Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Endangered and Extinct Tasmanian Devil 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin - The Perth Mint, Australia

 
Endangered and Extinct Tasmanian Devil 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin - The Perth Mint, Australia
  • Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver
  • Stunning Reverse Design
  • Issued as Legal Tender
  • Strictly Limited Mintage – 5,000
  • Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
  • Presentation Packaging




The third issue in this series features the terrific Tasmanian Devil.  Be quick because this coin is sure to be a sell-out like its predecessors!

Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver

The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality.

Stunning Reverse Design

The coin portrays a magnificent Tasmanian Devil in colour. The background comprises representations of fern leaves and a rocky den.

Issued as Legal Tender

The coin is issued as legal tender under the authority of the Government of Tuvalu. The Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the monetary denomination and the 2013 year-date appear on the obverse of the coin.

Strictly Limited Mintage

No more than 5,000 of these coins will be released.

Numbered Certificate of Authenticity

A numbered Certificate of Authenticity accompanies this coin.

The 2012 Christmas Locket - One Ounce Silver Proof Coin - The Perth Mint

The 2012 Christmas Locket - One Ounce Silver Proof Coin from The Perth Mint





Features include:
  • Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver
  • Locket Insert with Semi-Precious Gemstones
  • Australian Legal Tender
  • Limited Mintage – 5,000
  • Gift Card Packaging 
One of the forgotten traditions of the festive season is the giving and receiving of coins.  Throughout history, coins and medallions have been given to loved ones for their precious metal value and as a token of respect, affection and esteem.

Christmas, throughout many countries in the world is a time of celebration and for honouring the ideals of peace, joy, hope and happiness.

This lovely locket coin will make an enduring gift or keepsake that will be treasured for many years to come.

Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver

Each coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 99.9% pure silver in proof quality.

Locket Insert with Semi-Precious Gemstones

The coin’s reverse portrays a joyful abstract design, inspired by snow crystals and Christmas ornaments.  The coin incorporates a transparent locket containing an array of gorgeous semi-precious gemstones.  The Perth Mint’s famous ‘P’ mintmark is also featured in the design.

Australian Legal Tender

Issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the coin’s obverse depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Limited Mintage

Only 5,000 of these coins will be struck by The Perth Mint.

Presentation Packaging

The coin is presented in a colourfully illustrated gift card which folds open giving you space to write a personalised message to your loved one.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Endangered and Extinct Series Silver One Ounce Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle

  • Stunning Reverse Design
  • Issued as Legal Tender
  • Strictly Limited Mintage – 5,000
  • Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
  • Presentation Packaging



The second coin in the Endangered and Extinct series is the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle, a huge bird that stands one metre tall and has a wingspan roughly twice its height.

Separated for thousands of years from its mainland counterparts, it now faces a number of threats, including the loss of suitable habitat.  As a result, it is estimated that no more than 130 pairs are successfully breeding each year.

Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver

The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality.

Stunning Reverse Design

This extraordinary coin portrays a magnificent Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle in colour. The background comprises representations of gum leaves and mountainous terrain.

Legal Tender

The coin is issued as legal tender under the authority of the Government of Tuvalu. The Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the 2012 year-date appear on the obverse of the coin.

Strictly Limited Mintage

No more than 5,000 of these coins will be released.

Presentation Packaging

Each coin is housed in a high gloss wooden case and illustrated shipper.

Numbered Certificate of Authenticity

A numbered Certificate of Authenticity accompanies each coin.

Technical Specifications

Silver Content (Troy oz) 1
Monetary Denomination (TVD) 1
Fineness (% purity) 99.9
Minimum Gross Weight (g) 31.135
Maximum Diameter (mm) 40.60
Maximum Thickness (mm) 4.00

Commencing with the Tasmanian Tiger and continuing with the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle, this outstanding series will feature a number of extinct or threatened animal species in Australia.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lunar Series II 2013 Year of the Snake 1oz Silver Proof High Relief Coin - Perth Mint Australia




Lunar Series II 2013 Year of the Snake 1oz Silver Proof High Relief Coin From The Perth Mint Australia featuring:

  • Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver
  • Chinese Snake Reverse in Spectacular High Relief
  • Australian Legal Tender
  • Extremely Limited Mintage - 7,500
  • Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
  • Stylish Presentation Packaging
  • Great Gift Idea

In 2013, The Perth Mint's internationally renowned Australian Lunar Series II celebrates the Year of the Snake, the sixth auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac.

The birth dates for people ruled by the Chinese Lunar snake include 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013.  Those born under the influence of this sign are said to be intelligent, graceful, independent, analytical and charming.

Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver

The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 99.9% pure silver in proof quality.

Chinese Snake Reverse in Spectacular High Relief

The coin's high relief reverse and obverse are minted on concave surfaces to ensure the optimum flow of metal is achieved by the strike of the die.

The reverse of the coin depicts a representation of a snake curled around a tree branch.  The Chinese character for 'snake' and the inscription 'Year of the Snake' also appear in the design with The Perth Mint's traditional 'P' mintmark.

Australian Legal Tender

Issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse.

Extremely Limited Mintage


No more than 7,500 of these coins will be released.

Numbered Certificate of Authenticity

The coin is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

Stylish Presentation Packaging

The coin is housed in a stylish black and red display case, with a striking illustrated shipper.

