American Precious Metals

Gold and silver have been an investment since the beginning of time. New investors are often faced with questions about where to buy precious metals. Investing is an important part of our life and metals should be considered for everyone’s portfolio. In the world of paper, digital currency, and online trading, precious metals stand alone as the one true store of value. Henceforth, it can be a wise decision to invest in precious metals to even your risk exposure. So in talking about precious metals, let’s start with what are these metals all about and a bit of history. Out of these two American precious metals the first we are going to discuss is gold.


The History of Gold

It’s likely gold was found in its most basic and natural form, the nugget, by early humans. People have been attracted to gold, almost as if built into our DNA, ever since. The value of gold has been described as far back as Sumerian culture, perhaps 10,000 B.C. or older. Not only is the beauty of gold immediately apparent, but its scarcity, relatively low melting point and resistance to corrosion made it a natural fit for minting into coins and jewelry.

It was not until 2600 B.C. that the historical Mesopotamians created some of the first gold idols and artifacts. This made way for a number of artistic and decorative applications. It was used for the adornment for humans and structures alike. 1223 B.C. the legendary tomb of Tutankhamen was built entirely of gold. The legend says that in 950 B.C. Solomon’s famous temple was constructed with gold which was a prevalent building material. In addition, gold was also primarily responsible for setting up the concept of currency. It leads to the discovery of some of the first golden coins in 700 B.C. The standard gold and silver coins gradually became the money and eliminated direct barter, making exchange much simpler. Around 564 A.D. King Croesus of Lydia developed the gold processing methods for gold currency on a large scale.

Where do Gold Bars Come From?

Gold bars, or ingots, have had a long history. Ingots are melted and poured into molds which are made of clay. Gold ingots were originally created for the roman author Tacitus, and this is mentioned in a story which was narrated by Cesellius Bassus for the Emperor Nero. Bassus also claimed that he knew the whereabouts of the place where gold was stored. He said that it was not stored in the form of coins or blocks, but was in the form of ingots. Early forms of gold ingots were mentioned as far back as before the rise of ancient Rome. We know that the Roman Empire used precious metals bars as an exchange rate in ancient Egypt as early as the 7th millennium B.C. Archaeologists have reported that gold bars were used long before the establishment of banks. It wasn’t in the 1700’s that precious metals really began as a structured, regulated system.

Where do Gold Coins Come From?

The first actual gold coins were produced in Lydia, western Turkey, in the 6th century BC. These gold coins were made of electrum, which is a natural alloy of silver and gold found in the rivers of that region. The gold coins usually showed a photo of a bull or a lion on the head and a seal on the other side. They weighed 17.2 grams to as little as 0.2 grams. The presentation of these coins to the public has been said to be done by the King Croesus of Lydia.

The Romans put gold coins into circulation at a rate which is unimaginable to the modern era. Between 200 and 400 AD, billions and billions of gold coins were manufactured throughout the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire is considered to have developed a remarkable unity through most of Western Europe, primarily with existing government institutions and gold coins. When the empire collapsed just after 400 AD, nearly a hundred years passed before the common use of gold coins returned. In 1558, in Britain, Elizabeth I introduced new coins and brooches to regain the value of golden coins that were diminished by her father Henry VIII. Coins first reappeared after the discovery of gold in Brazil in the 1690s, bringing a new dimension to world production.

Brazil’s gold coins, “moedas de ouro,” were manufactured in Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon. These coins traveled to England and first revalued in 1663. Gold coins hit peak production after gold strikes in the United States and Australia in 1848, when gold production increased five-fold. Gold coins were minted in France and the United States in the 1850s. As soon as the world went to war in 1914, governments began to deposit their gold, the minting of gold coins largely stopped. In 1933, during Great Depression, the U.S. recalled all the gold and silver coins from its citizens. And with that one dramatic leap, the era of widespread use of gold coins slowed.


History of Silver

Silver has been regarded a precious metal with a variety of uses throughout the ages. After gold, silver is the most moldable and brittle metal, making it the ideal solution for craftsmen to make decorative items. The first silver mining records occurred around 3,000 BC in Anatolia, which is in modern Turkey. Much of the silver development in the area moved to Greek mines, although it can also be found in Europe and West Asia. Large silver mine near Athens, Greece was able to finance Athens’ first navy around 500 BC, which helped to build a powerful state.

After the First Punic War in the 250s BC, the Carthaginians took over the Spanish mines and used the revenue to pay off debts to the Romans. During the Second War, the mines ended up in the hands of the Romans, who used the income to fund more military campaigns. Around 100 AD, Spanish mines had become the largest suppliers of silver to the Romans. Silver had become extremely important for trade along Asian. In order to prepare the product for export, it was pounded into thin sheets called platinum argentum, which were later reduced to modern Spanish plata.

How Gold and Silver Bars are Made

Creating gold and silver bars are still a time-consuming and complex process. From knowing the various steps involved in creating a single precious metal bar you will gain greater understanding for your investment and the purpose behind the precious metals prices.

Mining and Extraction

Historically, hydraulic mining has been used to transfer and extract gold from reserves using heavy-pressure jets of water. Nowadays, gold and silver ore is usually mined from the surface using explosions and other techniques. Four effective ways to extract the earth’s precious metals are hard rock, by-product, placer and gold ore processing.

This approach makes use of metal finding, silt, scraping, grinding and clasping. It is common for professional miners and uses water plus gravity to distinguish metal from other materials.

Similar to hard rock mining, except that precious metal is not the goal. The primary purpose of such activities is to mine copper, gravel or sand.

Ore processing
Most mining operations resist ore processing because the yield is exceptionally low and the procedure is costly. It also causes significant environmental damage. For this chemical process, workers use cyanide and crush rocks containing gold smidgens.

Hard rock
In this process, miners use open wells or subway tunnels to remove gold from rocks.

When mined, the gold or silver must be removed from the stone layer through a dual-step process involving the grinding of the sediment to the size of sand grains. Upon adding a chemical substance to the ore in a procedure called “leaching,” the mixture is heated to 1,600 degrees Celsius in a smelter. The gold, which is the heavier item, sinks to the bottom.

Pouring and Refining

Refining is the next phase in processing gold and silver bars. This involves removing the contaminants that linger after the smelting process. Workers in refineries mix additives with pressure and exceptionally high temperatures to purify silver and gold in a massive furnace. The majority of major bullion producers purify the metal in one of two processes:

Pyrometallurgical chlorination
This one is also called as the “Miller Process”. The pyrometallurgical chlorination occurs when chlorine gas is poured into molten precious metals. Precious metals react with chlorine to form chlorides that either dissipate or rise to the surface to form a slag. If purple chloride gases start to appear, it is an indication that the metal has achieved 99.5 to 99.7 percent purity.

It is also identified as the “Wohlwill Process” electrolysis. It occurs when the material is first formed into bars that are used as anodes in an electrolyte composed of gold chloride and/or hydrochloric acid. When electrical current moves through gold or silver, 99.99 percent of pure metal is deposited at the cathode. The deposit is then rinsed, dried, molten and poured into bars.

In the case of silver, miners usually use a different technique of purification and extracting metal from lead recognized as the ‘Parkes Method.’ This method is a pyrometallurgical technological means of removing gold from lead and is distinct from the manual process, generally used when there was no industrial equipment. Before removing the cooled ingots or silver bars, factory workers had to pour the thawed silver into dyes. Several factories still use this outdated strategy, resulting in bars with uneven surfaces.

When the purification process has been completed, some laborers will take samples to the research lab for examinations or testing prior to the measurement. American precious metals must be 99.9% pure. The workers melt the silver and gold precious metals in metal or ceramic boxes before casting them into ingot molds. They cut or melt the metals in pieces before they are poured. Specialists carry out an assay or assessment to calculate and evaluate the composition of precious metals. It is the most effective method to finding out whether the bars produced in mints comply with the authenticity and content standards. Bar producers and mints can produce poured bars of precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium and platinum. The melting point for 24-carat gold is roughly 1,945 degrees.

Striking and Pressing

Last, the compressed gold and silver bars are poured, allowing mints to have more influence over quality and consistency. That is the main reason why manufacturers opt for this technique. This method involves the use of high-powered equipment for trimming and stomping metal into pressed bars. Next, the polished liquid metal is poured into a casting machine which shapes long, thin chains. Such bars are then squeezed several times in a spinning mill until they reach the correct thickness. At this time, softening, or “annealing,” of the strips may be needed. Next, the strips are molded to the exact thickness required by a precision machine known as the gauging mill. Blanks are then punched from the strips and warmed in the oven until they are softened. When weighed and checked, the blanks are cleaned, polished and finally hit (like coins) with a hammer. Blanks that are not subject to quality control are recycled. For striking, exceptionally high force is applied to the blank. The sealed bar is then checked and shipped, completing the process.

How are Gold and Silver Coins Made?

The first step is to make coins is through the minting method. This process is called blanking, during which blank coins are pushed out of coiled sheet plates. The metal left over can be reused and recycled for potential blanks.

The second step is annealing, which uses high temperatures to loosen the metal and prepare it for the cleaning process.

The third major move is to lift the rim of the coin, making it stronger. The raised side of the coin is the highest point on either side. This keeps the layout of the coin centered and covered, while also maintaining the accuracy of the size of the coin.

At last, the layout of each coin is ready to be pushed into the newly polished blanks. The process is called hitting. Once the coin is completed, it will undergo an examination process to make sure its value before leaving the mint.

Why People Buy American Precious Metals bars and coins?

American precious metals may not be part of our currency, but its still money. In reality, silver, along with gold, is the greatest form of currency, because it cannot be created out of thin air or printed at will.

In a world of paper revenue, electronic trading, and currency formation, tangible gold and silver stand in contrast to one of the few resources you can bring in your pocket wherever you go, even in another country. Physical silver and gold is also a practical shield against all kinds of intrusion and cyber-crime.

Gold isn’t just cheaper to buy, it will always have value when you need to sell it. You may not want to sell a full ounce of gold tomorrow to satisfy a small financial need. Enter your silver. Since it often comes in amounts that are smaller than gold, you can only sell what you want or need at that time. Even though both gold and silver have attractive qualities, gold is likely the better investment for the average American consumer. Gold has a much wider liquid market, powered mostly by investment and accessories demand. The price of gold is less unpredictable than the price of silver. Silver, meanwhile, is more theoretical and has a stronger connection to economic growth. This is because silver has manufacturing and industrial uses.

Global supply for gold and silver is on the rise. Practically all major government mints have seen record sales levels, most of them already at peak demand. Increased demand is nowhere more apparent than in China and India, these two juggernaut markets have a long history of cultural ties to precious metals.

American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagle is the largest physical gold coin in the United States. It is authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. It was first created by the United States Mint in 1986. Because the word “eagle” is also the official term of the United States for ten dollar gold coins prior to 1933, the weight of the bullion coin is usually used in the identification of the American Gold Eagles.

The United States Mint launched Gold American Eagles as legal currency bullion coins for investment purposes under the authority of the Congress. The Gold Eagles family consists of four sizes and face values. Although they are technically cash, their face value is insignificant in comparison to their inherent value, and they do not circulate as a paper currency. By far, the most common and liquid size, if not all gold coins, is the one-ounce $50 face value American Gold Eagle.

The first coins produced in America, the original $10 “Eagle” gold coins, were originally minted by the United States Mint, beginning in 1795. More than two hundred years later, U.S. gold coins maybe some of the best symbols of American liberty and freedom still generated with the quality and beauty that the United States Mint would expect.

They are offered in 1/10 oz., 1/4 oz., 1/2 oz. and 1 oz. sizes, by the U.S. government to include the specified amount of real gold in troy ounces. Through regulation, gold must come from suppliers in the United States, alloyed with silver and copper, in order to produce a more knit-resistant coin.

In the case of American Gold Eagles, the gold fraction was raised again to .9167 or (22 carat). It is approved by the United States Congress and is endorsed by the United States Mint in terms of weight and material.

The quarter-ounce gold coin has a thickness of 1.78 mm, a diameter of 22mm, a total weight of 1,2727 troy ounces (or 8,483 grams), a quarter ounce of pure gold, and a face value of $10.

The 1/10, 1/4, and 1/2 troy oz coins are similar in design to the 1 troy ounce coin except for the marking on the reverse side showing the size and face value of the coin. Consequently, the print on small coins is smaller and less readable than on larger ones.

In general, the market price of coins is roughly equal to the market price of their gold content, not their cost price. Like all products, the price varies with supply and demand. The market price is equal to the weight, except for the 1/4 oz coin.

American Silver Eagle>

When it comes to purchasing silver from the United States Mint, the American Silver Eagle coin is the top choice for investors and collectors alike. The 1985 Liberty Coin Act approved the production of the official silver bullion coin for the United States, and by November 1986 the bullion and proof versions of the American Silver Eagle were commercially available from the United States Mint.

The first American Silver Eagle coins from the United States Mint were issued with the date markings on the reverse side of the coin in 1986. The Silver Eagle program consists of a large Troy oz silver coin with a purity of .999 and a nominal value of $1 (USD) supported by the federal government. The US Mint uses depictions of the Statue of Liberty and the American bald eagle on the front and back sides of the coin. The models rarely change, and the only difference in the coins is the use of a mint mark on the back of the proof coins.

American Silver Eagle currency consists of proof, and burnt choices. The unrestored coin, or bullion, has been accessible every year since 1986. The proof Silver Eagle was also issued with the unrestored coin immediately in 1986. The proof coin had a manufacturing interruption in 2009 as the US Mint was forced to halt the development of collectible coinage in order to divert all silver blanks to the unrestored program in order to satisfy the high demand for silver at the time. Burnished coins were launched as a second collectible option in 2006 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the coin program. In both 2009 and 2009, the burned coin was suspended.

All variants of the American Silver Eagle coin feature the same design elements. On the opposite side of the coin, you’ll find Adolph A. Weinman’s historic description of Statue of liberty. Made in 1916 for use in the nation’s half-dollar coin, this image of Liberty portrays her left-leaning figure as she marches towards the sun falling on the horizon.
She’s holding the pine and laurel branches in her left arm, holding her right hand out towards the horizon, and wearing the American flag over her shoulders. “Liberty” is engraved on the top of her head, with a date mark on her feet. The national slogan of “In God We Trust” is at her heels.

The depiction of the eagle of the United States is on the other side of all the Silver Eagle coins. This design has been used in American coinage since the very first coins were minted by the original Philadelphia Mint in 1794. This particular model is a modern, strong portrayal of a bald eagle with large wings spread and a national shield on its head. The bird carries the arrows of war in one heel and the olive branch of goodwill in the other. In its beak there is a ribbon with the word “E Pluribus Unum,” and above its head there is a cluster of 13 stars formed in a triangle. Each of the stars is one of the original 13 colonies in America. The engravings on this hand display “United States of America” and “1 oz Fine Silver One Dollar.”

Since 2001, Silver Eagles has been struck by the West Point Mint and has a “W” mint mark on this side. The burnished coin has only ever been struck by the West Point Mint and is always labelled with the “W” mint mark. Nevertheless, the Proof Silver Eagles are struck by two more mints. From 1986 to 1992, the Silver Eagle Proof was issued with an “S” mint mark from the San Francisco Mint.

Gold Indian Head Eagle

The Indian Head Gold Eagles are made up of 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper. The coins measure 26.8 mm in diameter and 16.718 grams in weight (258 grains). The total weight of uncirculated coins in pure gold is 0.48375 troy ounce. The edge of each coin, which is not flat or reeded like most American coin types, is an interesting aspect of the series. Instead, the surface shows raised stars representing each of the Member States of the Union. From 1907 to 1911 there were 46 stars, and from 1912 to the end of the series in 1933 there were 48 stars representing the addition of Arizona and New Mexico.

South African Krugerrand

Krugerrands were gold coins minted by the Republic of South Africa in 1967 to help grow South African gold in markets and to make it possible for individuals to own gold. Krugerrands are among the most commonly traded gold coins in the world. The South African Krugerrand was first founded in 1967 to allow local ownership of gold and to sell it to the world. Minted by the Rand Refinery, the South African Krugerrand is a sign of lasting value, with more than 50 million ounces of Krugerrand gold produced. Its face portrays the four-time President of the Republic of South Africa and Boer leader Paul Kruger with a springbok antelope, one of the symbols of South Africa, on the other hand, the same image that had previously been used in the 5 shilling coin of South Africa. The term’ Krugerrand’ is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rand Refinery Limited.

