Since 2015, US based bullion producer Scottsdale Mint has greatly increased its selection of low-run bullion coins, particularly those struck in silver. At the time of writing (04/19), the mint has just come off a bumper year of new issues, with multiple single releases, as well as new programmes, including the eight-coin Caribbean EC8. Nature coins have always been popular in this market – witness the Perth Mint’s iconic range – and the addition of lower mintage designs has helped boost the overall market to what it is today. Overall numbers are down, mainly due to falls in sales of the big guns, but choice has never been wider.
One of the first of this new breed was the Congo Silverback Gorilla coin. A 1oz silver coin with a 50,000 mintage, the coin had a very nice design. Now five years on, the series has picked up a healthy following of its own. Not a wide range of formats are on offer. There have been a couple of proof coloured variants and a solitary 1kg bullion giant, but in general, the one-ounce coin is where its at.
There’s a strong design commonality in this series. An ethnic-style border surrounds an image of one of these quite amazing animals, with the date and composition inscribed at the bottom, and the series name at the top. The obverse has remained common throughout – easily done as the date of issue is placed on the reverse face. It features the emblem/coat-of-arms of the Republic of the Congo, a state on the mid-western coast of Africa. It’s actually one that suits the coin theme perfectly well. The issuer and denomination are inscribed here.
Sold in a capsule, or in strips of five, the Congo Silverback is competitively priced on issue, thus maintaining a healthy attraction to stackers keen to gamble on a semi-numismatic ‘bump’ in value. There are no signs the series is ending at five years, with mintages remaining stable despite the vast explosion in competing designs over the last couple of years, notably from Scottsdale themselves.