Collecting Silver Bullion Coins

by blackspanielgallery

Annually there seem to be more and more collectible silver bullion coins available. There is a demand, and many mints are responding.

Several mints worldwide have quietly added collectible silver bullion coins. In some cases, this, is an addition to silver bullion offerings already in place. In other cases, the silver bullion is a first-time endeavor by a mint.

For some time, mints have issued circulation coins, coins that match circulation coins except in metallic content, or proof condition, and commemorative coins. With the glut of proof commemorative coins available, especially by Niue, a small island nation, numismatists seem to have a decreased interest in collecting commemoratives. There is a need to produce something the collectors can collect.

Many mints have issued bullion coins, with silver being the least expensive. So, there is a proliferation of bullion coins by mints to keep the production level high with less dependence on commemorative coins. Silver bullion coins are becoming very important.

Why Are Bullion Coins Popular?

What Makes Silver Bullion Coins Collectible?

The current trend is to put effort into minting desirable coins with appealing subject matter as bullion coins.  Some of these have other versions, such as the American Silver Eagle, which is also available as a proof coin or a select uncirculated coin from the United States Mint.  In some cases, such as the Australian Lunar Coins, colorized and even gilded versions of the coins are minted.


But a desirable image is not the only thing that gives appeal to silver bullion coins.  Collectors like their collections to increase in value with little or no risk.  Silver bullion coins have two supports for their value, a numismatic value and the value of the metal they contain.  This minimizes the danger of having the coins decrease in value.


Popularity with the mint is also enhanced by the possibility of the mint also using the same artwork in the design to mint proof and collectible coins.

Special Coins

Some bullion coins contain privy marks as an added feature.  This is particularly popular with Australian and Canadian bullion coins.  These are small markings that make the coin slightly different, and often enhance the numismatic value.


Also, an incuse coin is one with a recessed image.  Such coins are not intended to circulate, for the incuse design has ridges that are above much of the image, and thus tend to suffer from excessive wear.  Incused coins are fine if not handled.


Some bullion coins are now coming out as reverse proof coins.  This also can add to the numismatic value.


Employing such features in a bullion coin makes it apparent that some mints intend to have bullion coins gain a numismatic significance, and thus become collector items.

North American Silver Bullion

United States Silver Bullion


The United States Mint has the American Silver Eagle bullion coin series, and has had the series since 1986.  This series is popular.  However, except for the mintmark and date, both the obverse and the reverse remain the same year after year, with few exceptions.


A more significant silver bullion series is the five-ounce silver quarter series.  Five quarters are released annually, with the obverse featuring the George Washington image from the circulating United States quarters.  In 2018 the five silver quarters feature on their reverse one of Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Voyageurs National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  This series began in 2010, and the series will conclude in 2020.


Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bullion


Four different Maple Leaf silver bullion coins have been released in 2018.  One is the normal strike, one is a reverse proof coin, one is an incuse coin, and one has the large numeral 30 of the reverse.  The abundance of Maple Leaf coins was to celebrate the thirtieth year of the silver Maple Leaf. 


Another silver bullion Canadian coin is the Canadian Wolf, a coin in the Predator series.


Mexican Silver Bullion


Mexico issues the Libertad, a silver coin that comes in very sizes as small as one-tenth of an ounce, and as large coins.  Most popular is the one-ounce size.

European Silver Bullion Coins

Royal Mint Silver Bullion


The Royal Mint is perhaps the best-known mint worldwide, and has been adding to its silver bullion offerings regularly.  In 2018 the Royal Mint issued two versions of the Britannia, its best-known silver bullion coin.  One version matched the series, while the other had a distinct Oriental border, commemorating the use bullion in trade from a time long ago.


The Queen’s Beasts series comes in two sizes for silver bullion, the two-ounce silver coin and the ten-ounce silver coin.  Multiple coins of each size are released annually.  The first two-ounce coin was released in 2016, and the first ten-ounce coin was released in 2017.  The coins for a year do not match.  In 2018 the coins included the Unicorn of Scotland and the Black Bull of Clarence in the two-ounce size, and the Unicorn, the Red Dragon of Wales and the Griffin in the ten-ounce size.


Another series is the Landmarks of Britain, which added two coins in 2018.  This series started in 2017.  The coins for 2018 were the Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square.


In 2018 the Royal Mint also issues a coin featuring two dragons.  There is no indication that this will start a series.