Technical Specifications

Silver Content (Troy oz) 1
Monetary Denomination (AUD) 1
Fineness (% purity) 99.9
Minimum Gross Weight (g) 31.135
Maximum Diameter (mm) 32.60
Maximum Thickness (mm) 6.00
Designer Ing Ing Jon

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gold and Silver Outlook for October 9


The prices of gold and silver were traded down again for the second consecutive business day. Other commodities prices, such as oil, and the Euro/USD also declined on the first day of the week. On the other hand, several "risk currencies" such as the Canadian dollar and Aussie dollar traded up against the USD. In Europe, there are mixed messages regarding Spain's bailout.

Until this issue will be resolved, I suspect the uncertainty around the Euro will remain high. According to the IMF the world economy will grow by only 3.3% in 2012 - the slowest growth rate since 2009. The IMF revised down its projection from 3.5%. This news may pull down commodities prices. Merkel will visitAthens today; perhaps following this visit some light will be shed onGermany's position vis-à-vis the Greek debt crisis and possible delay in payments. Today, ECB President Speaks andGreat Britain Manufacturing Production.

On Today's Agenda

ECB President Speaks: Mario Draghi will talk in Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament, in Brussels. In his speech he might refer to the future monetary steps the ECB. This speech might affect the Euro;

Great Britain Manufacturing Production: this report will present the yearly rate of GB's manufacturing production for August; in the last report regarding July the index rose by 3.2% (M-2-M); this news may affect the British Pound;

Currencies / Bullion Market - October Update

The Euro/ USD also declined on Monday by 0.55% to 1.2968. On the other hand, several currencies including AUD appreciated last week against the USD by 0.04%. The correlation between gold and Euro remains mid-strong and positive: during September-October, the linear correlation between the gold and EURO/USD reached 0.623 (daily percent changes); the linear correlation between the gold and AUD/USD was 0.69 (daily percent changes).

Following yesterday's mixed trend in the forex markets in which the Euro depreciated while the Aussie dollar and CAD appreciated against the USD, this could contributed to the unclear trend of precious metals prices. Nonetheless, if the Euro and other risk currencies will rally, they are likely to also pull up gold and silver.

More People Ask 'How Do You Buy Silver?'


It was more than ten years ago when I bought my first gold and silver bullion.

Back then, there were no U.S.-based ETFs available that invested only in the metals and, as was the case back in the 1970s during the last precious metals bull market, if you wanted to own gold and silver in the early-2000s, you either had to call up a coin shop or settle for mining stocks rather than the metal.

In fact, I recall one time in early 2004 when I decided to buy some junk silver (pre-1965 coins, 90 percent silver) and, between the time that I placed my order until the time that I had to mail a check, the silver price had dropped from about $7 an ounce to below $6 an ounce.

Apparently, the coin shop felt so sorry for me about my unfortunate timing that they waived the shipping charge which, for anyone who has lifted bags full of silver coins with a face value of $1,000 can tell you, is not cheap (they weigh over 50 pounds).

Obviously, more than just the price of silver has changed since then.

I still have those bags of coins and, while I've traded in some 100 ounce silver bars over the years for silver ETF shares, I'll probably hang on to those coins for many, many years.

You never know when they might come in handy.

Anyway, these memories were spurred by this little question and answer article at Money Magazine and a short stroll down memory lane seemed appropriate before delving into the deeper meaning behind one Pinikin D. writing in to ask the nation's most popular personal finance magazine how to purchase silver.

Now, I've long considered Money Magazine to be one of the best contrary indicators around for gold and silver - whenever they heartily recommend the stuff, that's when I'll start thinking about selling.

Like most of the rest of the mainstream financial media, gold and silver are, for the most part, still frowned upon by Money Mag and, though I haven't been a subscriber for many years, I haven't seen anything in their online commentary that would suggest they've deviated from their long-time advice of, basically, "If you feel you have to own precious metals, don't make it more than 5 percent of your portfolio and favor the stocks over the bullion".

This has been terrible advice for more than a decade. However, I was curious to see if anything had changed.

So, Pinikin D. asked, "How do I purchase silver in physical form or stock?

And, to my surprise, there was a rather succinct and well thought out response provided by Marc Mewshaw that covered all the possibilities without discouraging such an investment or warning about the dangers of too high an asset allocation.

First, two silver ETFs were suggested -the wildly popular iShares Silver Trust (SLV) and ETFS Silver Trust (SIVR) and then it was noted that American Silver Eagles and Canadian Maple Leafs can be purchased at coin shops.

This was followed by some thoughts from precious metals expert Rich Checkan of Asset Strategies International about coin premiums and ETF management fees along with some advice about what sort of silver bars to buy (though I have no idea what was meant by "avoid buying bars with lower-than-advertised purity").

It was all very matter-of-fact ... and that's what got me thinking.

Has Money Magazine come on board with the whole idea that investors should have more than a token asset allocation to precious metals now that the gold and silver bull market is moving further into its second decade?

If so, that could be significant, strictly from a numbers standpoint since, after all, many of their 2 million subscribers take their advice.

Broad participation by U.S. investors has been a key missing ingredient in this bull market and, though India and China have both done a pretty good job at sustaining physical demand even as prices have soared in recent years, we are not likely to enter the really "bubbly" phase of the bull market until U.S. investors begin to make a major commitment to precious metals.

More than just a token "five percent, if you must."

Back in the late-1970s and into the early-1980s, gold and silver were a core holding of investors around the world, the former accounting for upwards of 10 percent of all investment assets at one time. However, in the decades that followed, a long-running bull market in stocks made precious metals almost obsolete.

Few people wanted the stuff and this was clear to see as prices plunged and both metals endured a 20-year funk.

