A common question we get from many newer precious metals investors is, “What is the difference between a bullion and a numismatic coin?”
So we thought it would be a good time to address some of the key distinctions so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing precious metals for your portfolio.
Bullion coins and rounds are purchased primarily as an investment in the underlying metal. It makes little difference which design you choose – you may prefer to stack American Silver Eagles and your friend may collect Silver Maple Leafs – the underlying value of both stacks is the same.
Examples of some of the most popular bullion coins include:
These are not “rare” coins – with only a few exceptions, bullion coins are manufactured year-to-year for mass sale to investors as a way to hold physical precious metals.
While bullion coins are reproduced by the thousands, numismatic coins are uncommon collectibles whose values are driven by their relative rarity. In fact, Numismatic coins are often worth much more than their intrinsic metal content. Their values are based on external factors outside of the spot price of the metal; such as their historical significance, if they’re one-of-a-kind, if they have special markings, or if they were minted in an unusual way.
Take for example The Saint Gaudens Double Eagle. Arguably America’s most iconic, beautiful, and historic coin, the $20 “Saint” boasts a fascinating backstory. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt lamented that America’s coinage had become stale in appearance. He was particularly impressed with the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of ancient coins that were struck in ultra high relief. With this in mind, the President asked famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens if he could overhaul the Double Eagle.
As requested, Saint-Gaudens submitted an innovative design in extremely high relief. But the coins, while stunning in appearance, had to be struck nine times with a special medal press! This was completely impractical for mass production. So only two dozen of these initial “Ultra High Relief” Double Eagles were made in 1907; they have since sold at auction for over $2,000,000 each!
Examples of other popular numismatic coins include:
- Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins (high relief, not ultra high relief)
- Morgan Silver Dollars
- Pre-1933 Gold coins
If you’re interested in collecting numismatic coins, it’s important to do your research. Each coin is different, and the market is not nearly as liquid as the bullion market, which could make finding willing buyers or sellers a challenge at times. Become familiar with prominent rating services like NGC and PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) to help understand different coin values. Numismatic coins are not short term investments – but with the right know-how, they can make for a fun and potentially valuable pastime.
Which do you choose?
When evaluating your options, it’s important to ask yourself, “Are you interested in owning a fascinating piece of history, or are you searching for an efficient way to invest for your future?”
We say, why choose at all? Some of our customers prefer to invest in both bullion and numismatic coins as a way to let their inner “coin geek” shine and make long term investments with bullion at the same time.
Take a look at our broad selection of both bullion and numismatic coins at industry-leading prices. And as your trusted friend in the bullion industry, if you have any questions, we’re here to help! Contact us at (800) 313-3315 or visit our online blog and knowledge center for more information on which type of coin may be right for you!