year. The coins will be limited to one million pieces, which while a staggering amount for all but a handful of the competition, represents less than 5% of the mintage of the RCM’s flagship silver bullion coin, the Maple Leaf.

The previous range of six coins sold out, but developed a reputation for milk-spots, a phenomenon reportedly caused by the baking on of chemicals used during the striking process. While the RCM have meticulous standards when it comes to their proof ranges, their bullion coins are seen as just a piece of precious metal. While that’s a valid point for the Maple, although not an agreeable one, these coins are seen as semi-numismatic and should be held to higher standards.

While writing, the second and last coin for 2014 has hit the market and it’s very much in the same vein. The coin features a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) just having caught a fish. The eagle dominates the image, its stunning wings spread wide as it is viewed in full-body profile from its left side. Here we see the bald eagle’s characteristic dark body and wings, white head and tail, and powerful legs and talons. It is in all other respects apart from the reverse-side artwork, identical to the Peregrine Falcon coin.

AgAuVIEW: Beautiful coins and with a far better design than the generally mediocre Canadian Wildlife series that preceded it. The mintage hasn’t been a hinderance to prices of the first series firming up and we’d expect this one to do well. The only potential problem is the Royal Canadian Mints poor attitude to milk-spotting on its bullion coins, a crying shame given how well struck they are, so buy from a helpful dealer if you can.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a Peregrine Falcon in flight about to strike. To the right is the inscription 9999 representing the fineness, at the top CANADA, and to the bottom, FINE SILVER 1 OZ ARGENT PUR. The artists initials ED (Emily Damstra) are also incorporated.
OBVERSE Depicts the Susannah Blunt effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the inscription QUEEN ELIZABETH at top and the monetary denomination and date, 5 DOLLARS 2014, at bottom.
APPEARANCE 0.9999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.0mm, weight is 31.110g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 1,000,000

HEIMERLE + MEULE

 

Minted in Germany by Heimerle + Meule, this one has been going since 2009 and at various times has had different sizes available (1kg for sure). Nowadays they seem to have moved away from coins and into legal-tender bars and coin-rods, as well as credit-card sized snap-off bars, the latter of which being of dubious usefulness in silver. We’re half-way through a guide that never seems to get finished due to the unreliability of the information around it, but the 1oz coin is real and available.

We don’t know near enough about the weights and mintages, even what is specifically available for 2014 outside of the one-ounce coin. Sadly the mint isn’t particularly responsive, but we’ll keep trying.

AgAuVIEW: Nice enough but quite hard to track down. A good addition to a one-ounce collection

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a representation of a sailing ship, Captain Cooks HMS Bounty. Below is the inscription  1 DOLLAR, under which sits the inscribed weight and composition.
OBVERSE Depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the 2014 year-date, and the issuing country.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. One ounce diameter is 38.7mm, weight is 31.135g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNKNOWN

THE ROYAL MINT

 

2014-BRITANNIA-SILVER

The Britannia has been issued by the United Kingdom via The Royal Mint since 1987 and made its leap to silver in 1997. The first full bullion release came in 1998 and it quickly established itself as something a little exotic compared to the Eagles and Maples. A combination of a tiny mintage (in 2011, over 400 Eagles were minted for every Britannia) and an attractive changing design meant they soon became a keen buy for collectors, although a higher premium above spot than the high-volume competition hampered their appeal for the bullion stacker. For 2013 the coin transitioned from its staple Britannia Silver (95.8% pure) up to the industry standard 0.999 (99.9% pure). At the same time the design that had previously changed fairly regularly, was standardised on the design you see for the 2014. Overnight the vast bulk of the coins numismatic appeal was gone. To compensate the Royal Mint now issue limited sets of proof Britannia coins depicting an all-new design every year. Both the 2013 and 2014 have been truly gorgeous pieces, but premiums are amongst the highest in the industry.

The coins now have an unlimited mintage and are very easy to obtain worldwide. For a British silver bullion coin with a limited mintage you’ll now have to look to the first-ever UK Lunar range of coins which started in 2014 with the Horse. In December 2013 the Royal Mint stated there had been a production error whereupon the obverse dies between the Britannia and the Lunar Horse had been mixed up. As a result, some 17,000 Britannias have the Lunar Horse obverse missing the dentil pattern abutting the rim. These carry a hefty premium and are called ‘mules’.