But, all that changed at the turn of the century and, over the last ten years, stock prices have been flat or lower while gold and silver prices have soared.

Moreover, with central banks around the world printing money with abandon in the last few years and nary a sign of them easing back, it's no wonder people are writing into Money Magazine asking how to buy physical silver.

While it's surely a mistake to read too much into this one magazine article, it offers hope that, after $10 trillion or so in global money printing, U.S. investors are finally looking to diversify out of paper assets into something more tangible and an acceleration of this trend could bode well for the final manic stage of the precious metals bull market coming sooner rather than later.

How Silver Protects Ones Purchasing Power Over Time

It is hard to find a better example of how silver protects purchasing power over long periods than to look at the story of the Australian 1966 “round” 50 cent piece.

1966 was the first year of Australia’s new decimal currency having changed form using pounds and pence. As in most other countries in the 1960’s silver was being removed from circulating coinage and the same was true in Australia. However the decision had been made to make the 50 cent piece the showpiece of the new coins and against advice from some officials at the time, the decision was made to mint the coin from silver and around 36 million pieces were struck.

Soon after the coins release, the price of silver started rising and it was no longer feasible for the government to make the coins from silver. No 50 cent coins were struck in 1967 and 1968, and the next 50 cent coin was issued in 1969 with the same design, but instead of being round it was a copper-nickel dodecagonal (12 sided) coin.


Back in the late 1960’s 50 cents was a good sum of money. In both 1966 and 1969, 50 cents could buy you a decent lunch. Fast forward to today and let’s see how the coins have held up.

An average circulated “round 50 cent piece sells for its silver value of between $11.50 and $12.50 which is still good enough to buy a decent lunch with maybe a little change. The 1969 copper-nickel 50 cent piece in average circulated condition is worth its face value only. It is hard to buy anything for 50 cents in Australia these days and you certainly can not get a lunch at all.


So here we have a simple real life example of how silver has protected ones purchasing power over time.

1966 “round” 50 Cents Nominal Specifications

Denomination:
50 cents
Metal:
80% Silver
20% Copper
Silver Content:
0.3416 oz
Mass:
13.28 grams
Diameter:
31.50 mm
Reverse:
Stuart Devlin
Obverse:
Arnold Machin

Article Written By Paul Behan

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Silver Coin Set - New Zealand Mint

This set of six 1oz silver proof coins features Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield, Gollum, Radagast and Elrond. Available from mid November 2012.


 
Highlights
  • Low worldwide mintage of just 1,000 sets
  • Each coin is minted from 0.999 silver
  • The rim of each coin is inscribed in both English and Dwarvish with the words 'Middle-earth - New Zealand'
  • Features Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield, Gollum, Radagast and Elrond
  • Packaged within a beautiful carved wooden case featuring the official The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey logo and a silhouette of the travelling party
  • Individually numbered certificate
Each coin in this silver proof set portrays an important character in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Along with Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield, the set of six 1oz silver proof coins features Radagast - an eccentric wizard and friend to Gandalf, Elrond - one of the wisest and most ancient elves in Middle-earth, and Gollum - a mysterious creature that will change Bilbo’s life forever.

This set of precious coins and the accompanying certificate are presented within a carved wooden case - featuring the official logo and a silhouette of the travelling party.

Technical specification 

Each coin in this silver proof set portrays an important character in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Along with Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield, the set of six 1oz silver proof coins features Radagast - an eccentric wizard and friend to Gandalf, Elrond - one of the wisest and most ancient elves in Middle-earth, and Gollum - a mysterious creature that will change Bilbo’s life forever. This set of precious coins and the accompanying certificate are presented within a carved wooden case - featuring the official logo and a silhouette of the travelling party.

Denomination: One New Zealand dollar
Finish: Proof
Composition: 0.999 silver
Weight: 1 troy oz
Diameter: 40mm
Edge treatment: Milled
Shape: Round
Obverse design: Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley, United Kingdom
Reverse design: Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield, Gollum, Radagast and Elrond
Mint: Royal Australian Mint
Worldwide mintage limit: 1,000

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Silver Coin with Gold Plating

This 1oz silver proof coin with selective gold plating is sure to be a favourite. Featuring Bilbo Baggins with Bag End in the background, this coin is a must for any Hobbit fan.


Highlights
  • Worldwide mintage of 20,000
  • Minted from 0.999 silver
  • Gold plated rim inscribed in both English and Dwarvish with the words 'Middle-earth - New Zealand'
  • Features Bilbo Baggins with Bag End in the background
  • Individually numbered certificate
The 1oz silver proof coin with gold plating is sure to be a favourite worldwide. It features selective gold plating around the rim, where the words ‘Middle-earth - New Zealand’ are inscribed in both English and Dwarvish. The depiction of Bilbo Baggins embarking on his journey captures the theme of the film and the individually numbered certificate adds to the collectability of this timeless coin.

Technical specification
 
The 1oz silver proof coin with gold plating is sure to be a favourite worldwide. It features selective gold plating around the rim, where the words ‘Middle-earth - New Zealand’ are inscribed in both English and Dwarvish. The depiction of Bilbo Baggins embarking on his journey captures the theme of the film and the individually numbered certificate adds to the collectability of this timeless coin.
Denomination: One New Zealand dollar
Finish: Proof
Composition: 0.999 silver with selective gold plating
Weight: 1 troy oz
Diameter: 40mm
Edge treatment: Milled
Shape: Round
Obverse design: Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley, United Kingdom
Reverse design: Bilbo Baggins leaving Bag End
Mint: Royal Australian Mint
Worldwide mintage limit: 20,000

Technical Alert: Silver Makes Golden Cross (SLV, SIL)

For all of you technical junkies out there, it may be time to take a closer look at silver and its respective investment vehicles. In the past few days, silver completed the “golden cross” as its 50 day moving average jumped past its 200 day average. This comes as good news especially given that the commodity suffered a death cross back in November of 2011. A moving average crossover is a lagging technical indicator because it generates a delayed signal that a trend reversal has occurred, making this a potentially significant event.

