American bullion coins are demonstrably the world’s favorites. The U.S. Mint and authorized vendors have sold hundreds of millions in silver, gold, and platinum in the last 25 years or so, and there’s no sign that the love affair with our round metallic art will cool anytime soon.

Now, we realize that many investors are interested in bullion coins only for their precious metal value — and that’s great. However, whether you’re a newbie or a more discerning sort of investor than most, in this article we’ll treat you to a few of the little-known facts behind these coins.

Fun Fact #1: The U.S. Mint has minted bullion coins only since 1986.

Many new investors don’t realize that prior to 1986, any American bullion available was either in the form of bars or traditional coinage. This made it difficult for the average person to invest, since bars tend to be large (10 ounces or more), and old coins often have value as collectibles.

Both factors tended to lift the cost of pre-1986 bullion above the average investor’s range. This changed with the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. Suddenly, bullion in gold and silver both was easily available to anyone — and in rather striking forms, too. Platinum bullion joined the family in 1997.

Fun Fact #2: Some American Indian tribes produce their own bullion.

From a legal standpoint, most recognized Native American groups are sovereign nations, so they have the right to mint coinage. (This is also the reason why they can usually build casinos if they want.) The Shawnee Nation and Poarch Band of Creek Indians have both issued collectible one-ounce silver bullion rounds.

Like standard American silver bullion, Shawnee and Poarch bullion coins have a denomination of $1 and consist of 99.9% fine silver. The coins depict significant events in the histories of the tribes and the United States.

Fun Fact #3: Bullion coins have value as legal currency.

You’ve probably noticed that all U.S. bullion coins have denominations: for example, the Silver Eagle is officially a dollar coin, while the various Gold Eagles vary from $1-50 in denomination, with the Platinum Eagles taking the cake at values from $10-100.

Obviously, the least of these coins is worth a high multiple of the face value. So why do they have any face value at all? Because if they have face value, they’re considered legal tender — which allows them to be transported from one country to another without being taxed or tariffed to death.

The Federal Government originally instituted this practice for trade reasons. Though bullion isn’t traded very often nowadays, the legal fiction remains. Officially, a Silver Eagle is legal tender valued at a dollar, and a $50 Gold Eagle is worth $50. No matter how high or low the true value goes, that won’t change.

Fun Fact #4: Originally, the Mint dated U.S. gold bullion coins with Roman numerals.

From 1986-1991, all American Gold Eagles (our premium gold bullion coins) displayed minting dates expressed in Roman numerals. This offered an easy way to distinguish them as bullion at a glance.

The “Powers That Be” at the U.S. Mint decided this was no longer necessary as of 1992; and in any case, Roman numerals tend to get pretty long and hard to read. That year, the Mint began minting American bullion coins with standard Arabic numerals only, and has continued to do so ever since.

Want to find out more? If you want to sidestep the investment traps — and avoid all the myths and fads — that are the reason why 99% of investors earned virtually no return for nearly an entire decade, check out my free newsletter and Mini-Course.

Which fact did you like best? Want to share any others? Let us know by commenting below.

 

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