Other variants include one available from A-Mark in the US in which the rim has a lunar symbol stamped on it, and a 1/4oz version with Gairsoppa stamped on the rim in honour of the source of the silver used to stamp them being that raised from the wreck of the WW2  freighter, SS Gairsoppa by Odyssey Marine last year.

AgAuVIEW: Despite the disappointment of fixing the bullion coin on a set design, the Philip Nathan Artwork is beautiful regardless, and like the American Silver Eagle deserves to be part of any annual collection. Chronological collections are equally beautiful, but worth doing from 1997-2014 only, which will get you a terrific set of designs and would be called the 958 collection in deference to the 0.958 silver used until 2013. The 2014 coin has a limited numismatic appeal and buy from a reputable dealer if you want a good grade one, as quality is a little lower due to the change to the softer 0.999 silver.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts Britannia in a flowing gown wearing an ancient helmet. In her right hand is a trident, in her left an olive branch and a shield carrying the image of the Union Flag. Around the edge is the inscription BRITANNIA 2014 1oz 999 FINE SILVER. At the bottom incorporated into the main design is the artist name ‘NATHAN’. A crenellated pattern abuts the rim.
OBVERSE Depicts the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the inscription ‘ELIZABETH II D.G’, ‘REG FID DEF’ and ‘2 POUNDS’ surround the portrait. A crenellated pattern abuts the rim.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.61mm, weight is 31.10g, thickness 3.0mm.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED

B.H. MAYER (REPUBLIC OF GABON)

 

Now in its fifth year of release, this coin has seen a fair few changes in it’s short life, none related to the primary artwork. Inscriptions have changed and so has the issuing state. Originally for the African country, Malawi, the coin is now issued for the Republic of Gabon and has been renamed ‘The African Springbok’. To say the design was heavily inspired by the iconic gold bullion round, the South African Krugerrand, would be no exaggeration, but the coin art looks good, as does the emblem of Gabon on the obverse.

It’s not one of the easiest of silver bullion coins to obtain, but several dealers and ebayers sell them. Premiums are higher than the more common coins as you would expect, but it makes a good purchase for the collector of the ever-growing range of African bullion coins like the Rwandan Wildlife, Somali Elephant and Benin Elephant for example. An example of a good themed set that eschews the obvious but stands together as a coherent collection.

AgAuVIEW: An attractive coin, well-struck by a top-class mint and restricted to 30,000 pieces. A good one for any collector, although premiums rule it out as a stackers choice.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a running Springbok off the ground above which is the inscription THE AFRICAN SPRINGBOK. At the bottom is the description .999 FINE SILVER 1 OZ, with the date 2014 split to left and right. A circle in which sits 5th Anniv. is placed to the left and will likely be gone for 2015.
OBVERSE Depicts the emblem of the Republic of Gabon surrounded by the inscription REPUBLIQUE GABONAISE at top and the monetary denomination, 1000 FRANCS CFA, at bottom.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.61mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 30,000

PERTH MINT (FOR APMEX)

The Perth Mint has dropped an unexpected new surprise and it’s that most popular of items, a silver bullion coin. It’s being billed as from the ‘Wildlife Series’. It’s only available from large American precious metal dealer APMEX, but it’s extremely well priced given the source and obvious care put into the design. Whether further releases in the range will be APMEX-exclusive or not we don’t yet know, but as the kick-off of a new range its a solid start.

Only available in the 1/2 oz format, it can be bought in tubes of 25 or monster boxes of 500. Despite the bullion prices, we’d be surprised if aftermarket values didn’t rise higher than the spot price to see it attain a solid semi-numismatic status like the Royal canadian Mints ‘Canadian Wildlife’ series.

AgAuVIEW: Great coin, premium not excessive, mintage reasonable and the first in a new series. What’s not to like?

FACTSHEET
REVERSE designed by Natasha Muhl, features a detailed great white shark with silhouettes in the background. The inscription GREAT WHITE SHARK is also included in the design with The Perth Mint’s traditional ‘P’ mintmark and coin specifications.
OBVERSE bears the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the monetary denomination and the 2014 year date.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 32.0mm, weight is 15.591g, thickness 2.0mm.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 300,000

PERTH MINT

 

Along with the Kookaburra and the Lunar Series, the Koala is one of a triumvirate of key silver bullion coins produced by industry favourite the Perth Mint for their own sales. Traditionally the only one with an unlimited mintage one-ounce coin, the range is actually available in four main sizes. A 1/10 oz coin is produced and sold on a card , but although it has a bullion finish and an equally unlimited mintage, it’s considered more of a full numismatic piece and carries a premium reflecting that.