When a shorter-period moving average crosses above a longer-period moving average, as has happened with silver, it is commonly referred to as a “bullish crossover”. A bullish crossover implies that positive momentum is prevailing as the near-term price increases of a security outpace the longer-term average price, thus signaling a positive trend reversal. The golden cross moniker is specifically reserved for the 50 day average crossing the 200 day average. The chart below shows this pattern in SLV as the 50 day MA (blue line) eclipsed the 200 day MA (yellow line) in the past few days.

 

Some may not buy into the technical analysis side of the equation, but for many this signals a bullish momentum that could propel silver forward for weeks to come.

The precious metal has already been performing quite well, now with technical indicators aligning in its favor, silver may be set for a strong close to 2012. Investors will want to keep a close eye on funds like the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) as well as the Silver Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:SIL) as they will likely be big movers in the coming trading sessions.

Silver Bullion Coins from Around the World


Some of the most popular modern collectible coins are the one ounce silver coins struck by various countries around the world. Generally struck in either circulation strike format or in a special format (such as proof or specimen strikings) more targeted towards collectors, these coins often feature distinctive and unique designs containing elements of the country from the country of issue. There are a number of countries which have produced these one ounce silver bullion coins since the early 1980s, while other countries have only recently added these types of coins to their numismatic releases, generally selling them for a premium over the silver content.

Bullion coins such as the ones that will be discussed in this article are generally struck in pure silver, with the absolute fineness ranging from 99.9% to 99.999% with variations possible depending on the country and year of issue. Initially most countries have offered one troy ounce coins only, but many series have expanded to offer both smaller and larger versions up to one kilo size containing 32.015 troy ounces of pure silver. In this article we will take a look at a few of the most popular silver bullion coins from around the world and provide a brief introduction to the series. While each carries a denomination and remains legal tender in their respective countries of issue, these coins are generally defined as “Non-Circulating Legal-Tender” abbreviated as “NCLT.”

American Silver Eagles



Perhaps one of the most well-known bullion series is the American Silver Eagle program which started in 1986. Struck in 99.9% silver, the weight and fineness are guaranteed by the United States government, making it a very popular coin with silver bullion investors. The bullion version generally trades for several dollars over spot value, which is still reasonable, although the Proof version usually sells for around double that amount or more.

The proofs have been produced yearly and come in special individual packaging. The bullion coins come in boxes of 500 coins (called “monster boxes”) which contain twenty-five tubes of twenty coins each. Special collector versions have been produced in 1995, 2006, 2011 and 2012, most notably in the latter three years when a so-called “reverse-proof” version of the coin was issued. The design has remained the same since its introduction in 1986.

Mexican Libertad



The Mexican Libertad can be considered to have been the first modern one ounce silver bullion coin. Introduced in 1982 in a one ounce version, it is now struck in minor versions of 1/20, 1/10, ¼ and ½ ounce coins, plus larger versions of 2 and 5 ounce coins as well as a kilo version. Like the American Silver Eagles the Mexican Libertads are struck in 99.9% fine silver.

Proof versions have been sold in limited quantities and trade for a premium over the silver content. Two different designs have been used, with the first type in use until 1995 and the second type from that year on. Like the Silver Eagles, the one ounce bullion strikes sell for a relatively modest premium for the most common years, although there are a few exceptions depending on the total mintage.

Chinese Panda



Perhaps one of the most popular modern coin series, the Chinese silver panda series has been produced since 1983. Initially offered in extremely limited quantities to collectors in a one ounce version, the series has expanded to include 1/4 and 1/2 ounce coins (struck rarely) as well as larger 5 and 12 ounce coins and recently kilo coins as well. The design changes yearly, although some of the earlier years had the same design for a few years, as well as the 2001 and 2002 issues.

Special releases include gold plated pandas, special strikings for Chinese companies (often banks), as well as Panda medals that are generally collected with the series and are usually released in conjunction with numismatic expos around the world. All issues trade for a strong premium over the silver content and Panda’s are usually not bought by investors seeking mere bullion coins.

Canadian Maple Leaf



Marketed as the purest silver bullion coin available on today’s market, the Canadian Maple Leaf has been produced since 1988. Struck in silver composition of 99.99% fine it comes in a variety of different formats. Uncirculated coins are packed individually while special collector editions often come in packaging ranging from plastic boxes to gilded wooden boxes. Like the commemorative coins that the Royal Canadian Mint produces, the total number of special maple leaf releases is very high, making it virtually impossible to collect them all without unlimited funds.

Some of the more noteworthy special editions include a 1998 10 ounce coin struck to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the series, a piedfort version (a coin struck on a planchet of double weight) released in 2010, as well as many coins with special privy marks. These latter versions have a special imprint generally in the field commemorating a special event or person. The series was further expanded in 2011 with the introduction of a one kilo silver maple leaf coin with a limited mintage.