Also, the Royal Mint issues lunar coins.  The Year of the Dog is the fifth coin to be issued by the Royal Mint in this series.


Isle of Man Silver Bullion


The Pobjoy Mint produces coins for the Isle of Man.  Two silver coins, both minted with a proof finish are 2018 issues, the Angel and the Noble.  The Noble features a drakkar, or Viking longboat.


Gibraltar Bullion Coins


Gibraltar issued one silver bullion coin in 2018, a coin that features the Coat of Arms of England.


Austrian Silver Bullion


Austria issues the Philharmonic annually.  The coin design does not vary for this silver bullion coin.


Armenian Silver Bullion


Armenian silver bullion coins feature Noah’s Ark.  This is an annual coin, and is released in a variety of sizes, including large coins and fractional pieces.

British Bullion Coins

The Royal Mint has been adding to the variety of silver bullion coins available. 2018 was a particularly great year for the Royal Mint.

Australian and Oceania Silver Bullion Coins

Australian Silver Bullion


Australian bullion coins come from the Perth Mint.  The Royal Australian Mint does not issue bullion coins, but instead concentrates on circulation pieces.  Both official Australian mints produce commemorative coins.


Australia has a very prolific silver bullion program.  It features the Kookaburra, the Koala, and the Kangaroo.  Other series are the Wedged-Tail Eagle, and the Lunar series.


Other silver bullion coins issued were the Bird of Paradise, and the Dragon and Tiger coin. 


One surprise was the release of the silver Dragon bars bearing a monetary denomination, so they are also considered coins.


Australia issues silver bullion coins both larger than one-ounce, and fractional coins.  Not every coin has an abundance of sizes, but enough do that demand can be met.


Tuvalu Silver Bullion


In addition to Australian bullion coins the Perth Mint produces bullion coins for Tuvalu.  Tuvalu issues bullion coins representing Marvel Comic characters, and in 2018 those included Black Panther, Thor, and Deadpool.


Niue Silver Bullion


Niue is relatively new to silver bullion coins.  However, there are many different coins to choose from. 


Niue Disney coins include the 2018 Scrooge and the 2018 90th Anniversary of Mickey Mouse.  One of the Year of the Dog coins also features Mickey Mouse.


In addition to the Disney cartoon characters, the Star Wars silver bullion coins include Stormtroopers and Darth Vader Lightsaber.


Other silver bullion coins include the Year of the Dog without Mickey Mouse, the Hawksbill Turtle, the Athenian Owl, and the Chech Lion.  The Hawksbill Turtle uses the same design as the coin issued for the Fiji Islands.


While Niue uses several mints, the bullion seems to all come from the New Zealand Mint.  The New Zealand Mint is a private mint, and occasionally uses designs for multiple countries. 


Cook Islands Silver Bullion


The Cook Islands issues a silver bullion coin showing the HMS Bounty, the ship that brought Captain Cook to the islands years ago.


Tokelau Silver Bullion


Another island nation is Tokelau.  Tokelau has a series of shark coins, with the Leopard Shark being the 2018 issue.  Another coin is the Equilibrium coin that features the Yin and Yang symbol.


Fiji Silver Bullion


Fiji was the first to have the Taku, or Hawksbill Turtle coin as silver bullion.  Now it has added two other one-ounce silver bullion coins, Samurai and Mermaid Rising. 


In addition, the Terracotta Army coin is a five-ounce, limited mintage coin that comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and a pouch, but is priced as though it is a silver bullion coin.  This is quite unusual to find a coin with so many desirable additions at bullion coin pricing.

African Silver Bullion Coins

Rwanda Silver Bullion


Rwanda has several interesting silver bullion series.  These are available in multiple sizes.  The African wildlife series features the Giraffe for 2018.  The Nautical series features the HMS Endeavour, Admiral Nelson’s ship, for 2018.  And the Lunar series features the Year of the Dog.


South African Silver Krugerrand Bullion Coin


While the Krugerrand is a long-standing coin, and silver proof coins have appeared in the past, the inclusion of the silver bullion version of this coin is recent.


Somali Silver Bullion


The Elephant series is a very popular series of silver bullion coins.  The reverse changes annually.


Congo Silver Bullion


The Silverback Gorilla silver bullion coin is a coin with an annual release.  Each year it is a different image.


Republic of Cameroon Silver Bullion


The Republic of Cameroon issues the 2018 Imperial Dragon coin in silver.  This is a bullion coin.