This years coin originally took some flak for its design, but it’s fair to say that most have warmed to it. As with all the Perth Mints three main silver bullion ranges, the design is far more important to its success than would be the case for the more stackable coins out there, like the Eagle and the Maple. A healthy range of proof, high-relief, coloured etc. variants go a long way to maintaining interest in the range. The high-relief proof version is a particularly attractive variant.

AgAuVIEW: One of the great numismatic bullion coin ranges of recent times, collecting of these is a staple for many and unlikely to change anytime soon. Despite unlimited mintages, numbers have never been excessive, so prices are firm. A good buy.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Designed by Michael Guilfoyle, it depicts a close-up portrait of a koala with the inscription AUSTRALIAN KOALA at top, and 2014 1oz 999 SILVER at bottom. The P mintmark is to the left and the artists initials MG are incorporated into a leaf in the artwork.
OBVERSE Depicts the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the inscription ELIZABETH II at top-left, AUSTRALIA at top-right and I DOLLAR at the bottom.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. For the 1oz version, diameter is 40.6mm, weight is 31.135g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED

PERTH MINT

 

Along with the Koala and the Lunar Series, the Kookaburra is one of a triumvirate of the Perth Mints key silver bullion coins. Available in a limited range of just three sizes leaning towards the larger end, they’ve nearly all featured some beautiful artwork, which comes to life on the large diameter planchets that Perth uses. The 2014 design is very attractive and perfectly depicts the worlds largest member of the Kingfisher family.

As with all the Perth Mints three main silver bullion ranges, the design is far more important to its success than would be the case for the more stackable coins out there, like the Eagle and the Maple. A healthy range of proof, high-relief, coloured etc. variants go a long way to maintaining interest in the range. The high-relief proof version of this is, like the Koala, a particularly attractive variant.

AgAuVIEW: Another one of the great numismatic bullion coin ranges of recent times, and an even nicer and more extensive history than the Koala series. The 1 oz coin with its limited mintage is the star of the range and a worthy buy.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Designed by Natasha Muhl, it depicts a kookaburra on a tree branch with the inscription AUSTRALIAN KOOKABURRA at top, and 2014 1oz 999 SILVER at bottom. The P mintmark is to the left and the artists initials NM are incorporated into the branch in the artwork.
OBVERSE Depicts the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the inscription ELIZABETH II at top-left, AUSTRALIA at top-right and I DOLLAR at the bottom.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, reverse-proof finish, reeded rim. For the 1oz version, diameter is 40.6mm, weight is 31.135g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED except the 10z which is limited to 500,000

BANCO DE MEXICO

First introduced in 1982 by the Mexico City Mint, the design uses elements of the almost century old Gold 50 Peso Centenario frst struck in 1921 to commemorate one hundred years since achieving independence from Spain. An iconic design by any standards, like the American Eagle and the British Britannia, it’s  a coin steeped in history, something of great appeal to collectors of numismatics.

Available in a range of seven sizes since 1996, the 1/10oz and especially 1/20oz are little more than curios to the stacker, having unattractive spot premiums. Far better in our view, with the current interest in silver, to go upwards towards a 10oz or even 1kg bullion coin. The current 1kg is a proof-like coin.

AgAuVIEW: Another big favourite and for good reason. While the design rarely changes, numbers are far less than the big guns and it’s a good looker. Should be a part of any 2014 set and premiums aren’t massive for the stacker.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE features the Winged Victory angel (Angel of Independence), seen with the broken chains of bondage in her left hand as well as a laurel leaf held in her raised right hand. In the background are the two most famous Mexican volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl.
OBVERSE displays the Mexican National Seal, wrapped around the outer edge of the silver coin. Featured in the center is an eagle perched atop a cactus, wings outstretched while gripping a serpent in its beak and talon. Surrounding the eagle is a wreath with the official name of Mexico: “Estados Unidos Mexicanos.”
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. One ounce has diameter 40.0mm, weight is 31.103 g, thickness 3.0mm.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE VARIABLE

PERTH MINT

 

Probably the range of bullion coins most anticipated on the calendar each year, the Perth Mints Lunar series is now approaching its 20th year and undertaking its second time through the Asian lunar calendar. Considered the Perth Mints flagship range from its big three, despite a broadening of choice this year with the Saltwater Crocodile, Great White Shark and Coral Sea coins, that remains the case with interest exceeding that shown in the Koala and Kookaburra ranges.

