FINE ART BI/TRI-METAL MAX (2021-) by Precious Metal Collectors

It was back in 2020 that Precious Metal Collectors, along with designers Spectres, debuted their Bi-Metal Max technique. While we usually just roll our eyes when we hear buzz-words like this, in this case, it really makes a difference. The problem with big silver coins – those of kilo-plus weight – is cost, with the typical one-kilo numismatic often emptying the wallet to the tune of 2,500 Euro, or more. This leads to producers not wanting to take on the risk of making such coins, unsure if the market is there. PMC’s solution was to take a small amount of silver, usually 1–2 ounces, and put that on a base of copper, a considerably cheaper metal. The end result is quite spectacular, and reached its potential with this Singaporean producer’s fine-art range.

The first, and subsequent 2 oz silver coins were used in conjunction with 33.5 ounces of copper to produce a piece of 110 x 145 mm in size, with a thickness in excess of 10 mm, and struck with healthy levels of high-relief, usually employed to replicate brush-strokes, and intricate frames. We’ve had the first coin, Dr Gachet, in hand, and came away mightily in awe of it. The concept expanded to a smaller version, with an ounce of silver over 14 ounces of copper, and for 2024, a triple-metal type, adding a core of zinc for an even bigger coin size.

Even as someone whose appreciation of art ends at a picture of a chimpanzee on the toilet, I can safely say that anyone with a love of the Great Masters, will be blown away by these. There’s no sign of the copper, and they look to all intents and purposes like a silver coin, yet most are less than $500 USD to buy. Detail is exquisite, and any cropping, sympathetically done. In our view, the best fine art numismatic series in production today, with a good range of subjects. Hopefully, the debut of Tri-Metal Max means the concept will continue after Spectres and PMC moved apart.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BI-METAL MAX: VAN GOGH

2021 PORTRAIT OF DR. GACHET (A)

2021 PORTRAIT OF DR. GACHET

2021 STARRY NIGHT (A)

2021 STARRY NIGHT

2022 ALMOND BLOSSOMS

2022 CAFE TERRACE AT NIGHT (A)

2022 CAFE TERRACE AT NIGHT

2022 STARRY NIGHT OVER THE RHONE

2022 STARRY NIGHT OVER THE RHONE (A)

This is the format that started it all off in the fine art ranges, demonstrating the sheer size for the weight of precious metal, and featuring great relief designed to replicate the texture often seen in paintings, especially where impasto was used by the original artist.

Some have fake frames of quite intricate design surrounding them, some are gilded, some are horizontally orientated, and one is square. Some have a banknote inspired design on the obverse, and some are more creatively artistic. In four cases, there is even a choice of finishes. We love that the range isn’t restricted to a single, strictly enforced design language. After all, artists aren’t.

BI-METAL MAX: DA VINCI

2022 SALVATORE MUNDI

2022 MONA LISA

2023 LADY WITH ERMINE

While Van Gogh has been the primary focus of this range, Leonardo da Vinci has enjoyed three releases. Both Salvatore Mundi, and the Mona Lisa sport intricate frames struck into the metal, which are gilded on both faces. Lady with Ermine is quite different, choosing to focus directly on the artwork across two faces, and probably our favourite of the three.

BI-METAL MAX: GREAT ARTISTS

2021 MICHELANGELO ‘LAST SUPPER’

2022 SHAN SHUI ‘TIGER FROM THE MOUNTAIN’

2022 KLIMT ‘PORTRAIT OF A LADY’

2022 COLLIER ‘LADY GODIVA’

2022 HOKUSAI ‘GREAT WAVE OFF KANEGAWA’

2022 HOKUSAI ‘GREAT WAVE OFF KANEGAWA’

2022 KLIMT ‘PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLOCH-BAUER’

2023 BOTTICELLI ‘BIRTH OF VENUS’

2023 RAPHAEL ‘PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN’

2023 VERMEER ‘GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING’

There are no differences from the Van Gogh, or Leonardo ranges when it comes to specification or finish. The same mix of antique, colour and gilding for different issues remains. There’s a particular breadth of design on the obverse faces, which we like a lot,

The coin with the red title, Klimt’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’, is entirely copper, utilising no silver in its composition. The experiment has not been repeated for some reason, as we find it hard to tell the difference.

1oz BI-METAL MAX: VAN GOGH

2023 ‘HEAD OF A PEASANT WOMAN’

2023 ‘STARRY NIGHT’ (A)

2023 ‘STARRY NIGHT’

2023 ‘STARRY NIGHT IN PARIS’

Again, these are fundamentally the same as the previous Bi-Metal Max releases, but in this case, the amount of silver is halved to one-ounce, and the amount of copper reduced from 33.5 to 14 ounces. They remain impressive in size for the weight of silver, and they retain all the high-relief that makes their bigger counterparts so realistic in texture up close.

TRI-METAL MAX: VAN GOGH

2024 ‘WHEAT FIELD WITH CYPRESSES’

2024 ‘SUNFLOWERS 1889’

2024 ‘ROAD WITH CYPRESSES’

Tri-Metal Max is the producer’s latest iteration of this concept and debuted with the 2024 issues. At the time of writing, only Vincent van Gogh’s works have appeared on it, but that isn’t to say it won’t widen its subject base in the future.

Tri-Metal Max, as the name suggests, introduces a third metal into the mix. It now has a 120 gram copper base, over which is a 750 gram zinc centre, with 2.5 ounces of fine silver on top. Now, zinc has a lower density than copper (Cu is 8.96 g/cm3, while Zn is 7.13 g/cm3.), so more of it is needed for a specific weight. The end result, is an even bigger coin, with no outward differences of the appearance.

PACKAGING

ONE-OUNCE SILVER PACKAGING

TWO OUNCE SILVER PACKAGING

The packaging on the smaller coins is a neat cardboard box, fully themed, and with the Certificate of Authenticity printed on the back. The bigger coins come in a far more substantial box, of a very high quality, and with a huge amount of theming. We’ve seen a Dr. Gachet coin in hand, and the presentation is first class. We’ve yet to see a Tri-Metal Max coin box in hand, or in images.

EXAMPLE PRODUCT VIDEOS

SPECIFICATION

SPECIFICATION
SERIES BI-METAL MAX (2/33.5) BI-METAL MAX (1/14) TRI-METAL MAX
DENOMINATION 10,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 5,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 10,000 Francs CFA (Chad)
COMPOSITION 2oz 0.999 Ag, 33.5oz Cu 1oz 0.999 Ag, 14oz Cu 2.5oz 0.999 Ag, 750.0g Zn, 120.0g Cu
DIMENSIONS 125.0 x 165.0 mm (some variance) 90.0 x 70.0 mm 165.0 x 125.0 mm
FINISH Antique and/or gilded Antique Antique
MODIFICATIONS Colour Colour Colour
MINTAGE Variable 333-500 Variable 688 to 999 399

IMAGE GALLERY (to follow)