World Coins

Large silver coins continue to gain bigger share of the market

This is the fifth, and final, part of Rita Laws' feature on the growing number of nations that have issued 5-ounce silver coins for collectors and investors.

After the first three nations issued 5-ounce silver coins in 1986 that were well received by the market, world mints quickly mimicked those early adopters, and the trend continued to spread.

Big silver keeps growing

In 1994, Palau issued a colored silver $20 coin that is officially the world’s first mint-colored silver 5-ounce coin. 

The coin was issued was just one year after Equatorial Guinea and Uganda issued the world’s first mint-colored legal tender coins of any size. 

Interest in big silver pieces continued to grow throughout the 1990s but received its biggest boost in 2010 when the U.S. Mint began minting 5-ounce coins for the America the Beautiful quarter dollar program. One of the unique features of the program celebrating America’s national parks and similar sites is that each of the 76-millimeter bullion coins carries the same design and denomination, 25 cents, as the parallel 25-millimeter coin struck for circulation and in Proof copper-nickel clad and silver versions.

In addition, the U.S. Mint issues an Uncirculated collector version of the 5-ounce coin. The main difference between the bullion coin and collector version is the presence of the P Mint mark on the latter; both versions are struck on the same special press at the Philadelphia Mint, but only the collector coin has a Mint mark.

Today, a number of nations issue an annual 5-ounce silver coin marketed directly at bullion collectors, but sometimes offer collectors a Proof version as well. 

Australia’s Perth Mint has an ongoing Lunar Year series of 5-ounce coins in a denomination of $8. These are offered as Uncirculated bullion coins as well as in an Uncirculated mint-colored version and in Proof collector form.

Big silver just keeps getting bigger. Collectors can purchase 10-ounce silver coins and even 1-kilogram (32-ounce) coins. Australia, China, Russia, British Virgin Islands, Gabon, Somalia, Canada, and Mexico are some of the nations that have issued kilogram silver coins, and Australia has offered a 10-kilogram silver $300 coin for several years.

No one knows if the 5-ounce coin will remain the most popular size among big silver bullion coins or if, someday, a larger size will overtake it. But it should be interesting to watch the continuing evolution of these fascinating silver “hockey pucks.” 

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