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2021 1 oz Silver Somalia Elephant Coins (BU)
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Silver Somalian Elephants at Silver.com
The Silver Elephant coin series from the Bavarian State Mint has quietly grown to become one of the most coveted silver coins for sale in the precious metals market today. The coins were originally introduced in 1999 and today have expanded to offer the same great variety to investors and collectors found in the likes of the Silver American Eagle, Silver Canadian Maple Leaf, Silver Chinese Panda, and silver coins from the Perth Mint of Australia.
Each year the Silver Elephant coins have a new obverse design focused on the African elephant, one of Earth’s most majestic animal species. The coins were among the first in the world, behind the likes of the Silver Panda and Silver Kookaburra, to adopt this rotating design on the obverse of a silver bullion coin. To learn more about this incredible coin series, read on!
Early History of the Silver Elephant
When the Silver Elephant coins were first introduced by the Bavarian State Mint, the coins were actually issued for the nation of Zambia. From 1999 to 2003, the Silver Elephant was known as the Silver Zambian Elephant coin series. Most of the major features of the collection were the same. The Bavarian State Mint issued the coins with .999 fine silver content, One Troy ounce weight, and a new design on the obverse each year.
However, in 2004 the nation of issue was changed from Zambia to Somalia. The new Silver Somalian Elephant coin was introduced in 2004. Little actually changed following the swap from one African nation to the next. The coins still had a new elephant design on the obverse each year and featured .999 fine silver content. The major changes came in the form of the reverse design, which was now the Somalia coat of arms, and the face value which was now issued in Somali Shillings.
From 2004 to 2008 the Silver Somalian Elephant Coins were available in strictly limited mintage figures. The coins were capped at just 5,000 annually through 2008. The first big change to the program came during this period, with the face value of the coins adjusted downward in 2007 from the original 1,000 Somali Shillings (2004-2006) to 100 Shillings, which remains the official face value for the 1 oz silver coin in this series to this point in time.
The Great Recession Sparks Growth in Demand
With the onset of the Great Recession, the Silver Somalian Elephant series really began to take off in terms of popularity and demand. The Bavarian State Mint ended the 5,000 mintage cap and began to strike the coins to meet demand. The immediate result was a massive jump in mintage for 2009 to 130,000 coins from the 5,000 coin cap in 2008. For the next several years, the mint would report much higher figures than the first several years:
- 2010 – 120,000 coins
- 2011 – 170,000 coins
- 2012 – 80,000 coins
- 2013 – 130,000 coins
The Bavarian State Mint continues to pursue this higher mintage level, often coining the Silver Elephant without any mintage cap in mind. The next major change to the program came in 2016 when the Bavarian State Mint increased the metallic fineness in the coins to .9999 fine silver from the previously used .999 fine silver.
2017 and Expansion of the Series
The Silver Somalian Elephant cemented itself as a leading precious metal option in 2017 when the Bavarian State Mint significantly expanded the collection to attract even more investors and collectors. For the 2017 release of the Silver Somalian Elephant, the Bavarian State Mint introduced six more weights in the silver coin collection.
Added to the collection for the year were first-ever fractional-weight coins, which included a ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz option. However, these weren’t the only newcomers to the collection. The mint decided to offer coins over 1 oz silver weights for the first time as well. Also joining the Silver Elephant series in 2017 were a 2 oz, 5 oz, and 10 oz coins. Of course, with new coins joining the silver collection, new face values were established for each coin based off the 1 oz coin being a 100 Shilling (Somali) face value. The new face values assigned are as follows:
- 1/10 oz – 10 Shillings
- ¼ oz – 25 Shillings
- ½ oz – 50 Shillings
- 2 oz – 200 Shillings
- 5 oz – 500 Shillings
- 10 oz – 1,000 Shillings
When the coins are released in the bullion series each year, the Silver Elephants are available in one of three shipment options. Individual coins ship to you inside of protective capsules. Multiples of 20 are packaged inside of mint tubes, and sealed boxes are also available for multiples of 500 coins.
Variety within the Silver Elephant Series
Beyond the silver bullion versions of the Silver Somalia Elephant, you’ll find that these popular coins come in a variety of different options that have much lower mintage figures and offer varying choices for investors and collectors. Examples of the varying types of Silver Elephants available include:
- Gilded Silver Elephants – these coins are issued with most release years and come from Emporium Hamburg, an authorized third-party dealer. These are the bullion versions of the coin with a thin layer of 24-karat gold applied to the elephant design featured on the coins each year. The use of gold doesn’t increase the precious metal value of the coin, but it does create a unique collectible piece.