It certainly helps that the range of sizes is extraordinarily complete, from 1/2oz all the way up to a 10kg behemoth with a 220mm (9″) diameter. The star of the range is the one-ounce coin because of its strictly limited mintage of just 300,000. There’s been a little stretching of this through the issuing of privy mark coins, which while a pretty cool thing, rapidly annoys collectors when numbers hit an extra six-figures. In our view the should be limited to under 50,000 at most. Also aiding popularity are the relatively huge sizes of the coins. The 1oz for example, is 45.6mm in diameter, much bigger than the standard 38.61 or even 40.6mm that most of the other one-ounce bullion coins are struck to.

As we write, the Lunar Goat is putting in an appearance and interest will skyrocket again. The fixed 12-year cycle makes collecting these into sets a popular activity.

AgAuVIEW: The one to get, especially in 1oz form. The coins are attractive, very well struck and available to suit a huge range of budgets. A bewildering array of specials flames interest, from proof sets, through coloured-coins, to gilded variants.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Designed by Tom Vaughan, depicts a pair of horses by a stream with trees and rocks in the background. The Chinese lunar symbol for horse sits at the top, with Year of the Horse inscribed at the bottom. To the right are the P mintmark and the artists initials, TV.
OBVERSE Depicts the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the inscription ELIZABETH II at top-left, AUSTRALIA at top-right and I DOLLAR at bottom-right and 999 SILVER at bottom-left. The date, 2014, sits at the bottom..
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. For the 1oz version, diameter is 45.6mm, weight is 31.135g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED, EXCEPT 1oz AT 300,000 AND 10kg AT 200. 1kg REMAINS AVAILABLE UNTIL END OF SERIES.

ROYAL CANADIAN MINT

 

The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a bullion coin issued annually by the government of Canada and minted by the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM). First hitting the market in 1988, the now iconic design has seen huge sales, second only the the American Silver Eagle. Like the Eagle, it has a limited numismatic value compared to most other silver bullion coins due to that huge mintage and a design that doesn’t really change.

The lack of bigger sizes doesn’t help matters either, firmly placing the Maple, along with the Eagle and the Austrian Philhamoniker, as pure bullion coins whose value is intrinsically linked to it’s precious metal content only. They do issue annual Privy Mark coins around the world that many collect, which helps somewhat, but its primarily a way to buy lots of silver with a minimal penalty over the silver spot price.

AgAuVIEW: A great stackers choice, but not one for the numismatist. The 2014 has added interest with the new high-security design, but it’ll soon be back to business as usual.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts the classic Maple Leaf symbol in the centre, with CANADA inscribed at top, and 9999 to the left and right representing the fineness. FINE SILVER 1OZ ARGENT PUR is inscribed around the bottom. A laser-produced micro-engraving of a textured maple leaf incorporating the numeral “14” to denote the coin’s year of issue sits below the leaf.
OBVERSE Depicts the Susannah Blunt effigy Queen Elizabeth II, with the inscription ELIZABETH II at top, and 5 DOLLARS 2014 at bottom,  the date, and the monetary denomination
APPEARANCE 0.9999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Radiating lines for security. Diameter 37.97mm, weight is 31.103g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED and second only to the American Silver Eagle in numbers, >20m.

POBJOY MINT

 

2014-IOM-ANGEL

One of the lesser known bullion coins, but certainly one of the nicest, the Isle of Man Angel has been around in various incarnations since 1984 when the Isle of Man government first gave the Pobjoy Mint the commission to produce a bullion coin. It won a “Coin of the Year” award in it’s first year, and since then has been produced in gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

In 2008, the Isle of Man government introduced a new design, the coins third, bringing back some features of the first design including Michael’s feathered wings and the Celtic band around the border. Now for 2014, it’s back in Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) form.

AgAuVIEW: A good looking coin with a relatively high premium, but coming with a C.O.A. Of a similar design style to the Britannia, American Eagle and Libertad, it would be a good addition to a display of those.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts the Archangel St.Michael slaying a dragon in a classic Good over Evil pose. Under this is inscribed the purity and weight, along with the word ANGEL.
OBVERSE Depicts a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by an inscription bearing her name, along with the words, ISLE OF MAN 2014
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.6mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED, but most likely nowhere near 50,000

NEW ZEALAND MINT

 

Turtle 1 oz Silver 

A direct evolution of the widely liked Fiji Taku bullion coin, that coins production ended in 2013 when Fijiian government demands made minting the coin economically unattractive. Keeping the same great artwork but replacing the words Fiji Taku with Turtle, it isn’t the most dramatic of refreshes, but it’s arguable the original was a classic anyway.

