Bullion round-up 09: Pirates, Rabbits, Horses, Dinos, 007, A speedy Hedgehog, and old big-nose is off on a rampage…

As always, this took far longer than I anticipated to compile, mainly as I was expecting a half-dozen new coins, rather than the flood here. Fortunately, it’s now complete, so here’s our latest round-up of new bullion releases, and what an outstanding selection it is.

Scottsdale have launched a new series, with the formidable War Elephant, and the Royal Australian Mint has joined them with their own ‘Australian Wildflowers’ range. It’s great to see some unique ideas for bullion coins coming through, rather than rehashing what’s been done before, even if they aren’t wildly different.

The rest are mainly new additions to ongoing series, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of attention. The final Apex Predators coin from APMEX is a superb Shark v Crocodile design, the new Australian Brumby looks great, as does the newest Prehistoric Life issue from Emporium Hamburg. The Sonic the Hedgehog coin is also a pleasant surprise. Really speaking, there’s nothing poor here, which is also a good indicator of the current level of quality in the diverse bullion market.

Enjoy the round-up, I’m just glad it’s done!

2022 WAR ELEPHANT (Scottsdale Mint)

Prolific bullion producer, Scottsdale Mint, has today debuted its latest offering, and it’s an original design, rather than the latest in one of their many ongoing series. It is, however, the first in a series of its own, and depicts a War Elephant, a beast of battle most commonly associated with the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barca, but more commonly much further afield as well, especially in Asia.

You can imagine how terrifying these must have been on the battlefield, even for the side employing them, and the depiction on the coin gives a good idea of the sheer scale of these behemoths. There’s a Howdah on the animal’s back, in which several armed warriors wave their weapons. We really like this one, both for its originality, and its aesthetic.

There are two one-ounce variants, one silver, and one a gold, the latter one boxed. Looking forward to seeing the 2023 issue.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
£1 UKP (Gibraltar) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 39.0 mm B / UNC 15,000 NO / NO
£10 UKP (Gibraltar) 0.9999 gold 31.1 g 32.0 mm B / UNC 100 YES / YES

2022 AUSTRALIAN BRUMBY (LPM/Perth Mint)

The third in the Australian Brumby series is, for us, the best design so far. Spirited Horse depicts the animal with a very dynamic and rarely seen pose for a horse, firmly
rooted in a grass covered ground, which works very well with the shape of the coin.

It’s a straightforward issue, just a one-ounce silver bullion offering, although there’s a two-ounce proof for those that way inclined. There may be a gold proof issue of this design in 2023.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$1 AUD (Australia) 0.9999 silver 31.107 g 40.9 mm B/UNC 25,000 NO / NO

2022 PREHISTORIC LIFE: LIOPLEURODON (Emporium Hamburg)

Yes, it’s a coin featuring the prehistoric world, so we’ve already taken a shine to it here, but this has also been a great series in its own right. A 12-coin series released at the rate of 8-per-annum, Liopleurodon is the eighth debut to date, and the second of 2022. You can see them all in our Coin Series Profile to the range. Another good design, this again keeps the series style by placing the animal in its habitat, in this case a shallow sea.

As before, it’s a well-thought-out, and relatively affordable range. The base silver coin is also available in a coloured variant with a much smaller mintage, and for gold, Emporium Hamburg has chosen the popular minigold 0.5 gram format. All are supplied encapsulated. We have the first couple of bullion issues here, and consider them very well done.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
20 Francs (Congo) 0.9999 silver 31.1 g 38.6 mm B / UNC 10,000 NO / NO
20 Francs (Congo) 0.9999 silver 31.1 g 38.6 mm B / UNC 2,000 NO / NO
100 Francs (Congo) 0.9999 gold 0.5 g 11.0 mm PROOF 2,000 NO / NO

2022 APEX PREDATORS: SHARK VS CROCODILE (APMEX)

The fourth and sadly the last in this brilliant series from APMEX, Shark v Crocodile wraps up ‘Apex Predators’ from APMEX. Why this series is ending is a mystery to us, given how superb it has been, but we’re glad to see it going out on a high. Each coin to date has taken the unusual step of depicting a fight between two major predators, rather than a predator hunting its prey.