- Colorized Silver Elephants – Emporium is also responsible for the addition of colorized lacquers to the elephant design fields each year. In doing so, the coins have a vibrant visual appeal that showcases the elephant in its natural habitat.
- Day/Night Sets – building on the success of colorized coins, Emporium will offer Silver Somalia Elephants in a Day-Night 2-Coin Set. Both coins have colorized fields on the elephant design face of the coin, with one using brighter colors to capture a daytime scene while the other uses muted colors to capture the same scene at night.
- Antique – not as common as the other options, antique coins have a distinctive polish applied that gives the coins a sense of old-world charm.
- High Relief – also not as common as the gilded and colorized options, high relief proofs use the same designs from the bullion coin each year but deliver a 3D field that provides depth to the visual elements of the coin.
- Lunar Privy Silver Elephants – the Bavarian State Mint uses its popular Silver Elephant designs each year as a vehicle for delivering Lunar-themed privy marks. Examples of this include the 2013 Lunar Snake Privy that features a cobra privy mark on the side with the elephant design.
- Other Privy Marks – on occasion, the Bavarian State Mint has also issued commemorative privy marks celebrating a particular event. The 2015 Silver Elephant, for example, was available with a low mintage option that had a privy mark of the Willis Tower from Chicago. This was released during the 2015 World’s Fair of Money hosted in the city.
Design Concepts for Silver Elephants
As mentioned earlier, the Bavarian State Mint focuses on delivering a new obverse design in the Silver Somalian Elephant collection each year. This has been a large part of the appeal of the coins, providing investors with the opportunity to purchase .9999 fine silver coins that have the added value of new imagery for each date mark. The obverse side, though different each year, does tend to have a common concept.
Each new obverse design in the Silver Somalian Elephant range focuses on the largest land mammal in the world in its natural habitat. The designs have varied by year to include either one adult elephant or offering a view of a family unit, typically a mother with its young calf. You’ll often find winding rivers and trees native to the African continent depicted in the background field.
On the reverse of all Silver Somalian Elephant is the coat of arms for Somalia. This design facet of the Silver Elephant series has never changed since 2004. The coat of arms includes a shield with horizontal lines across it and a singular star in the center, similar to the singular star on the national flag. Two leopards support the shield on either side and crossed spears below that are draped with a ribbon. Engravings on this face read “Somali Republic” above, the year of issue split on either side of the coat of arms, and the face value of the coin below.
Background on the Bavarian State Mint
The Bavarian State Mint is one of Europe’s oldest operating facilities, and one of the oldest in the world. Located in the capital of Germany’s Bavarian region, the city of Munich in the state of Bavaria, the mint was founded in 1158. The Free State of Bavaria owns and operates the mint today, but its history is a rocky one.
Within one hundred years of its opening, the mint was nearly closed. Originally lauded for its coins and a fixture within the region for coining currency for local economies, the 13th century saw the mint’s reputation come under fire as the low silver content of its products led to criticism and devaluation of currency produced there.
In a rare bit of coining history, the citizens of Bavaria actually took action against the facility. The coin forges of the original Munich mint were destroyed and many of the individuals responsible for coining currency at the time were killed. Upheaval followed in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries at the Bavarian State Mint. For example, the mint was a dual-coining facility for Austrians and Bavarians during the Austrian occupation of the region from 1705 to 1714 following the War of Spanish Succession. The Bavarian State Mint was established as a national mint during the formation of the German Empire in 1871 (known as the Second Reich).
Modern history has been kinder to the mint. It is now one of the five national facilities in Germany, even though it’s overseen locally by the Free State of Bavaria. It was previously authorized to print and strike German Deutschemark currency, and now fulfills production of Euros for the German people.
Buy Your Silver Somalian Elephants at Silver.com
At Silver.com, you have a number of options available to pay for your Silver Somalian Elephant coins. We proudly accept the following forms of payment major credit/debit cards, which are processed on average within one business day. Bank wire transfers and PayPal payments process immediately, releasing your coins for shipping faster than other options. Paper checks have a 4-6 business day processing time, but like bank wire transfers come with a 4% discount on your overall purchase.
Silver.com offers a shipping fee that is tiered based upon the amount of your overall purchase. For any purchase over $3,000, Silver.com offers free shipping and insurance on your package. All products are discreetly packaged and shipped via the US Postal Service or UPS. In the event of lost or damaged items, we’ll work with the carrier to either recover your shipment or file a claim on your behalf to enable a refund.
If you have any questions about the Silver Somalian Elephant coins, please don’t hesitate to contact a Silver.com associate. We’re available at 888-989-7223, online via live web chat, or through email. If you’re curious about the ups and downs of silver, you can always check our silver spot price chart online when buying!