Compared to silver and gold, which have been used as currency since ancient times, platinum is a relative newcomer on the financial scene. In fact, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Russia discovered platinum in the Ural mountains and used it to mint rubles, thus transforming platinum from commodity to precious metal. Today, the vast majority of platinum is mined in Russia and South Africa.
Platinum is extremely rare compared to other precious metals. Only about 5 million troy ounces are mined each year; in comparison, nearly 550 million troy ounces of silver are produced annually. In fact, it’s estimated that all the platinum mined in the history of the world would fit in one 25-foot cube!
Despite its rarity, platinum is a critical component in auto manufacturing and the chemical and electrical industries, in addition to being highly desirable for jewelry. If platinum mining stopped today, there would only be about one year’s industrial supply available above ground; conversely, there is already enough mined gold to meet industrial needs for the next 25 years.
Because of its scarcity and industrial desirability, platinum has become a popular choice among investors who are interested in diversifying their portfolios with precious metals.
Platinum is traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the London Metal Exchange, and electronically at the Chicago Board of Trade. Platinum bullion comes in two forms: Bars, or ingots, and coins. Many investors find platinum bars the more attractive investment option for many reasons.
Platinum bars are very small and easy to store at home; storing an extremely valuable amount of platinum requires very little space. A person wishing to purchase $10,000 in precious metals, for example, would need to carry home about 36 pounds of silver bars, but less than half a pound of platinum ingots.
Platinum bars are more readily available than platinum coins. Not only is platinum more valuable than other precious metals, it is also more difficult to mint into coins, so there are fewer mints offering them. This drives up the cost of platinum bullion coins as compared to the cost of platinum bars of equal weight.
Platinum bars come in gram weights and troy ounce weights. Investors can choose from one gram and five gram bars, and one troy ounce and 10 troy ounce bars, as opposed to other precious metals, which are typically available in a much wider variety of sizes.
As with all bullion purchases, experts recommend buying the largest ingot or bar that you can afford to stay closer to spot price. It’s less expensive, for example, to purchase one five-gram bar instead of five one-gram bars. This is because fabrication costs are basically the same whether the mint stamps a small bar or a large bar, so production costs are lower for large bars as a percent of value.
Investment grade platinum is 99.95% pure with a .9995 stamp, and all new platinum bars are accompanied by a tamper-resistant assay card certifying its purity and authenticity. The serial number on the assay card should match the serial number etched on the bar. If you are buying platinum bars in other than new condition, the original assay card may not be available.
Platinum bullion is priced somewhat similarly to gold and with a similar premium over spot price. However, there are far fewer mints offering platinum products compared to other precious metals, so the premium may be higher than other metals because of the smaller number of products available.
Platinum bars are generally less expensive than platinum coins of equal weight. This is due to a combination of factors, including fabrication costs for the more elaborate coins, the small number of mints that produce them, and their value as collector’s items. PAMP Suisse and Credit Suisse provide the majority of platinum bullion bars, but there are dozens of reputable mints, such as Valcambi Suisse, that also offer investment-quality platinum bullion products.
Investing in precious metals has never been easier. Online purchasing at Silver.com is simple, secure, and transparent. Our low prices are clearly displayed, and you can always see platinum spot prices in real time. We also provide IRA-approved precious metal products; we have experts on staff who will work with your custodian to simplify transfers and contributions. In addition to our secure online ordering system, you have the option of ordering by phone for a more personalized purchasing experience.
When you buy from Silver.com, we quickly ship your order directly to your door in discreet protective packaging. Shipping is free with purchases of $3,000 or greater. If you’re ready to add platinum to your investment portfolio, shop Silver.com’s selection of platinum bars today or call us at 1-888-989-7223.