Chad Silver Bullion


The Republic of Chad has two silver bullion coins.  One is the Mandala Lion.  This coin features the face of a male lion.  The other is the silver Mandala Rhino.  This is the second coin in the Chad Wildlife series.

African Bullion Coins

Several nations of Africa issue silver bullion coins. Some of the most attractive bullion coins available come from the continent of Africa.

Asian Silver Bullion Coins

Chinese Silver Bullion


The Chinese silver bullion coin is the Panda, which is available in a variety of sizes.  One problem with the Panda is the one-ounce coin from years ago is more recently bring minted with a little less than one-ounce of silver.


South Korean Silver Bullion


Komsco, the mint that produces South Korean coins, has released a new series in 2018 featuring the Siberian Tiger.  The mainstay of South Korean silver bullion is the Chiwoo Cheonwang series.  2018 was the third year of the Chiwoo Cheonwang coins.

Atlantic and Caribbean Islands Silver Coins

Eastern Caribbean Silver Bullion


In 2018 the Eastern Caribbean Eight, a group of islands united with one central bank, began issuing silver bullion coins.  The intent was to have four coins for each of the eight islands or island groups. 


The latest is the Montserrat coin called the Emerald Isle.  The fourth was the Grenada silver bullion coin called Diving Paradise.  The third is the Dominica silver bullion coin called Nature Isle.  The second is the Pelican of Saint Kitts and Nevis.  The first is the Rum Runner of Antigua and Barbuda.


The coins in this series are also available as colorized and proof collectible coins, and in gold.


The Eastern Caribbean 8 coins are minted by the Scottsdale Mint.


British Virgin Islands Silver Bullion


The British Virgin Islands has a series of coins featuring Pegasus.  The coin comes in several sizes, and the image changes annually.  The Pobjoy Mint produces these coins.


Saint Helena Silver Bullion


Saint Helena has three silver bullion coins issued in 2018.  One is the Spade Guinea Shield.  The other two are represent silver trade coinage of the past, with restrikes of the American and British trade silver coins.


Final Thoughts

The list above is not necessarily comprehensive.  However, the abundance of silver bullion coins mentioned here should make it clear that many of the major mints are not ignoring the bullion market.


One thing that is confusing is why so many people collect silver rounds and silver bars.  The added cost to obtain a silver coin is usually minimal, and there is the added prospect that coins will increase in value beyond the value of silver.


In choosing coins we must remember that there is a cost with minting, including the overhead in having the dies designed and made.  There is also a cost in striking coins.  There should also be similar costs associated with minting silver rounds and silver bars.  One should remember the cost is usually a higher percentage of the metal value for a smaller coin.  So, there is little point in making silver coins smaller than a half-ounce, while gold coins are often found as small as a twentieth of an ounce.  A few mints do make very tiny silver coins, including the Armenian Ark and the Mexican Libratad.  Coins much larger than one-ounce require someone desiring to buy them when it becomes time to liquidate the coins.  This is harder to find.  The ideal sizes for coins are the one-ounce, two-ounce, and five-ounce, with the half-ounce being the only smaller size that has a wide appeal.


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The introduction image is our own,

Updated: 12/26/2019, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 01/12/2019

Two interesting questions. First, the Chinese used to make one ounce silver Panda coins. The Troy ounce is 31.1035 grams. With the new 30 gram coin they save a little precious ,metal. on each coin, which can really add up over time.

The Australian mint system is interesting. Australia inherited branch mints of the Royal Mint when Australia left the British Empire. One, in Perth. is charged with producing bullion , commemorative coins, and contracting its services. The other, the royal Australian Mint is charged with producing all circulating coins, and also makes some commemorative coins. Some years back a silver kangaroo from the Royal Australian Mint had a bullion version. Since the article was written I found that the royal Australian is getting back into bullion coinage. The article was for 2018 in retrospective. In 20129 the Bottlenose Dolphin coin is a bullion coin from thee Royal Australian Mint, but it is all committed to a single distributor, APMEX. It may have been under a special contract, or indicates a change for the future.

You might have noticed New Zealand missing. Their bullion Fern has no date for 2018, so it is not likely to be unique to the year.

Also, both the Royal Mint and the Perth Mint make bullion bars in gold that are not coins, since there is no monetary denomination.

DerdriuMarriner on 01/12/2019

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for the practical information and product lines. Why does the Royal Australian Mint not do bullion? Why is the Chinese Panda bullion coin being minted with less than one ounce of silver when value reflects metal and numismatic values?

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