If there has been one constant in the global community for thousands of years, it has been precious metals. Gold and silver, and more recently platinum and palladium, have been popular vehicles for personal and national wealth protection. Today, increasing prices for and interest in silver, gold, platinum, and palladium among investors and collectors alike keep sovereign government mint facilities busy around the clock, working to meet intense demand. Silver.com is proud to carry a vast array of precious metal products from government mints around the globe. Below you can learn more about the products and specializations of mints from various countries.
United States of America
With passage of the Coinage Act of 1792, the United States Mint was formed to produce circulation coinage for the newly-formed United States of America. The US Mint has come a long way from the days of using horse, oxen, and men to power its coining presses. As of 2015, the United States Mint has the capacity to produce as many as 28 billion coins annually.
United States Mint
The modern United States Mint consists of four primary coining facilities: San Francisco Mint, Denver Mint, Philadelphia Mint, and West Point Mint. The gold depository is considered a part of the US Mint system, as is the Mint’s headquarters in Washington D.C. Former US Mint facilities include branch locations in Carson City, Nevada, Charlotte, North Carolina, Dahlonega, Georgia, New Orleans, Louisiana, Washington DC, and Manila, Philippines. When it comes to products from the US Mint, you can expect to find the following on the market:
- Silver American Eagle: By far the world’s most popular coin, the US Mint minted and sold 47 million of these coins in 2015 alone, breaking its own sales record for the sixth time in eight years. The official silver bullion coin of the US, these coins contain .999 pure silver with a face value of $1 (USD). Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty image is on the obverse, with John Mercanti’s heraldic eagle on the reverse.
- Gold American Eagle: Introduced the same year as the Silver Eagle, the Gold American Eagle is available in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights, with each coin consisting of 22-karat gold. At the time of its introduction, it was the purest gold coin ever struck in American minting history. The obverse of the Gold American Eagle features the most popular American coin design ever, that of Liberty from Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The reverse side features the American bald eagle family in its nest, and is exclusive to this coin program courtesy of Miley Busiek.
- Platinum American Eagle: The Platinum Eagle was introduced in 1997 with bullion and proof versions, just like its gold and silver counterparts. However, the proof Platinum American Eagle is the only bullion coni program product from the US Mint to feature a different reverse design each year. The obverse always depicts Liberty looking into the future courtesy of former Chief Engraver John Mercanti. The bullion coins have the Eagle soaring above America design created in 1997 by Assistant Engraver Thomas D. Rogers, but subsequent reverse of proof specimens have a new design each year.
- Gold American Buffalo: The newest annual release from the US Mint is the Gold American Buffalo coin, which was the first-ever 24-karat fine gold coin from the mint. It continues the tradition of the Silver and Gold Eagle by reviving a historic American coin design. James Earle Fraser’s Buffalo Nickel (1913-1938) is featured on the obverse and reverse of the Gold American Buffalo, which is also available in bullion and proof.
The United States Mint also currently produces the annual America the Beautiful Series. Though not an indefinite program like those mentioned above, the 56-coin series celebrates each of the 50 states in the US and its five overseas territories, plus the District of Columbia, with their own representative design on 5 oz. silver coins with .999 fine silver content. These commemorative quarters are scheduled to run through 2021 after introduction in 2010, with five new states and designs released annually.
The Royal Canadian Mint is not only the preeminent mint in Canada, it is also one of the most respected facilities in the world. Operating state-of-the-art refining operations in Ottawa and Winnipeg, the Royal Canadian Mint offers a variety of silver products, all of which feature .9999 pure silver, and include:
- Canadian Maple Leaf: The official silver bullion coin of Canada, the Canadian Maple Leaf features the same design on the reverse and obverse each year, and was first introduced in 1988. The 1 oz variety has a $5 (CAD) face value, with 1 Kilo and fractional-weight coins available in proof versions.
- Canadian Bison: These coins were introduced in 2015, and feature a unique 1.25 oz weight with a face value of $8 (CAD).
- Birds of Prey: The four-coin Birds of Prey series from the Royal Canadian Mint honors the natural predators of the air found across Canada. The latest coins, the Red-Tailed Hawk and Owl coins feature the same .9999 purity and 1 oz weight of the Canadian Maple Leaf.
- Canadian Polar Bear: These coins have the same weight, purity, and face value of the Canadian Maple Leaf, and honor the polar bear in Canada. The nation of Canada is believed to have the highest concentration of polar bears anywhere in the world.
Originally founded in 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint has today grown to become one of the world’s preeminent sovereign mints. Canadian currency was originally, from 1858 until 1908, struck by the Royal Mint in London. The growth of Canada as a nation in its own right, combined with the discovery of gold and other precious metals in the Yukon Territories, eventually facilitated the need for the nation to have its own mint.