These are rare battles, as even an animal clearly going to win a battle will shy away, because an injury can often lead to the inability to hunt – effectively just a slower death sentence. What we have here is the main attraction, a shark squaring off against a crocodile. We know these battles happen, with Saltwater Crocodiles in particular, taking smaller sharks as prey where they can, typically Bull Sharks in river environments, but a battle royale between a Saltie and a Great White would be incredibly rare.

Whatever the case, this is an awesome looking coin, especially in five-ounce gilded numismatic form. A look at this does make you wonder why the series isn’t continuing. It clearly isn’t running out of steam.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$1 NZD (Niue) 0.9999 silver 31.1 g 39.0 mm B / UNC 10,000 NO / NO
$10 NZD (Niue) 0.9999 silver 155.5 g 65.0 mm PROOF, GILDED 500 YES / YES

2022 AUSTRALIAN WILDFLOWERS: WARATAH (Royal Australian Mint)

A new series from the Royal Australian Mint, Australian Wildflowers is a pretty unique subject for a bullion coin range, unusually so, in our view, given how popular and ubiquitous flora is. If this debut design is a reliable indicator, it will be a series to watch. It depicts a flower called the Waratah, one native to the south-eastern parts of Australia, and common enough to be the state flower of New South Wales.

This distinctive flower is packed into the coin’s reverse, filling the face, and overlaid on a spiral background pattern. The obverse is equally pretty, also featuring three flowers, but this time in various states of growth. Another series to watch, it maintains the high standards of artistic merit we’ve come to expect from this mint. Mintages are quite high, so availability shouldn’t be a problem.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$1 AUD (Australia) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 40.0 mm B / UNC 50,000 NO / NO
$100 AUD (Australia) 0.9999 gold 31.1 g 38.74 mm B / UNC 5,000 NO / NO

2022 TOKELAU OWLS: MASKED OWL (APMEX)

This has always been a low-profile series, but it’s also a very distinctive one, using an artistic style somewhere between line-art, and tribal to show us one of the most fascinating types of bird on our home world. For this fourth issue, the subject is the Australian Masked Owl, and it’s depicted in flight, no doubt out on a nocturnal hunt. The floral graphics around the border, a series feature, remains, and finishes off the reverse nicely.

With a mintage of just 5,000 pieces, Tokelau Owls is an uncommon sight, but one worthy of attention, we feel.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$5 (Tokelau) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 38.6 mm B / UNC 5,000 NO / NO

2022 LOONEY TUNES: BUGS BUNNY (APMEX)

A new one from APMEX, Looney Tunes is a worldwide phenomenon, and has been for decades, so we’d expect this one to find plenty of fans. Bugs Bunny is shown in classic pose, behind which is the iconic Looney Tunes vortex. Issued for Samoa, there are four variants carrying the same design. The main one of interest here is the clean, silver, one-ounce bullion coin, which is also available in coloured form (supplied in a TEP slab), and proof (boxed with a COA).

A one-ounce gold rounds out the offerings, which is also boxed, although with a bullion finish. A decent, if unadventurous offering.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$5 (Samoa) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 39.0 mm B / UNC 15,000 NO / NO
$5 (Samoa) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 39.0 mm B / UNC, COLOUR 3,000 SLAB
$5 (Samoa) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 39.0 mm PROOF 250 YES / YES
$25 (Samoa) 0.999 gold 31.1 g 34.0 mm B / UNC 150 YES / YES

2022 60 YEARS OF 007 (Perth Mint)

With 2022 being the 60th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise, we expected coins celebrating it, and the Perth Mint haven’t let us down. The design, however, isn’t exactly mind-blowing. There are nice touches, like the different styles of logo filling the reverse face, but it’s all a bit ‘been done before’ Not bad, just not really special.