The Krugerrand is 91.67% pure gold, with an extremely high proportion of copper in its alloy. This results in more longevity and, more particularly, a red color similar to rose gold. The gold value of the Krugerrand is still a complete troy ounce, the same as the American Eagle and our own Britannia. The addition of copper makes the Krugerrand significantly heavier and larger than the purest coins.

The South African gold Krugerrand has made ownership simple by providing a gold unit that was easy to purchase and sell all over the world. Instead of strange-weight gold bars, the market for private owners of gold now had the simplicity of mass-produced bullion coins.

Silver Gyrfalcon

The Royal Canadian Mint is renowned not only for its outstanding purity of currency, but also for some of its innovative design and weight programs. Among them is a set of 1 1⁄2 oz silver coins depicting Canadian Arctic creatures. The Royal Canadian Mint presents the gyrfalcon in the fourth installment of the series. Today, Wilshire Metals is selling a 1.5 oz Canadian Silver Falcon coin for 2016.

On the reverse side of the 2016 1.5 oz Canadian Silver Falcon coin, here you will find the Falcon image as it flies across the sky. Carvings include the nation and year of issue, the authenticity of the coin, the metal content and the weight of the coin. There are also the new non-counterfeiting design features of the RCM, including the Maple Leaf Privacy with the year of issue inside and the radial lines along the bottom.

Canadian artist Steve Hepburn’s reverse design features a gyrfalcon in flight. Viewed in the profile from the left side, the gyrfalcon is presented with its powerful wings drawn forward. Its large eye, sharply curved beak, and sharp claws are highlighted in this stunning portrait.
The precise coloring of its plumage is depicted in the purest silver using a number of engraving techniques. The reverse features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

Canadian Silver Maple Leaf

The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a silver bullion coin issued annually by the Government of Canada. It is provided by the Royal Mint of Canada. The Silver Maple Leaf shall be legal tender. The market price is five Canadian dollars. The market price of the metal varies depending on the cost of the silver. The 99.99 percent silver content makes the coin one of the finest official bullion in the world. The standard version has a weight of 1 lb. (31.10 grams).

The front and back of the Silver Maple Leaf, respectively have the portraits of Elizabeth II and the Canadian Maple Leaf. New safety features have been added in 2014 which are the radial lines and a micro-engraved laser tag. Samples of the Silver Maple Leaf often have a milky-white color called a milky spot. It occurs when a cleaning detergent is left on the coin when it comes to the annealing furnace. Originally, the Silver Maple Leaf was packaged in Mylar. It has been packaged in semi-transparent ducts with a yellow lid bearing the RCM logo since 2009 due to the increasing supply. Some special editions of tubes also are of orange, red, blue, dark blue or gray lid. Every tube contains 25 coins. Or, there are boxes containing 20 tubes.

In 1999, several Silver Maple Leaf coins were released with a private label to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Maple Leaf RCM system. In the subsequent year, the coins included a private label with fireworks and the number 2000. Another version of the Silver Maple Leaf was released to celebrate the millennium. The coins were double-dated in 1999 and 2000.

Some of the privately-marked variants of Silver Maple Leaf were only available in Europe. In 2005, the Liberation of the Netherlands triple private silver Maple Leaf which is the rarest of all Silver Maple Leaf coins and was struck by the Royal Canadian Mint for the Royal Dutch Mint. The first coin produced by the plant, SP70, on the Sheldon scale, was to be presented to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Why investing in gold and silver coin necessary?

Gold and silver are valued throughout the world for their importance and rich history, which has been interwoven with cultures for thousands of years. Coins containing gold appeared about 800 B.C., and the first pure gold coins were struck around 300 years later during the reign of King Croesus of Lydia. Throughout the centuries, people have continued to hold precious metals for a variety of reasons. Precious metals should be an important part of a diversified investment portfolio because the price rises in response to events that cause the value of paper securities, such as stocks and bonds, to fall. Although the price of gold and silver may be unpredictable in the short term, it has always retained its quality in the longer term. Over the years, it has acted as a hedge against inflation and the decline of major currencies, making an asset well worth considering investing in.