1 oz Johnson Matthey Silver Bars (New)
$21.13 As low as $20.73
10 oz Johnson Matthey Silver Bars
$200.30 As low as $198.30
100 oz Johnson Matthey Silver Bars
With origins tracing back to the early 1800s, Johnson Matthey is solid proof that a sparkling reputation and brand recognition go a long way. Founded in London, the multinational corporation has been producing precious metals and chemicals since 1817, and their company’s reach has extended to more than 30 countries worldwide.
Johnson Matthey hasn’t minted its own bullion bars in three decades, but that has done very little to affect their business. The company’s storied history, with its humble beginnings that grew into a trusted name, has kept investors coming back for nearly 200 years. Please note that Johnson Matthey’s refining business has been sold to Asahi.
The History of Johnson Matthey
Percival Norton Johnson trained under his father as an assayer until 1817, when he decided he wanted to establish his own firm in London. There, he quickly grew his reputation by specializing in assaying and refining precious metals, even developing a method for improving the color of Brazilian gold by extracting palladium from it. By 1846, his skills earned him the status of Fellow of the Royal Society.
Five years later, a stockbroker named George Matthey joined the company, which was then renamed Johnson & Matthey. The following year, Johnson & Matthey was named Official Assayer and Refiner of the Bank of England. By the 20th century, Johnson Matthey enjoyed status as one of the world’s leading producers of silver and platinum. With an ever-growing customer base, JM saw continued success throughout the following decades, even centuries. In the 1960s, the company formed a subsidiary to dabble in the banking industry. It even extended its reach into the auto industry, earning its crowning achievement in 1974 by creating the first catalysts that minimized harmful emissions from vehicles. This accomplishment earned them the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1976.
Today, the company, with its 10,000 employees, is divided into three divisions: environmental technologies, precious metals, and fine chemicals and catalysts. Johnson Matthey continues to refine and distribute gold, silver, palladium, and rhodium, among with other precious metals. JM serves as the only platinum distributor for Anglo Platinum, the world’s largest platinum producer.
Johnson Matthey stopped minting bullion bars in the 1980s, but demand for their name continues to soar. In 2012, a wholesaler out of Dallas began selling Johnson Matthey 1 oz silver bars which were minted for the company. JM’s reputation and storied history brought investors out of the woodwork to snatch up these pieces.
Johnson Matthey Bars
Johnson Matthey boasts a wide selection of both silver and platinum bars. Silver bars are more common and are available in a wide array of weights and sizes, while platinum bars are limited to only a few options. Collectors can easily find 1 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz, and 100 oz silver bars on the market but will likely have more trouble hunting down platinum bars, which can only be found in 1 oz and 10 oz varieties.
Most recently, Johnson Matthey has created quite a stir by bringing back their 10 oz silver bars. This marks the first time the company has released a minted bar since they stopped in the eighties. Prior to this, the only way collectors could get their hands on a JM-minted silver bar was if it was pre-owned or vintage.
You can expect to find Johnson Matthey silver bars in two varieties; pressed and poured. Pressed silver bars, created by a mold that stamps out each piece with precision, have more refined, exact features and edges when compared to poured silver bars. The poured bars tend to be rougher around the edges because they are created by pouring molten silver into a mold. Typically, you will find that larger JM silver bars are made of poured silver, and the smaller bars are pressed. Vintage Johnson Matthey bars are usually poured, as well, but today, most are pressed due to the advancements in minting technology over the course of time.
Johnson Matthey’s bullion is packaged and distributed in many different ways, which have changed over the years. Today, the 1 oz Johnson Matthey Silver Bar is sealed in plastic sheets of 20 per at the minting facility, with the larger 10 oz and 100 oz bars being individually packaged. Their platinum bars often will come sealed in an assay or will at least be accompanied by one. This information will usually be disclosed in the product specifications, so it is important to read this information before making a purchase.
The Refining Process and Authenticity Standards
The PGM, or Platinum Group Metals, refining process is incredibly complex, but Johnson Matthey has it down to an art. Their process is broken down into four crucial steps: evaluation, smelting, chemical leaching, and chemical separation.
Refinement begins by determining the PGM content of a customer’s material. From there, JM can decide how long the process will take and work with the customer to agree on the quantity of material that will be returned. Then, the material is melted at over 1,200 degrees Celsius for 12 hours. This is where the silver bullion is produced. During the leaching stage, the bullion is suspended in concentrated acid to leach out the silver, platinum, and palladium components. Any gold that is present is extracted and sent on to another facility to be refined. Finally, the chemicals are separated and treated in a complex process that reduces each chemical into the final, pure PGM.
Authentic Johnson Matthey products will be stamped with the company’s initials (JM) next to two crossed hammers. Collectors will also notice a stamp that indicates the bar’s purity, as well as a stamp of the bar’s weight in troy ounces. In some cases, bars may be stamped with a serial number. However, this is not true of all bars. Most Johnson Matthey bars are only stamped with a serial number if they were sold to commodity exchanges.
Pricing and Availability
With such a prestigious reputation, it will come as no surprise to learn that Johnson Matthey products are slightly more expensive than similar products. This is especially true of vintage items that pre-date the 1980s, when JM stopped minting bars. These older pieces tend to be more scarce, greatly increasing collector demand. However, because of their high purity level and overall quality, collectors find these prices to be more than reasonable.
After nearly two centuries of dealing in precious metals, Johnson Matthey has become a name that collectors the world over know and trust. They have been in operation much longer than most of the other minting companies today, so investors know that each bar will be of outstanding purity and quality.
Though we cannot say for sure if Percival Johnson knew his independent venture would blossom into what it is today, one thing is certain: Johnson’s expertise and passion have translated well over the centuries, providing the perfect foundation for Johnson Matthey to flourish. To purchase a part of this lasting legacy, check out the wide selection of Johnson Matthey products at Silver.com which are available at some of the lowest prices online.