What is bullion? Who determines the worth of bullion? What is the difference between bars and coins? Are bullion coins or numismatic (collectible) coins valued at a higher rate? For many, these are questions without simple answers. Bellevue Rare Coins has decided to tackle these and provide simplified answers for those interested.
Let us begin with what bullion is; in the traditional meaning of the word, bullion is gold or silver that is sizeable in quantity, in the form of bars or ingots. These bars/ingots are sold and traded at a value determined by metal content of the bars and defined by purity and mass. In recent years, retailers have also considered platinum, palladium, copper, nickel, and aluminum, or “base metals,” to be bullion. Ultimately, the metal is either molten down and used to create coinage meant for circulation, or is destined to become a collectible.
For gold or silver to be officially recognized as true bullion, the metal must be extracted from the earth in the form of ore, a natural combination of metal and mineralized rock. Once the gold is extracted from the ore it is then parted bullion. Any bullion that contains an additional form of metal is otherwise deemed unparted bullion. Historically, unparted bullion could not be used for exchange in the United States due to the impurity content, but could be traded for an equivalent bar value at a U.S. mint.
The market value is determined by supply and demand. During times of economic crisis, gold values tend to inflate as currency runs the risk of becoming worthless in a potential collapse. While bullion is an excellent investment, it can be quite costly to store and insure. The market, which helps to regulate gold and bullion standards, does so on a worldwide scale, operating 24 hours a day. Most, if not all, transactions are completed via phone or electronically with operations based in London.
Bullion, along with bullion coins, is exceptional in terms of investment purposes. Bullion coins have been rising in popularity and worth since 2000. Many attribute this to ease of storage. Additionally, the cost of manufacturing and distribution are substantially lower than that of traditional bars. Their weight helps determine their value. To factor worth, many of the same type of coins are minted in varying weights, always an even amount, such as 1 ounce. A well-known bullion coin is the American Eagle, minted from 22 karat gold and expressed in four differing weights. Others are the Canadian Maple Leaf, South African Krugerrands and Chinese Gold Pandas.
More often than not, numismatic coins are worth more than their metal content. Due to their rarity as coins of history rather than modern times, and factoring in condition, numismatic coins are evaluated for much higher than their face value. Take for instance the both $10 and $20 American Eagles. If exchanged at the bank, these coins would trade at their face value alone, but to the right investor/collector, these coins have sold for upwards of $7 million.
All things considered, bullion is an excellent choice for investment purposes, as are numismatic coins. Although, for the latter, the worth is determined by how desperately one is in need of their unicorn. Bellevue Rare Coins also offers free rare coin appraisals and estimates in Seattle, WA for this expanding and lucrative market.
For more information or to consult an expert, please feel free to contact Bellevue Rare Coins at any of their locations during store hours, as we buy bullion coins in Seattle, WA. We have a highly knowledgeable staff with specially-trained eyes in the world of bullion and numismatics.