Available in a range of three sizes, there are also gold, and a numismatic variant available, and maybe to come. Now issued for Niue, with whom the New Zealand Mint has a long-standing relationship, this would appear to be a new ongoing design and should be more readily available than the Taku was, and at lower premiums.

AgAuVIEW: The welcome return of a favourite that has always struggled for attention, this one is off to a good start. Definitely one to grab for the set.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a stylised image of a Hawksbill turtle, also known as the Taku, swimming in shallow waters amidst tiny bubbles. In a crescent shaped area is inscribed the word TURTLE. At the base is inscribed the words FINE SILVER .999 and the weight.
OBVERSE Carries the classic Ian Rank Broadley profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the inscriptions ELIZAETH II, NIUE, TWO DOLLARS and 2014.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. One ounce has diameter 40.5mm, weight is 31.1g
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 200,000 (1oz),  50,000 (5oz) UNKNOWN (½oz)

CENTRAL BANK OF ARMENIA

 

The “Noah´s Ark” is a silver bullion coin issued by the Central Bank of Armenia but produced at a German private mint, Leipziger Edelmetallverarbeitung. They’re not sold by the Central Bank of Armenia but by Geiger Edelmetalle GmbH and other European dealers. The coin is legal tender in the Republic of Armenia at its face value.

Available in a huge range of seven sizes from 1/4oz up to 5kg, there’s something for every budget and the design is different to every other bullion coin out there. Premiums are very reasonable, with the 5kg especially looking an absolute bargain compare to the 10kg Perth Mint Lunar.

NOAHS-ARK-RANGE

AgAuVIEW: Another great coin design, big and sensible range of sizes, competitive premiums and for the stacker, the tubes are sealed with a gas to keep the coins pristine. A textbook example in how to do a bullion range.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts Noah´s Ark, a white dove with an olive branch in the beak and Mount Ararat with a rising sun in the background. The edge of the coin is inscribed “Noah´s Ark” in Armenian and English. Designed by Armenian Artist Eduard Kurghinyan.
OBVERSE The coin´s obverse depicts the Armenian Coat of Arms, face value of the coin in Armenian Dram, inscription “Republic of Armenia” in Armenian and English, the purity, the weight and the year of issue of the coin. The eagle and the lion on the coat of arms were traditional symbols used by the first Armenian Kingdoms around two millenia ago. To the left of the arms is the LEV mintmark.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. One ounce has diameter 38.6mm, weight is 31.103g
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED

BANK OF CHINA

 

With their new mintage of eight million, this has become the most heavily produced annually-changing bullion design in the world. Outsold by only the Eagle, the Maple, and usually the Philharmoniker, there’s no doubt that it’s possible to pick these up at better prices than in the past, but at the cost of healthy early increases in value.

A beautiful design every year and struck to a very high quality, this has become one of the ultimate semi-numismatic coins of modern times. While the 2014 coin is generally seen as being not as pretty as the 2013 coin, it’s still a fine design that’s better than most of the other coins out there. Series collectors are going to have to hunt around and dig deep in the wallet to get a set, but those collecting a year set will find this an essential addition. It’s still a little pricey to be a stackers choice, but 600-coin monster boxes are available at higher, but not exorbitant premiums than the other high-mintage bullion coins.

AgAuVIEW: A perennial favourite, despite the ever increasing mintages, the great designs and history of appreciation means they’ll remain a favourite for some time to come. Essential in our view.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a Panda holding onto a branch in front of a line of Bamboo along with the denomination and purity.
OBVERSE Depiction of the Temple of Heaven in the center with Chinese characters on top saying “中华人民共和国” meaning People’s Republic of China and the bottom the year of issue
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, BU finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.00mm, weight is 31.1035g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 8,000,000

AUSTRIAN MINT

 

Easily one of the most popular silver bullion coins in the world, the Philharmoniker is produced by the Austrian Mint (Muenze Oesterreich) and keeps the same design every year. First produced in 2008 and a copy of the design used on the gold Philharmoniker, the coin carries a face value of €1.50 and is available in 500-coin monster boxes or tubes of 20.