With a mintage of 50,000 pieces, you should have little trouble picking one up, although just 2,500 of them will be card mounted and sold by the Perth Mint. That’s an option that has always proven popular, and we see no reason that wouldn’t be the case again.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$1 TVD (Tuvalu) 0.9999 silver 31.1 g 40.9 mm B / UNC 47,500 NO / NO
$1 TVD (Tuvalu) 0.9999 silver 31.1 g 40.9 mm B / UNC 2,500 CARD

2022 BLACK FLAG: THE RISING SUN (APMEX/Perth Mint)

Yet another Perth Mint series exclusive to APMEX, ‘Black Flag’ is a pirate range showing us some of the ships used by famous pirates through history. The fourth coin to date depicts William Moody’s ‘The Rising Sun’, damaged and under full sail, after battering a prize. A packed design, it maintains the good standard of this range set by the first three issues.

As before, one-ounce silver and gold coins make up the bulk of the range, the latter boxed with a COA. A five-ounce silver, with a 500 mintage, completes the selection.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$1 TVD (Tuvalu) 0.9999 silver 31.1 g 40.90 mm B / UNC 15,000 NO / NO
$5 TVD (Tuvalu) 0.9999 silver 155.5 g 60.60 mm B / UNC 500 NO / NO
$100 TVD (Tuvalu) 0.9999 gold 31.1 g 32.60 mm B / UNC 100 YES / YES

2022 JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION (LPM)

There seems to be plenty of Jurassic Park/World coins hitting the market recently, ironic given the declining standard of the films themselves. There isn’t much in the way of bullion, though, so this is a welcome addition for the legions of fans of them. It’s actually a decent enough design, with great perspective on everyone’s favourite carnivore. We’re not sure about the helicopter, but we guess it needs something to tie it to the movies, rather than just being another dinosaur coin.

The Jurassic World logo is present, however. A Fijian issue, that island nation’s coat-of-arms, fills the obverse. Just a single coin in the range, a one-ounce 0.999 silver, but the mintage is competitive at just 10,000 units.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$0.5 FJD (Fiji) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 38.6 mm B / UNC 10,000 NO / NO

2022 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (APMEX)

You only have to look at page two of our huge Video-games on coins thematic guide to see that APMEX loves a gaming coin, having already featured everything from Pac-Man to Assassin’s Creed, Indeed, they’ve already released a wide range for this franchise, Sega’s brilliantly iconic, Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s back for 2022, with six new coloured coins, which we’ll add to the aforementioned guide, and a base bullion coin, which we have here.

If you’re familiar with the game, and after two movies and a million pieces of merchandise, you surely must be, you’ll find this instantly recognisable. As someone who bought an import Sega Megadrive on release, and this super game when it came out, Sonic has a special place, and this is, by far, the nicest Sonic coin we’ve seen to date. It perfectly encapsulates everything about the character, so much so, that the logo almost seems superfluous.

The obverse is brilliant as well, having a playfield from the game wrapped around the border, including the signature rings. We have to say, we’re very impressed with this one. Well done APMEX.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$2 NZD (Niue) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 39.0 mm B / UNC 15,000 NO / NO

2022 GIANTS OF THE ICE AGE: CAVE LION (AURAGENTUM)

We’re going to point you to another of our Coin Series Profiles for this latest ‘Giants of the Ice Age’ release, as this is the eighth of nine coins in this unique series. A fine one this time, featuring the Cave Lion prowling its barren habitat. Three formats are on offer, two are an ounce in weight (one gold, one silver), the third a relatively rare one-kilogram silver. (quick note: the silver coin depicted here is our mock-up taken from the gold. It should be bang on, but we’ll replace when we get official ones)

The subjects on Giants of the Ice Age are uncommon ones in the coin world, and we like it for that reason. The last issue is due later this year, and we’ll be interested to see what Auragentum have coming in 2023.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
5 Cedis (Ghana) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 38.6 mm B / UNC 15,000 NO / NO
1,000 Cedis (Ghana) 0.999 silver 1000 g 100.0 mm B / UNC 1,000 NO / YES
500 Cedis (Ghana) 0.9999 gold 31.1 g 38.6 mm PROOF 1,000 YES / YES
SCOTTSDALE MINT
EMPORIUM HAMBURG
AURAGENTUM
APMEX
NEW ZEALAND MINT
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT