Russia’s bullion program featured nine bullion coins to celebrate the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, including three different 1-ounce .999 fine silver 3-ruble coins.
Silver bullion coins aren’t the sole province of national mints, as collectors and investors might infrequently encounter the Taku turtle .999 fine silver $2 coin from Fiji or the Elephant .999 fine silver 100-shilling coin series from Somalia, coins struck by private minters on behalf of the issuing nations and promoted to European and other audiences outside of the United States.
Since 2011, Armenia has issued an annual silver bullion series honoring the biblical Noah’s ark, which some people believe rests on a mountain on the border of Armenia and Kurdistan. What began as a three-coin series in 2011 (with quarter-, half- and 1-ounce sizes) was expanded in 2012 to include 5-ounce, 10-ounce, 1-kilo and 5-kilo coins.
The Armenian program is issued under the auspices of a German firm, Geiger Edelmetalle, and there appears to be no mintage limit for the coins.
Worldwide, demand for silver bullion coins was at record highs in 2015, if one takes U.S. Mint sales figures as an indicator, and generally Canada’s silver sales follow behind the United States.
The Royal Canadian Mint, however, no longer discloses sales figures for specific coins in its bullion program, noting in its most recent annual report only that it sold 34.3 million ounces of silver bullion in 2015, compared to 29.1 million ounces in 2014.
The figure includes special issues like the Birds of Prey bullion coins, which each have a million-coin mintage, and it may contain other special bullion pieces as well.
Continued entry of new private issuers into the marketplace suggests that there is unmet demand for bullion, especially for novel designs or from “new” places.
Whether other world mints and issuers join the fray is yet to be seen, but the silver bullion marketplace already offers an awe-inducing number of options for the willing collector or investor