Austrian Philharmonic



Another coin which is popular with bullion investors is the Austrian Philharmonic. First issued only very recently, in 2008, it shares the design with its gold version which was introduced back in 1989. The design features very historical elements native to Vienna, where the coins are struck. No special versions have been released yet, making it one of the more affordable series to complete, with a full set feasible for a relatively small premium over the bullion value. They generally come in tubes of twenty coins each, packed in simple boxes of twenty-five rolls.

Australian Kookaburra



First released in 1990, the Australian Kookaburra was that nation’s first one ounce silver coin. One of the most frequently changed bullion coins, its design has changed annually since it was first strike, while the face value was lowered from AU$5 to AU$1 in 1992.

From the beginning production included both uncirculated and Proof versions, while later on gilded and colored versions were added, and similar to the Canadian maple leaves privy marked coins have been released as well. For much of the series, mintages were generally limited to 300,000 pieces for the one ounce size coins, although in recent years the limit has been increased. Currently, the coins are available in 1 kilo, 10 ounce, and one ounce sizes.

Australian Kangaroo




Australian’s second longest-running bullion series was introduced in 1993 and features Australia’s most famous animal. The annually rotating reverse design has ranged from almost photo-like depictions of kangaroos to traditional Aboriginal art designs.

Struck in both uncirculated as well as Proof format, the coins popularity has excluded them generally from trading anywhere near silver value, whether purchased from the Mint directly or from dealers. This series is produced by the Royal Australian Mint, while the Kookaburra series as well as several others are produced by the Perth Mint of Australia.

Other Bullion coins



These are just a limited selection of the bullion coins that are released annually. The number continues to grow with each year, especially following the recent surge in silver prices and an increased interest in collecting modern world coin issues. The United States Mint introduced a series of five ounce silver bullion coins featuring the designs of the America the Beautiful Quarters starting in 2010.

In the same year, the Royal Canadian Mint introduced a one ounce silver bullion series featuring different wildlife designs. Additional series from the Perth Mint include an annual Australian Lunar series featuring the animals of the ancient Chinese lunar calendar and a Silver Koala series introduced in 2007.

Russia released one ounce silver bullion coins in a limited quantity in 2009 and 2010, displaying St. George the Victorious on one side. Britain already followed in 1997, but unlike the other coins discussed in this article those coins only contain 95.8% silver, making them less popular than some of the others.

Starting in 2013, this composition will be changed to 99.9% purity. Other coins that can be classified in the “silver bullion coin” category include New Zealand Kiwis, Somalia Monkeys and Elephants, Fiji Turtles, Zambian Elephants and Dutch silver ducats. Generally, these are released in limited mintages and sold to collectors at a premium over their silver value.

Conclusion

With so many different silver bullion coins available, it is nearly impossible to collect them all. In fact, as we have seen in above, collecting all of the multiple versions and sizes for even one series has become a challenging and expensive endeavor. The question remains- how should one collect them? Obviously, a collector will often limit him or herself to one country, and then further specialize in only one series or one denomination.

It truly is open to one’s wishes, especially since new series are created almost yearly, with new collecting possibilities opening up as frequently. Feel free to add a comment how you like to collect modern silver bullion coins, or if you have helpful advice for beginning collectors who are lost in the maze that is called “modern silver bullion coins”.

The Solar Silver Thrust


In early July, Japan set a premium price for solar energy that was three times the rate of conventional power. This meant utility companies would be paid three times more for electricity sourced from solar. It's widely expected that the premium will ignite the use of solar power -- and solar uses a lot of silver.

Silver Demand From PV Panels

As you may know, silver is used in photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate solar power. A typical solar panel uses a fair amount of the metal -- roughly two-thirds of an ounce (20 grams). To put that in perspective, a cellphone contains around 200 to 300 milligrams (a milligram weighs about as much as a grain of sand). A laptop contains 750 milligrams to 1.25 grams.

Photovoltaic technology is relatively young, but its use is growing rapidly each year. Just since 2000, the amount of silver consumed by solar-panel makers has risen an average of 50% per year. Demand grew from one million ounces in 2002 to 60 million ounces in 2011. Last year demand from the PV industry represented almost 11% of total industrial demand for the metal (excluding jewelry). According to statistics from CPM Group, demand grew by 11.2 million ounces, the strongest volume growth of all major sources (jewelry and electronics). And this was before the Japanese announcement was made.

(click image to enlarge)



The largest end-user of solar panels is Germany, though that's changing. Last year, Germany accounted for 27.3% of global installations, but due to subsidy cuts, solar-panel installation capacity dropped from 7.7 gigawatts (GW) to 7.5GW. In the big picture, that decline was offset by increases in China, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, and the U.S.

In their 2012 Yearbook, CPM projected a slight decline in silver demand from solar panels due to a reduction of new installation in Europe and oversupply from excess production in China. But with the initiative from Japan, that estimate is almost certainly low.

Japan Gives New Life To PV Industry

After the Fukushima disaster, Japanese authorities wanted to cut the nation's dependence on nuclear energy. Approximately 30% of Japan's power was generated by nuclear before the catastrophe -- now the focus has shifted to other green energy alternatives, including solar.

The new tariffs might work. The suggested rate of 42 JPY ($0.53) per kilowatt hour (expected to be maintained for 20 years) is more than twice the rate in Germany (€0.17, or $0.246). Bloomberg estimates that this generous increase will create $9.6 billion investments in Japan alone.

Here's what that amount of money would do to the sector: There were approximately 1.3GW of solar capacity installed in 2011, but experts anticipate that number to nearly double to 2.3-2.5GW for 2012, and hit 3.0GW in 2013. According to SolarBuzz, Japan could see 28GW of solar capacity installed by 2020 and 50GW by 2030.

