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!
I too go with both but by far my stack leans to bullion; you know what you have and the value……no mixed thoughts
Erik Selinger says
I guess I’m a collector not an investor, but I prefer bullion coins and rounds because of the beautiful designs and cool images.
jack mcgee says
My sixteen-month investment campaign for the ‘birthday’ (1/25/17) Sweet-Sixteen horde for my newborn GGranddaughter included bullion weight for a SHTF scenario, balancing it against the more optimistic outlook with foreign and domestic Numismatics, primarily; Morgans and 5Fr Ceres and Napoleons +. But, she has a myriad variety of worldwide, centuries spanning Numismatics as doubly valuable history lesson/investment awe.
At this time, I have a much shorter time frame investment-turnaround protocol in play to a specific personal goal. Living on subsistence-level VA Disability, with so many things that I ‘need’, I am able to amass ‘savings by silver,’ spending every available penny on select semi-numismatic recent releases every month’s Day 1.
At different times, different goals, have guided my silver investment specifics.
Two things about Gold vs. Silver for me: Historic disparity of 81.63:1 (10/3/18) Silver to gold is a no-brainer. (recently as high as 89:1) If/when the disparity returns to historic levels nearer 8:1, silver holders will be exponentially beyond a flatter gold-curve. Gold has historically, been money, yes, but primarily a ‘vanity holding/purchase of a non-essential element. Industry, especially technological requires massive amounts of ‘non-recoverable’ silver, consigning it eventually, in minute quantities, to landfills, etc. Second, the newer minted silver semi-numismatics seem to outdistance their gold counter-parts’ appreciation as a time/value equation.
PAT MCHUGH says
WHAT ABOUT COPPER PENNIES . MY DAD LEFT ME 30,000 COPPER PENNIES AND ALL HIS SILVER COINS
Casey frazier says
I’ve been investing in bullion for quite some time. I’d say with the uncertainty of the global banking system and the likely end of US hegemony it is a much better choice to go with investment goals geared towards overall weight of both silver and gold. That being said, I have dabbled into 10 dollar Indian heads over the last year because of their beauty. I think once you hit an overall goal in terms of weight it isn’t a bad idea to turn to something you enjoy collecting.
In these turbulent times it’s all about weight .
get the most weight from your fiat currency
Some numismatics are fine to have . But the value of
numismatics has it’s foundation in low PM prices . There
can come the day when PM value far exceeds numismatics
those with weight have what is real .
Scott Mitchell says
Great article! I have found out that a mixture of bullion and numismatic coins works best for me because I am a coin nerd who loves to collect but also likes to make wise investments.
Robert Carrillo says
Enjoyed your page. Thank You already a good reading already a customer Thanks again..