It’s only available as a one-ounce coin and as a bullion coin, but it sports a design different to just about everything else out there and deserves attention for that alone.

AgAuVIEW: Beautiful design but along with the Eagle and the Maple, it’s another repeating design struck in huge numbers. A great stackers coin but not a collectors one. 

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a harmonious assortment of musical instruments, including a string bass, cellos, violins, a bassoon, a harp and a Viennese horn.
OBVERSE Shows the great organ of the Musikverein concert hall in Vienna, the orchestra’s home, along with the face value, weight, fineness and year of issue.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, smooth rim. Diameter 37.0mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED, but 2011 mintage in excess of 17,000,000

THE ROYAL MINT

 

The first British lunar bullion coin ever released, the Year of the Horse represents the debut of a new series, all to be designed by Chinese-British artist Wuon-Gean Ho. In fact the second coin was recently released in proof form. It’s only available as a one-ounce coin, although proof versions are struck in different sizes, but it sports a design different to just about everything else out there and deserves attention for that alone.

AgAuVIEW:  As the first coin in the series to be released, it certainly has numismatic appeal and the relatively tight 300k mintage certainly helps. A solid buy.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a leaping horse under which is a depiction of the Uffington Horse in Oxfordshire. At the top is the inscription YEAR OF THE HORSE 2014 and the Chinese character for horse.
OBVERSE Features the Ian Rank Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by inscribed text including the date.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.61mm, weight is 31.21g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 300,000

B.H. MAYER (RWANDA)

 

First issued in 2008, the design of these coins is fundamentally the same except for the animal depicted at bottom-left. Kicking off with the Gorilla, the coin for 2014 features the Impala. Minted by B.H.Mayer in Germany, they’re struck to a superb standard and are well-liked. Mintages on early coins were tiny, but the mintage limits have been relaxed since the 2013 Cheetah. They remain produced in small numbers, however, not reaching six  figures.

AgAuVIEW: Lovely coins, tight mintages, and an annually changing design. A super collectors buy, less so for the stacker given the premiums.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a relief map of Africa to the left of which sits a pair of running Impala. The inscription AFRICAN OUNCE sits to the left and 2014 & 1oz FINE SILVER to the right
OBVERSE Shows the emblem of Rwanda surrounded by the denomination and issuer in Rwandan.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.0mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED, but likley to stay below 100,000 (TBC)

PERTH MINT

 

Released back in May, the Perth Mints new Saltwater Crocodile is touted as being the first in an annual release, although we’ve heard conflicting views on the design changing annually. With a mintage of one-million, it’s a big release for the Australian producer, as most of their one-ounce silver bullion coins are either mintage limited at under half that number, or don’t hit a million when unlimited. They had no problem selling them however, and the quality seems to be decent enough as you’d expect from them.

Only available in the single format, we’d not be surprised to see a proof or two rear its big snout sometime soon. If this does go to an annually changing design, you’ll be glad you bought some of these.

AgAuVIEW: Everybody likes to get in on the ground floor and this first release lets collectors do that. The subject is popular, it’s very affordable with its relatively tight premiums, and it’s the Perth Mint. One to own.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE In the centre is depicted an Australian Saltwater Crocodile in isolation. Around the edge is the inscription AUSTRALIAN SALTWATER CROCODILE at the top, and at the bottom the date and composition.
OBVERSE In the centre sits the profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Broadley, surrounded ny inscriptions carrying her name, the denomination and the issuer.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.6mm, weight is 31.103g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 1,000,000

 

PERTH MINT (FOR TEXAS PRECIOUS METALS)

The latest 2014 bullion coin to drop was announced just two days ago by Houston-based bullion dealer, Texas Precious Metals. Similar to the Great White Shark for APMEX and the Battle of the Coral Sea for A-Metal, the Perth Mint has struck the entire run of this coin for a single customer, in this case 500,000 coins. At ½oz it’s eminently affordable and is certainly different to any other bullion coin out there.