That's a lot of solar panels, and -- even assuming improved efficiency -- it'll take a lot of silver.

Price Factors

During recent years, solar panels have become significantly less expensive and more end-user friendly. However, the fact that each panel contains a lot of silver can make it susceptible to large price fluctuations. If the silver price gets too high, manufacturers might seek alternatives, of course, but they can't easily eliminate use of the metal. And if the product gets too expensive, demand could fall. Companies are already looking for ways to reduce the amount of silver used in PV panels, or to replace it with another element.

At the moment, there are two main solar panel technologies on the market. The traditional one is "thick film," where silver is the main component. The other one is a less-expensive "thin-film" method, which replaces silver with another material, cadmium telluride. The development of thin-film solar panels has picked up due to its lower price, but the technology is less effective.

Thick film is more efficient in gathering energy from the sun, and this type of panel still prevails on the market. CPM reports that it accounted for roughly 91% of total installations last year, and analysts expect thick-film panels to maintain their dominance for at least the next several years. Further, both panel types use silver outside of the cell for reflectivity and other functions, so the odds of silver being eliminated from solar panels entirely are very low at this time.

For investors, this means that at least in the near term, the solar industry will continue to use silver-intensive technology, thus supporting growing industrial demand for the metal.

But that's not all, folks…

New Era For Silver Usage

For a long time, silver industrial demand was dependent almost entirely on one industry: photography. Silver-based camera film dramatically changed the structure of silver demand at the beginning of the 20th century. By that time, silver had primarily been used in silverware, jewelry, and as money. At its peak, photographic demand accounted for about 50% of the market.

But this is the 21st century, and in spite of substantial declines in film use, the modern world has developed many other important uses from silver's unique properties.

Probably the most important shift is that industrial demand for silver no longer comes from a single field, but from numerous applications -- almost too many to count -- virtually none of which show any signs of slowing.

This fact makes the forecast for silver demand more positive and stable. When one industry drops, others may offset the decline.

Here's a smattering of uses, many of which are still in their infancy:
  • Solid-state lighting (SSL), which uses semiconductors to produce light with either light-emitting diodes (LED) or organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), rather than the more traditional electrical filaments. SSL is used in traffic lights and some car headlamps.
  •  
  • Radio frequency identification (RFID) uses printed silver ink made from silver nitrate. RFID chips have become so ubiquitous, it's hard to find any new product that doesn't have at least one -- even if that's only in the security tag affixed to the package.
  •  
  • Supercapacitors and superconductors, autocatalysts and new types of more effective batteries.
  • Medical applications, like aseptic coverings for surgery, traumatic wounds, antibacterial bandages and fabrics, dental amalgam, and silver salts that help prevent infections in newborns. It's also used to treat dermatological problems and certain types of cancer.
  • Water purification systems, washing machines, air conditioners, and refrigeration. NASA used silver to sterilize recycled water aboard the space shuttle.
  • Food packaging and preservation. Manufacturers of commercial ice machines are using silver-embedded hoses, clamps, pipe fittings, and in other places where gunk can build up and harbor bacteria. Meat processors use silver-embedded tables, grinders, tools, and hooks. Silver is used to keep fruit, vegetables, and cut flowers fresh while in transit.
  • Public hygiene, such as antimicrobial protection of telephone receivers, door handles, bed rails, toilet seats, counter tops, children's toys, socks, underwear, bed linen, towels, etc.
  • Other wide-ranging consumer products used every day: makeup, antibacterial soaps and kitchenware, hand and air sanitizers, and facial creams and masks.
Though the total contribution from these new silver uses is relatively modest, the Silver Institute rather dryly forecasts that "there is a potential for a number of these segments to boost their silver consumption." As you can see in the chart below, its forecast for silver demand for new industrial uses projects that the biggest increases will be in batteries, SSL, and RFID.



The primary uses for silver are growing, too. For example, the automobile industry is increasing consumption, due to both increases in the number of vehicles manufactured and the expanded use of electrical contacts. As the number of improvements in vehicles increase, so does the amount of silver used. For example, silver is used to control seat and mirror adjustments, windshield wipers, and manage navigation systems.
Based on their research, the Silver Institute forecasts that industrial usage will rise to 665.9 million troy ounces by 2015, and account for more than 60% of total fabrication demand.




What It Means For Investors

Since half of silver demand is for industrial purposes, it can act like an industrial metal in addition to its precious metal component. This means it's susceptible to more forces than gold, making it more volatile, as well as more difficult to predict its future price.

Conclusions:
  1. The solar industry has great potential to become one of the more important sources of silver demand. This will lend strong support to prices. This industry had zero impact on silver 10 years ago; it now represents 10% of total industrial demand.And it's not just Japan. According to a news report, 102 countries are now installing solar panels -- from just 18 two years ago. Heavy and/or growing usage is reported in Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, the U.S., Australia, and Asia, including China and India.
  2. It appears that the development of the solar industry didn't occur as a result of natural forces, since to a large degree, it was initiated by government subsidies that supported the industry (and indirectly, the silver price). You may like or not like these market interventions, but as investors, it's important to recognize these trends, regardless of whether we agree with them. It's particularly important to keep an eye on these subsidies, as they could vanish if cash-strapped governments change their priorities. That won't happen overnight, however, so we should have ample warning.
  3. Due to its unique properties, the number of applications for silver continues to grow. Researchers at the Silver Institute are upbeat about the future for silver industrial demand. That's no surprise, but it doesn't make them wrong -- the implication here is that only the worst type of economy would have a negative impact on demand.
  4. If demand grows fast enough, it could impact not only the price, but the availability of the metal, in spite of rising mine production. If that happens, bullion purchase premiums will rise as supply becomes tighter.
The bottom line on the above is that the growing number of industrial applications for silver represents a long-term shift in this market. Increasingly diverse usage is not only here to stay, but will continue to grow, supporting the price and impacting the balance of supply and demand.

