Precious Metals

Top 10 of 2016: Boutique bullion trend goes worldwide

World mints in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere continually offered a bevy of silver and (to a much lesser degree, gold) bullion coins with boutique designs in 2016. These products often feature limited mintages to further drive any interest piqued by special designs.

Images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint, Royal Mint and Royal Canadian Mint.

One of the trends to hit a peak in 2016 was something that happened gradually, as mints around the world fight for their market share of bullion coin sales.

The trend has been noticeable for a few years — some may argue several years — but an abundance of issues in 2016 caused Coin World to take note for its annual review of the year's top stories and trends.

Topics have ranged from licensed silver 1-ounce coins for Star Trek (from the Perth Mint) and Superman (the Royal Canadian Mint) to Angels from Isle of Man (Pobjoy Mint) and Niue (Gainesville Coins), and even included some Royal Beasts from the Royal Mint.

Thanks to this proliferation, silver stackers and bullion buyers can add any number of special issues to their investments.

Licensed products are one area targeted to buyers outside the mainstream.

The Star Trek USS Enterprise 1-ounce silver bullion coin struck by the Perth Mint (for Tuvalu) has a limited mintage of 50,000 coins worldwide. 

That mintage limit is a fraction of the mintage limit of the RCM’s Superman 1-ounce .9999 fine silver $5 bullion coins, which are capped at 1 million pieces. 

Both coins leverage licensed themes with broad appeal beyond the usual coin market.

Angelic silver options

A pair of silver bullion coins launched in 2016 offered an angelic option for silver stackers. 

The Pobjoy Mint on March 31 began offering a Reverse Proof 2016 Angel .9999 fine silver bullion coin from the Isle of Man. The coin followed a similarly successful Angel gold bullion coin. 

The Angel silver bullion coin with its P privy mark for the Pobjoy Mint offers the twist of a Reverse Proof finish on obverse and reverse.

The coin has a mintage limited to 100,000 pieces.

The reverse design for this legal tender silver coin depicts a modern, Proof polished design of the angel St. Michael and the Dragon set against a frosted background.

Late in the year, a new 2017 Angel series, from Niue, was announced by Gainesville Coins.

The first coin in the series (launched late November) celebrates a Guardian Angel and is struck with legal tender status under the name of the island nation of Niue in the Pacific Ocean. 

The Prooflike .999 fine silver dollar celebrating the Guardian Angel is the first issue in the new Angel series, which is intended to become an annual product, exclusively issued by Gainesville Coins. The total number of years for the series is not yet determined. 

U.K. coins a real beast

If pop culture and angels aren’t your thing, then the Royal Mint has a beastly new series of bullion coins. 

The Royal Mint on March 29 unveiled a new series of gold and silver bullion coins depicting “The Queen’s Beasts,” a series of 10 creatures that appear as a special set of statues and that have featured in British royal heraldry throughout hundreds of years. 

The series is being introduced one “beast” at a time, starting with the gallant lion of England, by British coin designer Jody Clark. 

The second coin in the series was announced in late November and depicts the griffin of Edward III.

Unlike several other boutique bullion issues, the Queen’s Beasts designs are available in silver and multiple versions in gold.

These are just some of the examples of specialty silver and gold launched in 2016. If the past year is any indication, the spate of issues seems likely to continue unabated. 

Read all of our Coin World Top 10 of 2016 series:

U.S. Mint issues gold Centennial coins
Pogue IV auction tops $16 million
Rare English gold coin found in toy box
Boutique bullion trend catches on worldwide
Langbord 1933 double eagle case rolls on
1974-D aluminum cent returned to U.S. Mint
Treasury announces new Federal Reserve note designs
1964 Morgan dollar tooling uncovered
American Liberty silver medal released
U.S. Mint plans yearlong 225th anniversary party

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