Today, the royal Canadian Mint strikes more than 1 billion coins annually. In addition to its popular Canadian Maple Leaf series of gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins, the mint also strikes currency for as many as a dozen other countries.
The Mexican Mint, also known as Casa de Moneida de Mexico, is the official mint of the Mexican government. Although it is often overshadowed by its dominant neighbors to the north, the Mexican Mint actually holds the status as the Western Hemisphere’s oldest operating facility. Founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistadors, the Mexican Mint boasts almost 500 years of gold and silver refining. Today, its single most popular product is the Mexican Libertad. The coin is based upon the original gold Centenario from 1921, and features iconic Mexican imagery on the obverse, with the nation’s coat of arms on the reverse. Available in both gold and silver, the details of the coin program include:
- Bullion, proof, and proof-like version struck annually.
- .999 pure silver or gold content.
- Weights available include 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz, 1 oz, 2 oz, and 5 oz The proof-like coin is only available in 1 Kilogram.
- It is the only sovereign bullion coin in the world with no face value.
The modern Mexican Mint is located in Mexico City, the national capital of Mexico. In 1535, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza arrived in what was then called New Spain to assume control of the territory of New Spain from the capital of Mexico City. The colony of New Spain not only included all of Mexico and most of Central America, but also Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, the Bay Islands, and the Philippine Island.
Originally, the Mexican Mint produced coinage that was used throughout the territories of New Spain, and its products were not only used in other regions of North and South America, but even served as the basis of future monetary programs such as the U.S. dollar, Japanese Yen, and Chinese Yuan. Since 1925, Banco de Mexico (the nation’s central bank) has controlled the minting of coins and printing of banknotes handled by the Mexican Mint.
There are a variety of private mints in the United Kingdom which largely serve smaller island territories of the nation or overseas governments that lack their own sovereign minting operations. There is just one sovereign mint and mint location for the British government.
British Royal Mint
The British Royal Mint was originally founded in 886 as the London Mint. Since that time it has been the primary facility responsible for the production of British sovereign coins. Today, in addition to producing coinage and paper currency for the United Kingdom, it produces a variety of silver commemorative bullion coins, including:
- Silver Britannias: The modern-day sovereign in Britain, these coins feature an image of the Roman deity Britannia, who served as a protector for the British Isles. Introduced in 1997, these coins were originally available with .958 fine silver but are now produced in .999 pure silver and have face values in Great British Pounds (GBP £).
- Gold Britannias: Featuring the same designs of the silver version, the official gold bullion coin of the United Kingdom was introduced in 1987 with a gold content of .917 fine gold. Since 2013, the coins have been struck as 24-karat pure gold coins with .9999 fine gold content.
- Shengxiao Series: This is the official name for the Royal Mint’s Lunar Series of coins. Introduced in 2014 with the Year of the Horse, these coins feature unique reverse designs representing the animal for a given year of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. All reverse designs come from British-Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho.
Germany’s national mint system consists of four different mints owned and operated by state governments. When it comes to the production of coins for international governments and investors around the world, Geiger Edelmetalle and the Bavarian State Mint are the go-to facilities in Germany. These facilities include the Staatliche Munzen Bad-Wurttemberg, Staatliche Munze Berlin, Hamburgische Munze, and the Bavarian Central Mint, which is also known as the Bavarian State Mint.
Bavarian State Mint
The Bavarian State Mint is owned and operated by the Free State of Bavaria, and is located in Munich. With a rich history of its own that dates back to 1158, it is one of Germany’s oldest mints. In addition to producing Euro currency for the Eurozone, it also produces the popular Somalian Elephant Series. These coins feature .999 pure silver or .999 pure gold, with recent gold coins bumped up to .9999 pure content, and are available with a new obverse design each year. First introduced in 1999 as Zambian Elephant Coins, these coins are highly coveted by investors and collectors alike today.
Design features of the coin series include the following information:
- Part of the intrigue of the Somalian Elephant coin series among collectors is the ever-changing design set featured on the reverse of each coin. Every year since the introduction of the coin series in 1999, the Bavarian State Mint has altered the design of the African elephant used on the reverse side of the coin. There are common characteristics of the design set from one year to the nest. The motif always focuses on the elephant in its natural habitat on the African continent, but the specific design is never the same.
- The opposite side has always included the national crest, nation of issue, and face value of the coins. Originally this was the Zambian seal, and today features the official coat of arms for the nation of Somalia.