For investors, the thing to keep in mind is that while long-term prospects for silver prices are extremely bullish, to the degree prices are driven by this increased industrial demand, they are vulnerable to economic correction/contraction in the short term.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2013 Year of the Snake One Kilogram with Gemstone - Perth Mint Australia

In ancient Chinese lore, the snake is viewed with great respect signifying wisdom and prosperity. For those born in 2013, or in the other 'snake' years, this lovely release may prove to be the ideal gift, collectable or investment.



Introducing the 2013 Year of the Snake 1 Kilo with Gemstone from the Perth Mint in Australia
  • Striking Black Diamond
  • Specimen Quality 99.9% Pure Silver
  • Coloured Reverse Design
  • Australian Legal Tender
  • Extremely Limited Mintage - 5,000
  • Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
  • Presentation Packaging
This kilo coin presentation represents the pinnacle of our lunar releases. The striking coin design features a black diamond in the snake's visible eye.

Specimen Quality 99.9% Pure Silver

The coin is meticulously struck by The Perth Mint from 1 kilo of 99.9% pure silver in specimen quality.

Coloured Reverse Design with Black Diamond

The coin's reverse depicts a lucky yellow and black snake curled around a tree branch. The snake has a black diamond set in its visible eye, signifying wisdom. The Chinese character for 'snake' and the inscription 'Year of the Snake' also appear in the design with The Perth Mint's traditional 'P' mintmark.

Australian Legal Tender

Issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse.

Extremely Limited Mintage

The Perth Mint will release no more than 5,000 Gemstone Edition coins celebrating the 2013 Year of the Snake.

Numbered Certificate of Authenticity and Presentation Packaging

The Year of the Snake Gemstone Edition coin is housed in a contemporary black and red display case with an illustrated shipper, and is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Arguments Against Silver Manipulation - Ted Butler


No matter how convinced I may be that silver has been manipulated downward in price by JPMorgan’s concentrated and rapidly increasing short position in COMEX futures contracts; it is vital to explore why that may be wrong. Particularly with a conviction held for a long period of time, it is important to make sure I am not missing anything basic. The best way to do that is to listen closely to those who may disagree with the Silver manipulation allegations. However, uncovering the arguments against a Silver manipulation is not as easy as you might think.
For one thing, there is certainly no strong case against manipulation being made by those that should be denying it forcefully, namely, JPMorgan and the regulators at the CFTC and the CME Group. Aside from a brief TV appearance in April which tried (unsuccessfully) to dismiss the matter, JPMorgan has been uncharacteristically mute on an allegation that is serious beyond description. That’s why I wrote to JPM’s board of directors recently. The CFTC has certainly denied that a Silver manipulation existed on multiple occasions in the past, including public explanations in May of both 2004 and 2008; but since the evidence of a short side concentration by JPMorgan was revealed in August 2008, the Commission has been investigating silver again.

The way I see it, that’s less of an argument against a Silver manipulation and more that the agency is investigating silver because JPM’s concentration may be manipulative to the price. However, like JPMorgan, the Commission has been silent on the specific allegations of manipulation via JPM’s concentrated position. The CME, true to its recent tradition, is only concerned with increasing trading revenues and can’t be bothered to address allegations of the most serious market crime possible being in progress.
The bottom line is that after 4 years, no real response has been offered by those who should have responded. There is a good reason why there has been no response by JPM, the CFTC and the CME to persistent allegations of a Silver manipulation; because to respond risks expanding the discussion further. If they say anything, it risks truly opening up a legitimate debate. That’s because they (JPM, CFTC, and CME) know there is no legitimate explanation possible. So blatant is the short concentration by JPMorgan that any attempt to legitimately explain it away would invite additional scrutiny. By remaining silent, all three entities, effectively, muffle debate.

There is no excuse possible that would permit JPMorgan to hold 31% of the entire net COMEX silver market (minus spreads) or for the four largest shorts to hold 49% of COMEX silver (as of the most recent COT). Just to give you a sense of the lopsided nature of big shorts compared to big longs, on the same methodology (no spreads) the 4 biggest longs hold only 13.4% of the COMEX silver market. JPMorgan, alone, holds a position more than 2.3 times larger than the 4 biggest longs combined. That’s obscenely manipulative. Plus, JPMorgan has been virtually the only active short seller in COMEX silver for months.
JPM, the CFTC and the CME Group have been silent on the matter because all know that the massive concentration on the short side of COMEX silver cannot be defended openly. While all three understand that the issue is concentration, this issue is still not widely understood. Therefore, the void left by the official silence has been filled by others who do not appreciate the significance of JPMorgan’s concentrated short position.

