Bullions from across the globe: Precious metals basics

Bullions have been significant in several parts of the world
By , Coin World
Published : 05/20/15
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The Britannia did not become popular with investors as a bullion coin, but Britain’s Royal Mint continues to offer it as a numismatic coin.

A £2 Britannia silver coin joined the annual Britannia gold issues beginning in 1998. The Britannia designs on the silver piece change frequently as well.

The Isle of Man bullion program was launched in 1983 with the issue of the 1-ounce platinum Noble. A tenth-ounce piece first was issued in 1984. Other weights followed: twentieth-ounce, quarter-ounce, 5-ounce and 10-ounce pieces. The coins are struck by the private Pobjoy Mint.

The Isle of Man also produces a gold bullion coinage called the Angel in sizes from the twentieth ounce to 25 ounces. Most of the Angels were struck in small quantities.

Mexico launched its Libertad bullion coin program in 1981 to compete with the bullion coins from Canada and South Africa. The Libertad came on the heels of the sterling silver (.925 silver) 1-ounce “Onza” coins of 1978 to 1980.

Three sizes of gold Libertad coins were issued when the program began in October 1981—quarter-, half- and 1-ounce coins. A twentieth-ounce size was added in 1987, and a tenth-ounce size was struck beginning in 1991. Libertad gold coins prior to 1991 had a composition of .900 gold; thereafter, the composition was changed to .999 fine gold.

The first Libertad 1-ounce silver coins, composed of .999 fine silver, were struck in 1982 but not released until 1984.

In 1991, fractional .999 fine silver Libertad coins were introduced, in twentieth-, tenth-, quarter- and half-ounce sizes. Two- and 5-ounce silver Libertads were first struck in 1996. The 1-kilogram silver Libertad, first issued in 2002, did not become directly available to U.S. collectors until 2003.

The reverse design of the Libertad coinage was changed in 1996, with a three-quarters view of the Angel of Liberty replacing a frontal view of the same.

Though they do not bear a denomination, all silver and gold Libertad coins have legal tender status in Mexico

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