The first currency produced in China dates back to between 3,000 and 4,500 years ago. While there was no formalized Chinese Mint at the time, it is proof of a nation and culture that is steeped in the production of currency. China was one of the first civilizations in the world to establish a national currency when the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, outlawed all currency in favor of a national, uniform copper coin. China even introduced the first paper currency in the 9th century.
The modern Chinese Mint has its roots in the downfall of the Qing Dynasty at the turn of the 20th century, which led to the founding of the first national mint in 1896. The Shenyang Mint was founded in 1896 under the name Fengtian Machinery Bureau. When the imperial rulers fell to the Xinhai Revolution, the leaders of the newly-formed Republic of China moved quickly to establish a national mint system.
In 1920, the government opened the Shanghai Mint, but turbulent times were ahead that made it difficult to keep track of the Chinese Mint’s evolution. The Second Sino-Japanese War led to two decades of strife, occupation, and cultural upheaval in mainland China. The founders of the Republic of China fled to the island of Taiwan during Japanese occupation. During the period of occupation, several branch mints were opened that contributed to production.
Following the end of World War II, communist forces led by Mao Tse Tung overthrew the nationalist government, which eventually remained in exile in what is now modern-day Taiwan, operating under the original national government of the Republic of China. Communist leaders closed all of the branch mints opened during Japanese occupation, and began to consolidate the Chinese Mint facilities under the new People’s Republic of China, handing control of coin production to the People’s Bank of China.
The primary coin program from the Chinese Mint system is the Chinese Panda coin. Available annually in two versions (bullion and proof), the Silver Chinse Panda and Gold Chinese Panda were the first bullion coins in the world to feature new obverse designs on an annual basis. Details of the programs include:
- The Chinese Silver Panda is an official bullion product of the nation with status as legal tender. The face value of the Chinese Silver Panda coin starts at ¥10 for the 1 troy ounce coin. Other weights and face values include the 1 kilogram – ¥300, 12 oz – ¥100, 5 oz – ¥50, ½ oz – ¥5, and ¼ oz – ¥3 coins.
- Chinese Gold Panda coins have a face value listed in ¥ (Yuan) as well. Each coin is considered legal tender and bears a face value that correlates to its total weight based upon the 1 oz coin as a baseline. The 1 oz Chinese Gold Panda has a face value of ¥500. Other coins bears the following weights and face values of ½ oz – ¥200, ¼ oz – ¥100, 1/10 oz – ¥50, and 1/20 oz – ¥20.
As of the 2016 year of issue, the Chinese Mint has shifted the weight measurements of the Silver and Gold Chinese Panda coins away from Troy ounces and into Grams instead. The move is said to better align the nation’s official bullion coins with the use of the metric system by the rest of the country.
The Land Down Under just happens to be home to some of the most sought-after and beloved coins produced in the world. There is no shortage of impressive coins struck in the country, but only the Royal Australian Mint holds the position as the official sovereign mint of the federal government.
Royal Australian Mint
Prior to Australia’s federation movement in the early 20th century, starting in 1903, the nation’s coins were struck by the Royal Mint system governed by the ruling British colonial authorities. That mint system consisted of three facilities, located in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Today, only the Perth Mint remains open and operable, and though it used to produce the nation’s currency, that job now belongs solely to the Royal Australian Mint.
In 1964, the Royal Australian Mint was founded in the federal capital city of Canberra. The opening of the Royal Australian Mint coincided with a shift in the valuation of Australian currency. Following formation of the federation, Australia used a system of currency known as the Australian pound, modeled after the British pound. With the opening of the new sovereign mint, Australia transitioned to decimalization of its currency and adopted the new Australian dollar (AUD).
The predominant coin program from the mint available on the global market is the Gold Royal Australian Kangaroo Coin. Details of this popular coin program include:
- Introduced in 1993.
- On the reverse face of the coin is the image of a kangaroo hopping across the design field, from right to left. Also included in the design is the image of the star of the commonwealth. Both images featured on the copper penny in circulation prior to the founding of the Royal Australian Mint. The Royal Australian Mint introduced additional design elements for this coin’s reverse, which include the leaves of the Tasmanian Blue Gum, the nation of issue, the year of issue, and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content.
- The obverse bears the right-profile portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, ruling monarch of the United Kingdom. Her Majesty’s effigy has appeared on the obverse of Australian currency and that of other commonwealth nations since she ascended to the throne in 1952. This particular design came from Ian Rank-Broadley, and was created in 1998 for use on British, Australian, and commonwealth nations. This is the fourth-generation image of Her Majesty to appear on Australian coins.
The Royal Australian Mint holds the sole duty of producing the nation’s circulation currency, a duty it overtook from the Perth and Melbourne Mints. Today, it also produces bullion and proof commemorative coins in gold and silver.
Purchase Sovereign Government Mint Products from Silver.com
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