A somewhat lesser known metal in the U.S.A. is Palladium bullion. This metal is used by the Canadian government to mint their currency. One of Canada's Palladium coins is the Canadian Maple Leaf. The minting of Canadian money is not the only use for Palladium bullion. There are many uses for this metal all over the world, and as the need for this metal rises, its value rises as well. If the value rises too much, the Canadian government may use another precious metal such as Platinum for minting, if it too is not to costly.
Palladium bullion has many uses in the jewelry making industry, not only in this country, but also in China. The metal is prized for its very white-like shiny quality which tarnishes less than silver. Palladium(Pd)is also used in the electronics industry as well as in the auto industry. For electronics, its use is in the manufacture of flat screen televisions because it is a highly conductive material, and in the auto industry for making catalytic converters. The Ford Motor Company even went so far as to stockpile this metal for use in its catalytic converters. When the metal became scarce, they lost billions of dollars and had to find a substitute metal for use in their product. Other uses are found for this metal in the chemical industry, fibers industry, and oil refining and water purification and even in the medical industry for cancer research purposes. A most recent research discovery was in the use of Palladium in constructing earthquake-proof structures. Palladium has also been used in the dental industry in various applications.
Where does Palladium bullion come from? Palladium is mined mainly in South Africa and in Russia, but some is mined in North America as well. This metal is refined to purity like any other precious metal and formed into ingots and Palladium coins for sale on the market. The Swiss have been making Pd ingots for many years, and they are marked with "Credit Suisse". The Spanish were the first ever to use metals containing Pd to strike counterfeit coins, but later it was used for currency in Australia, the South Pacific, China and Russia.
The price of Palladium can sometimes be very volatile, depending on its availability for use in manufacturing and other industries. Therefore, if the price is too high, a closely related metal, Platinum, may sometimes be substituted instead. In the early 2000's, Palladium bullion reached a price of $1,100 per ounce! It slowly came back down to about $200 per ounce in 2005. Just as investors understand how precious various metals can be, God considers the faith of the believer more precious than gold! In 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 7 says "...that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ".
Investors buy Pd on the futures markets, in order to reduce their investment risk, and ensure they can lock in a price that is favorable for them. If the investor is good at estimating prices of this metal, this may be a good way to ensure money is made. Since the supply of the metal is not always reliable, companies may panic when supplies are not available. Russia has sometimes used this information to drive up prices just like the Middle East uses its control of oil supplies to control oil prices throughout the world. Also, if mining is interrupted for some reason, this could also serve to make prices fluctuate, and keep companies scrambling to find the metal elsewhere on short notice.
Palladium coins can be found everywhere for the coin collector who is determined to find that perfect specimen. Hundreds of coin collecting sites are available that buy and sell coins of this metal in varying grades and denominations. One must be very familiar with the value of this metal and how coin grading is carried out before making that jump from looking to buying. If the collector is determined to buy however, care must be taken to ensure that the coin has been certified by the mint as genuine, for there are many counterfeits out there that would love to take advantage of uninformed buyers. As a note, these coins are called "rounds" if they are not issued by the government. If the currency is government issued, then the pieces are referred to as coinage. There is a minting company in Montana that issues Pd rounds, the most recent of which depicts Lewis and Clarke, and is of interest to collectors in most places. The metal creates a very beautiful coin that is very shiny and desirable. There are many more different varieties of coins from several different countries that have become available within the last two decades which are of interest to collectors. Most Palladium coins can be purchased in minimum quantities of 5 Troy ounces, the price of which is based on the current spot price, or going market price. These rounds are shipped encased in plastic cards which show both sides of the round for easy viewing, and are marked according to its serial number.