What’s being said by others that argue against the existence of the Silver manipulation? Some actually sound reasonable at first, but when you dig into the arguments, they just don’t hold up. Most center on JPMorgan holding physical silver or hedging for customers, as a reason to explain the outsized short position on the COMEX. Another version holds that JPM is holding offsetting positions in the OTC market, which is said to be much larger than the COMEX. As I said, all sound reasonable at first; until you apply some common sense.
Interestingly, none of the arguments defending JPMorgan’s concentrated COMEX short position denies that the position exists; the arguments attempt to excuse or legitimize the position. It does raise the question – why would JPMorgan need semi-anonymous outsiders to defend the bank? JPMorgan is perhaps the most influential and well-funded US bank, commanding an army of legal and public relations talent capable of putting a favorable spin on any claim that the bank was doing something wrong. Yet the bank has been silent (save for the lone TV appearance) for 4 years.

To the claim that JPMorgan holds the physical silver backing up its massive concentrated short position, why didn’t the head of commodities for JPM say that was the case in the April TV spot? Instead she said it was for customer positions. Which is it? JPMorgan has sold roughly 80 million ounces of paper contracts short on the COMEX over the past 2 months, increasing their total silver short position to nearly 150 million oz. Does this mean they bought 80 million physical ounces in the past two months or that they had the 150 million physical oz all along?
None of this makes much sense, as who would buy or hold such a giant physical position and super aggressively short it in a concentrated manner? To accept that JPMorgan is selling short paper contracts aggressively in order to buy physical cheaply is to accept that they are manipulating prices; that’s a motive for criminality, not an excuse. Even the alternative that JPMorgan is only interested in hedging a big silver position is preposterous. 150 million ounces is more silver than the Hunts or Warren Buffet ever held and we are to believe JPMorgan amassed that position secretly? Did JPM get it from Bear Stearns? You have to use some common sense here – if JPMorgan ever did hold 150 million oz of silver, I would bet they would drive the price to $500, not short it aggressively.

In reality, even if JPMorgan did hold all that real silver (I don’t believe that for an instant) it would make no difference in terms of manipulation and concentration. There is no legitimate economic motive to holding such a large physical long position and paper short position simultaneously indefinitely, other than as a means to control the price, which is hardly legitimate.

JPMorgan has been the dominant short in COMEX silver for 4 years. If JPMorgan were only interested in “hedging” a big long physical position, that would be a one-time transaction for a non-producer; they wouldn’t be actively reducing and increasing their paper short position. Regulators would never permit Exxon or Saudi Arabia to hold a concentrated position that comprised 31% of the entire oil futures market, no matter what cockeyed excuse was offered. If any US bank held 31% of the corn or wheat futures market, heads would roll the day it became known. It is the outsized concentration that is the issue, not the invented excuses.
Another excuse, in which JPMorgan is only hedging for clients, also doesn’t hold up when examined. (This is the excuse offered on TV by JPM). Is JPMorgan the only broker in the world hedging for clients? Of course not, yet JPM has been the only COMEX silver short seller over the past month. Positions for large traders are calculated by the CFTC in terms of who controls the trading in that account.

This allows for the possibility that JPMorgan has arranged for a series of fake hedging accounts that it can say are behind the giant short position. But JPMorgan is reporting to the CFTC correctly that it is in control of the accounts; otherwise the positions wouldn’t be in JPM’s name and control. That’s what matters – JPM’s control. Commodity law would never allow the flimsy excuse of hedging to permit concentration and manipulation.
Version of the hedging excuse sometimes offered is in regards to market-making and that JPMorgan is only selling more silver short to serve as a counter party to speculative buying. Without JPMorgan’s additional short sales, the reasoning goes, silver prices would shoot up dramatically. Hello? This is what I’m saying, namely, that without JPMorgan in the picture, the price of silver would be dramatically higher.

The commodity futures market is an open auction market; not a specialist market like the New York Stock Exchange used to be. That means that the price of silver and other commodities is to be determined by the open meeting of legitimate buyers and seller, speculators and hedgers alike, and not by means of a dominant trader who smoothes out and controls the price. Nobody decreed that JPMorgan was to be the controller of the silver price and these market-making excuses are nonsense.

A final excuse for JPM’s grotesquely large concentrated COMEX short position is that it only represents a small part of JPMorgan’s total position when compared to the much bigger OTC market. In other words, JPM’s COMEX short position is offset by (presumably long) OTC positions, netting out and neutralizing the COMEX short. The OTC market may be bigger in many things, but in silver, the COMEX is the big dog. COMEX silver is the fountainhead for world silver prices and the move to near 24 hour Globex trading only strengthens the COMEX’s dominance.

Some common sense is again in order.
JPMorgan has suffered very negative publicity for the past four years as a result of its big COMEX silver short position (including being sued civilly for manipulating silver); something the bank should be interested in ending. If the OTC market were so much larger than the COMEX, it would have been very easy for JPM to close out the COMEX short and confine its dealings to the (supposedly) much larger OTC market. Had they converted to the OTC market, no one would have been able to pinpoint JPM’s concentrated short position and there would be no negative publicity. Yet for more than 4 years, JPMorgan has remained with its COMEX short position and has had to endure the negative publicity so hated by financial institutions. The reason is simple – the COMEX is the big dog and JPM can’t transfer the position to the OTC market and is stuck with the position and the negative publicity that entails.
I admit that the silence of JPMorgan, the CFTC and the CME regarding JPM’s concentrated short position has naturally raised questions asking for an explanation. But that doesn’t mean we should accept any excuse as an explanation, particularly if the explanation doesn’t hold up when examined. There has not been a legitimate explanation for JPMorgan’s massive concentrated short position to date and I doubt there ever will be. I do expect that JPM, the CFTC and the CME will throw out something eventually and it is at that point that the legitimate discussion will begin. We are not at that point yet.