CIT’s new Pope Francis coin showcases groundbreaking Big Gold Minting

Something we always look forward to, a new coin from Liechtenstein-based producer Coin Invest Trust has debuted and while at first glance it’s an unadventurous one, it’s actually one of the most important launches we’ll see this year. To deal with the coin design first, it’s a portrait of Pope Francis, released to commemorate his 80th birthday. It’s a good portrait, realistic and nicely detailed. If you like papal or religious coins, you’ll likely appreciate the quality of this one. Struck in 0.9999 gold, it’s issued for the Cook Islands. So that’s the design dealt with.

On to the ground-breaking part, CIT have made the coin available in six variants from a tiny 1/100th ounce coin, up to a full ounce in size. Again, nothing unusual there. But what if I was to tell you the ¼oz version was 15% larger than a 1 oz American Gold Eagle coin? Interested?

CIT debuted a technique called SmartMinting earlier in the year that allowed for extraordinary levels of relief for a given weight, and/or a bigger diameter on silver coins. Now they’ve taken the latter characteristic and applied it to gold. Called BGM (Big Gold Minting), it allows the striking of superb levels of detail on much thinner coins. The implications are clear.

Take a look at the two images below. The coin on the left is a full ounce in weight and a simply huge 65mm in diameter. The detail is superb. Now for the awesome part, the second coin, the one looking almost identical, weighs just a hundreth as much, a positively microscopic 0.3g, and is just 11mm across. Even though the coin is barely half the weight of a minigold, yet still the same diameter, the detail is quite extraordinary. Now consider the surface area of the ounce is 35x that of the tiniest coin and you can see what an achievement the baby of the range truly is.

ONE OUNCE (LEFT) AND ONE HUNDRETH OUNCE (RIGHT)

POTENTIAL

Gold is a fairly popular numismatic metal, but suffers from the obvious flaw – cost. With gold around 40 times the price of silver, you’re not only going to have to splash out a ton more money for a gold numismatic, it’s going to be tiny in comparison. BGM is going to rebalance that equation.

These new Pope Francis coins are a demonstration of the potential of this game-changing technique. We’ve knocked up a modified version of CIT’s press image below to make the point clear. The big coin in the background at 65 mm in diameter is a one-ounce piece of gold. To put that in perspective, the US Mint’s Gold Eagle bullion coin in front is also an ounce in weight, but comes in at just over 32 mm across. Remember, that doesn’t mean the CIT coin is twice the size, it’s actually covers almost FOUR TIMES the surface area, a staggering 3,318 versus 840 sq.mm in surface area.

The one ounce coin is actually a bad example, the real potential being far lower in the range. No longer will the gold version of a coin be the tiny sibling of the silver. We’ll use the New Zealand Mints superb Classic Star Wars coins as a perfect example. The NZM generally issues a 40mm silver coin. It’s a great size, perfectly capable of showing plenty of detail and being easy on the eye. Their other mainstay is a ¼oz gold that is just 22mm wide. It’s a decent size, but it clearly falls short compared to the silver. With CIT’s new BGM, that ¼oz gold could be over 150% larger at 35mm in diameter. Remember that those coins in particular sell extensively to non-coin collectors, people for whom the subject matter is king. How much more attractive a coin so much larger would be to the the casual collector?

Happy with the 22mm diameter for the gold version? It can now be struck, actually to a slightly bigger size (50% bigger), in  just 40% of the metal – a 1/10 oz. It doesn’t take Einstein to realise that the resulting drop in raw material will have a huge impact on the price of the coin. With thickness being the only real difference, probably the least important metric, it will open up collecting gold numismatics to a far wider audience, potentially invigorating the market.

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The medley image below makes the potential abundantly clear. While the technology has little use in the bullion market where the weight is everything, themed numismatics could benefit without question. Comparing the Yoda coin with the BGM example of the same weight to its left is about as clear a demonstration as we can make. That particular coin is a favourite of ours, the NZM having done a sterling job with them. The thought of getting that size coin for half the price, or of paying the same but getting a coin close in size to the silver version is quite amazing. We think the 50mm diameter, ½oz format would be particularly popular.

If CIT open up this process to others, we could be looking at a seismic shift in the availability of good-looking, decently sized gold coins. Having the position occupied by the ¼oz coin  taken by the 1/10oz would see numismatic coin prices tumble with no loss of quality. Happy with the ¼oz as a weight? We guess you’ll be even happier if that coin was almost triple the size. We’re sure you’ll agree that there aren’t any losers here. Here’s looking forward to Big Gold Minting becoming more widespread, and gold commemorative coins having a renaissance of popularity. As we said at the beginning of the article – groundbreaking.

SIZE RANGE WITH TWO COMPARITIVE COINS

MINTS DESCRIPTION

On December 17th, Pope Francis will celebrate his 80th birthday. The head of the roman catholic church was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936. The origins of his family, however, lie in Italy.   In honour of this event, CIT presents a new generation of gold coins which utilize the cutting-edge BGM© technology. Big  Gold Minting facilitates the production of affordable, large diameter gold coins. The large surface area of these coins can portray a much more detailed and intricate artwork than conventionally minted gold coins, while at the same time keeping weight and price low.

SPECIFICATION

COIN COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER AREA DENOMINATION MINTAGE
1 oz 0.9999 GOLD 31.1 g 65.0 mm 3,318² mm $250 CID 999
US GOLD EAGLE 0.9167 GOLD 31.1 g 32.7 mm 840² mm $50 USD UNLTD
1/2 oz 0.9999 GOLD 15.55 g 50.0 mm 1,964² mm $200 CID 1,500
1/4 oz 0.9999 GOLD 7.78 g 35.0 mm 962² mm $25 CID 2,000
NZ MINT YODA 0.9999 GOLD 7.78 g 22.0 mm 380² mm $25 NZD 1,000
1/10 oz 0.9999 GOLD 3.11 g 26.0 mm 531² mm $20 CID 3,000
1/25 oz 0.9999 GOLD 1.25 g 18.0 mm 254² mm $10 CID 5,000
1/100 oz 0.9999 GOLD 0.31 g 11.0 mm 95² mm $5 CID 10,000

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