It is interesting that governments around the world are beginning to utilize Pd to make currency, because the metal is really quite scarce compared to the availability of silver, gold and platinum. It is the most economical choice compared to gold and Platinum, but because of it's volatility, as discussed earlier, one would think that minting currency from this metal would be too much of a risk. There are only about 70 million pounds of Pd mined each year, compared to 440 million pounds of gold. Perhaps the use of Pd in coinage will serve to ensure the value of this metal keeps increasing year after year. This will also service to reduce the amounts available for industrial purposes, causing even more volatility.
Silver Bullion DealersSilver bullion dealers are registered in large numbers on the Internet, ready to sell bullion to anyone who might be looking for coins or bars to add to their collection or give to someone as a gift. Since silver is less expensive than gold, it is far more accessible. Bullion coins are those whose values are based on the precious metal content of the coin, rather than their face value. These coins are minted by a country, and are legal tender in that country (although unlikely to actually be used as currency), and they are some of the most beautiful coins in the world. These coins are made of a precious metal, and they tend to be quite rare, many with mintages of less than 10,000. These coins have been minted since the late 1960s by a variety of countries, although most have been minted since 1980. These pieces are designed to serve as a way for people to own precious metals (as an alternative to bars and ingots). Because of their beauty, scarcity, and value, they have become collector coins.
When a collector or investor contacts someone who will sell silver bullion, he can buy the item in the form of either a coin or a bar. Bars can be purchased all the way from 1 oz. to 100 oz pieces, depending on how much a person wants to spend. South Africa was the first country to mint this type of coin, with the Krugerrand, and those coins are still available today. These coins are collected for various reasons, just as with any type of coin. The look of silver has its own special appeal, and their prices are reasonable so that a collector can add new coins to a collection occasionally. With the value based much more on the content of the metal rather than the scarcity of the coin, they can be a great value. Silver was used as a metaphor in at least one chastising Scriptural reading: "As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you." (Ezekiel 22:22)
Those dealers who sell silver bullion will have coins from several countries, and each has a particular type of design. For instance, China has the Panda, Canada has the Maple Leaf, and the U.S. has the Eagle, and these coins have a year on them. Some offer different designs of the same theme each year (i.e., different views of the Panda), and sometimes, different sizes will have a different design as well. These coins come in three types of finishes. Proof coins are shiny with a mirror-like surface; BU (brilliant uncirculated) coins are like new coins being circulated for change, and the most common "BU-Proof-like" are coins that were designated to be in BU condition but look a lot like proof coins. Those who sell silver bullion will be able to locate any of these upon request. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the three types. Another distinguishing factor among the pieces sold by silver bullion dealers is fineness. Fineness refers to how pure the precious metal content is.
There are crooks in every business, and precious metal investing is no exception. There are two categories of counterfeit coins. The designations are either a fake or a copy. A copy is a counterfeit coin that is made of the proper metal. A fake, on the other hand, is made of the wrong metal. Copies aren't very important to collectors because they have the proper content. However, silver coin dealers don't want to buy them by mistake. Fakes prose a problem for everyone who wants to sell silver bullion. Since the majority of the price paid for silver coins of this type is for the value of the metal, a fake coin is nearly worthless. However, they are much easier to detect than copies. A fake can be spotted upon checking the weight and measurement of a coin. If its height or size is wrong, the coin is not genuine.
When a collector or investor is looking for silver bullion dealers, the task may be difficult. Not every coin store keeps this pure metal on hand. There may be a local supplier, but his choices are likely to be very limited. If there is a particular coin being sought, then a telephone call to all the local dealers will determine pretty quickly whether any of them have what the collector is seeking. If a collector is looking for just any bullion coin, one or two may be found, but probably not more. The best source is the Internet. Coin magazines and bullion dealers who might be listed in the phone book are another; and finally, coin shows are a good source for finding precious metals.
The buyer will most likely have to pay State taxes on what he buys, and the silver bullion dealers will pass on that information to his customers. For instance, Texas puts a tax on all purchases under $1,000.00. Despite that drawback, there seems to be a growing number of people entering the silver bullion marketplace.