Only available in the 1/2 oz format, it can be bought individually, in tubes of 25, or monster boxes of 500. The theme of energy certainly resonates today, but won’t have the universal popularity of a shark, for example. Saying that, I’d rather be in the water with an oil-rig than a shark so it’s a matter of perspective…

AgAuVIEW: The unusual subject is either a positive or a negative for the individual collector. It certainly gains points for originality and as a Perth Mint product has an inbuilt appeal for the completist. A refreshing coin geared towards the stacker, but one a set collector should covet for its difference.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a terrestrial drilling rig under the Lone Star of Texas to the left, and an offshore oil drilling platform under the Southern Cross to the right. Surrounding that sits the inscription HOUSTON – TEXAS at left, PERTH – WESTERN AUSTRALIA at right and SISTER CITIES at bottom. At bottom-left sits the P mintmark for the Perth Mint. Near the centre sits the initials WR, probably those of Perth Mint designer Wade Robinson.
OBVERSE bears the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, her name, issuing country, the monetary denomination, the 2014 year date and the composition.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 32.0mm, weight is 15.591g, thickness 2.0mm.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 500,000

BAVARIAN MINT (SOMALIA)

 

First issued in 1999 for Zambia before changing to Somalia in 2004, they’re made from 0.999 silver and quite widely available although carrying a higher premium over spot than the major bullion coins. The design changes each year and despite always depicting elephants, is known officially as the African Wildlife Series. Everyone else calls them the Somali Elephant.

The 2014 was well recieved and it’s fair to say that despite the political state of the issuing country, they’ve become a staple semi-numismatic bullion coin. Struck by a German state mint for a German supplier, quality  isn’t an issue at all, although we’ve seen numerous comments regarding milk spots. Only available in an ounce format, although there have been kilo coins, as well as other sizes in proof sets. There’s quite a number of proof, coloured and privy variants as well.

AgAuVIEW: Super coins, reasonable mintages, and a beautiful, annually changing design. Another super collectors buy and with lower premiums, not a bad stackers choice if a deal appears.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a family of elephants, a bull male in the foreground and a female with a calf walking behind. Around the rim is inscribed AFRICAN WILDLIFE at top, and ELEPHANT 1oz Ag 999 at bottom.
OBVERSE Shows the emblem of Somalia surrounded by the denomination, date and issuer.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.0mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE UNLIMITED, but usually in the 80,000 to 150,000 range.

PERTH MINT (FOR EMK)

 

Catching everyone by surprise last year, the Perth Mint was commissioned by a German client (EMK – Münzen und Edelmetalle) to produce a series of 10,000 mintage, one-ounce silver bullion coins featuring the Australian Stock Horse. These began to appreciate quickly and the series maintained that popularity for the 2014 release back in April. Perth again kept back 1,000 coins and offered them to Australian buyers mounted to an un-numbered card, while the 9,000 coins sold by EMK were done so simply encapsulated, but with a numbered certificate.

Because of the anticipation that had built up around this years release, the Perth Mint allocation sold very quickly, and the EMK coins not long after. Prices rose quickly, and arguably too high, too soon, to make purchasing for profit less appealing than in 2013, but the numismatic collector will enjoy the tight numbers and good design. The stacker was priced out at a very early stage.

AgAuVIEW: Very nice collectors coins, although prices have crept a little too high to make them sensible bulk buys financially. Hopefully prices will settle at a more reasonable level but it’s unlikely if we’re being honest. At only two coins into the series, it’s still a reasonable time to get on board for the run.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE In the centre is depicted an Australian Stock Horse at full gallop in front of a fence. Around the edge is the inscription AUSTRALIAN STOCK HORSE at the top, and at the bottom the date and composition. Artwork is by Ing Ing Jong, although her initials do not appear on the coin as is usually the case.
OBVERSE In the centre sits the profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Broadley, surrounded ny inscriptions carrying her name, the denomination and the issuer.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.6mm, weight is 31.135g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 9,000 encapsulated, 1,000 card-mounted

SUNSHINE MINT (SOMALILAND)

 

The Somaliland Lunar series started in 2010 with the Year of the Tiger and has seen a release every year since. Available as a one-ounce 0.999 silver coin, the mintage seems to be limited to 120,000. Previous years have seen a proof release limited to 1,000 pieces.

Minted by the Sunshine Mint in the USA, it’s one of the least known of the bullion coins and that often has an impact on stackers who prefer the sheer ubiquity of the Eagle/Maple type of coin, seen as being safe. Collectors like them and we’d be surprised if the 120,000 mintage was ever achieved.

AgAuVIEW: Nice design this year and one for the collection, but its anonymity makes it less appealing to stackers, even though premiums are relatively low.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Shows a pair of rearing half-horses with the Chinese symbol for horse at the bottom, the inscription “YEAR OF THE HORSE” at the top, and a decorative olive branch pattern around the bottom half.
OBVERSE Shows the coat of arms of Somaliland: a scale in balance above an eagle, and in the foreground, two shaking hands, surrounded by olive branches as a symbol of peace.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 39.1mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 120,000 MAX

SUNSHINE MINT (TOKELAU)

 

Starting in a considerably more limited way in 2013 with the Year of the Snake coin, the Treasures of Oz produced range exploded in 2014 with not just the initial reverse-proof, antique and proof versions, but with a true satin-finish bullion coin. Previously, the reverse-proof version with its 50k mintage was considered the bullion version of a sorts, but it’s now been supplanted by this Sunshine Mint struck coin.

These coins have certainly been gaining in popularity and have spawned numerous associated coins such as the Pegasus and Unicorn designs, as well as a 0.5g gold piece. The Goat version was the first big lunar to be released for 2015 and pretty much all the versions have been announced as continuing, there’s yet to be news on the bullion version.

AgAuVIEW: A favourite here with great non-recurring design, reasonable premiums and growing popularity. A solid buy, although the reverse-proof with its 50k mintage is a better looker for a year set.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a mare and colt standing in tall grass with the date at left.
OBVERSE Shows the Ian Rank Broadley portrait of QE2 over the emblem of Tokelau. Inscribed around this is the Queens name, state of issue, date, denomination and purity.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.6mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 250,000

PERTH MINT (AUSTRALIA)

 

In surprising news earlier this year it was announced by the Perth Mint that former Chief Engraver to the United States Mint, John Mercanti, would be designing a coin for them. That design was the Wedge-tailed Eagle, quite simply one of the best bird designs we’ve ever seen on a coin. Originally available as a high-relief proof in gold and silver, quickly followed by a standard proof, news came that a bullion version was coming.

When it came there was good news and bad news. The good was that the design continued unchanged and that mintage was strictly tied down to 50,000. The bad was that apart from 5,000 sold by Australian dealer Ainslie Bullion, the coins would be exclusive to GovMint in the US. The end result was that like it or not, they were all slabbed. Priced at $29.95 for ‘GEM’ grade, (in other words a failed MS69/70), $49.95 for MS69 and $99.95 for MS70, it feels like the coin has been hyper-commercialised and any chance a collector had of realising a profit on the coin by grading themself, has already been taken by the distributor. It also makes putting one of these in a year set next to impossible as many people really dislike slabs and rightly so. Signing by John Mercanti is a decent touch, but what value does that carry when every coin has it?

AgAuVIEW: One of the best-looking bullion coins of 2014, the distribution method has left an unpleasant taste for us. We hope this isn’t repeated next year as slabbing should be a choice in our opinion.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts an impressive Wedge-Tailed Eagle in mid-flight as it prepares to land on a tree branch. The design also includes the inscription AUSTRALIAN WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE, the 2014 year-date and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.
OBVERSE Features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, and the monetary denomination and issuer.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 40.6mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 50,000

HIGHLAND MINT (TOKELAU)

 

Appearing out of nowhere, this new strictly bullion coin was issued for Tokelau and came with a proof-like background. The initial excitement died down when quality issues raised their head and some of the bigger dealers either didn’t stock them, or sent them back. A short while later a new version was sent out by the Highland Mint with a satin finish, that had improved enough for dealers to keep them on sale.

General concensus seems to be that these are at the low end of the quality spectrum and certainly not a collectors coin. Pretty much all the images we’ve seen of them show coins that nobody would send for grading. The premium on these is very low so we’re sure some people would stack them, but if you want a good one for a year set you’re going to have to look hard, so find an accomodating dealer or buy in person.

A half-ounce version has since been released that we’ve yet to see opinions on for quality and we’ve only seen for sale at APMEX.

AgAuVIEW: What looked promising early on has been soured by quality issues. Not a problem for a stacker, but then why buy these instead of better quality rounds at the same premium? Hopefully things will improve next year.

FACTSHEET
REVERSE Depicts a Kakahi Yellowfin Tuna swimming over coral with the inscription KAKAHI-YELLOWFIN TUNA at top, and TOKELAU at bottom
OBVERSE Shows the Ian Rank Broadley portrait of QE2 over the emblem of Tokelau. Inscribed around this is the Queens name, state of issue, date, denomination and purity.
APPEARANCE 0.999 fineness, bullion finish, reeded rim. Diameter 38.6mm, weight is 31.1g.
SIZES 0.25oz 0.5oz
1.0oz 2.0oz
5.0oz 10.0oz 1kg 5kg 10kg
MINTAGE 500,000