Investors and collectors searching for precious metal coins to purchase for investment portfolios or private collections often turn to the popular gold and silver products that dominate the market. Over the last couple years, the palladium market has quietly rebounded, leading more refineries and mints back into the market, and attracting the attention of investors and collectors looking for diverse precious metal options.
What is Palladium?
Palladium is a group 10 elemental metal that is, in fact, one of the most malleable and in-demand precious metal products in the marketplace today. Together with rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, osmium, and platinum, palladium makes up the platinum group of metals. In fact, palladium is similar enough to platinum that many investors and collectors often mistake the two at first glance. Both palladium and platinum are soft, silver-white metals that are commonly used in both the precious metals industry and numerous other industries within the global economy.
Palladium was first discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, who named the metal after the then-recently-discovered asteroid Pallas. Early critics accused Wollaston of trying to pass off a platinum alloy as palladium when he first offered it for sale in a small shop in London’s Soho district in 1803, but he was later justified in his discovery of palladium as a separate metal from platinum through laboratory experimentation and testing.
Currently, Russia is the world’s leading exporter of palladium with 44% of the world’s known stockpile found within its borders. Other major producers include South Africa (40%), Canada (6%), and the United States (5%). Palladium is a prized precious metal in coining because of its physical and elemental properties. It is the least dense of the metals in its group, and also has the lowest melting point.
When palladium is heat treated, it becomes soft and ductile, yet is strengthened and becomes extremely hard when cold-worked. As a metal for use in coins, palladium is particularly excellent because it does not react with oxygen at normal temperatures, meaning it does not tarnish due to exposure to the air.
History of Palladium Coins
Although it is no longer involved in the production of palladium coins, the African nation of Sierra Leone was the world’s first to introduce a palladium coin in 1966. This was followed one year later in 1967 by the release of palladium coins from Tonga. Other historic producers of palladium coins include the former Soviet Union, Canada, France, Portugal, China, and Australia. Most of these nations produced palladium coins as commemorative issues and not as circulation currency.
Despite early success marketing and selling palladium coins, most of the world’s mints and refineries backed out of the palladium market in 2000. At this time, the price of palladium spiked to $1,100. The result of the price spike was a mass exodus by investors, many of whom sold off palladium coins and other palladium products that were eventually melted down to meet the other industrial demands for palladium.
With the automotive industry, among others, driving the prices of palladium higher, fewer mints produced palladium products and investors divested from palladium with handsome returns. In recent years, palladium has become increasingly important in the production of catalytic converters, which cleanse the exhaust of combustion engines of hydrocarbons and other harmful toxins before release into the atmosphere. Palladium is also used to make consumer electronic components and dental equipment.
Modern Palladium Coins
After the drop in 2000, palladium coins have rebounded in recent years in popularity. At this point in time, the largest producer of palladium coins is the Royal Canadian Mint. Many of the modern palladium coins produced now are new products introduced into the market to meet the rising demand for palladium from investors and collectors.
Without question, the single most popular palladium coin available today is the Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf. Introduced by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2005, this coin is the palladium version of the nation’s official sovereign coin. On the reverse side of the coin you’ll find the iconic image of a single sugar maple leaf, surrounded by engravings that include “Canada,” the coin’s metal content, weight, and purity.
The obverse carries the memorable image of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England and sovereign head of state for Canada. Designed in 2003 by Susanna Blunt, this image is the third iteration of Her Majesty’s profile used on Canadian coins. These coins come with a face value of $50 (CAD) backed by the Canadian government, and are always struck using .9995 fine palladium. Given the high purity level of palladium coins such as this one, palladium products are approved for inclusion in Precious Metal IRAs, as well.
About the Mint
As the leading producer of palladium coins at this time, the Royal Canadian Mint is a forerunner in the production of palladium coins for investment or collection. The RCM was established in 1908 to assist in the refining and production of gold and silver found in the Yukon Territories in the late 19th century. Canada’s sovereign mint operates facilities in Winnipeg and Ottawa, and is recognized as a world leader in precious metal refining and coining.
Purchasing Palladium Coins on Silver.com
Silver.com offers numerous options to purchase and ship your palladium coins after payment has been processed. You can pay for your Silver.com purchase with credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard only), paper check, bank wire, and now, PayPal account transfers. Payments made via PayPal or bank wire process immediately, while credit/debit card transactions take one business day on average to process. Paper checks can take as long as four to six days to process, but do come with a 4% discount on the purchase price (as do bank wire payments).
Once your payment has processed, your palladium coins will be shipped in discreet packaging to protect the identity of your shipment. Silver.com offers a tiered-cost scale for shipping fees, with standard delivery options available courtesy of the US Postal Service and UPS. All orders over $3,000 are eligible for free shipping and insurance.
If you have any questions about the palladium coins available from Silver.com, don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff with your inquiries. You can reach us on the phone at 888-989-7223, connect with us online via our live chat, or send us an email at any time.