Bullion vs. Commemorative Coins – What You Should Know

Some people are collectors, others are investors, but a true coin enthusiast should be a little of both. Precious metals such as gold and silver have been recognised as valuable for many years, and today they still hold a firm place in a savvy collector’s portfolio. But do you know in which coins should you invest?

Bullion coins

Bullion coins are very popular amongst those looking to make a modest outlay to preserve their capital in precious metal. They can be purchased from major banks, coin dealers and manufacturers.

Bullion coins are always a very attractive purchase due to their intrinsic metal value and bullion with a reverse frosted finish appear to have gained popularity recently. Reverse frosted bullion coins are struck in the same manner as standard bullion coins, except that some areas of the design are frosty and others are mirror-like finish hence the attractiveness.

Although bullion coins are usually made from gold and silver, they can also be found in platinum and palladium.

The real value of bullion coins

In the mint industry we recognise a few types of bullion coins, with the most popular being made of gold, silver and base metal (including iron, nickel and copper). Produced for investment purposes and valued by their weight, bullion coins are made up of the finest metals, using the highest purity.   

The actual value of bullion coins is based on their bullion content, and therefore the prices can vary. Bullion coins' valuation can also be affected by fluctuations in currency and stock trading thanks to their gold and silver content, which makes them an interesting yet safe investment.

The World’s Most Famous Bullion Coins

The most popular bullion coins from around the world, rated by global sales, include:

Gold American Eagle

The official gold bullion coin of the United States was designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, an American sculptor, and first released in 1986. This $5 piece represents a full-length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair while clutching a torch in one hand and an olive branch in the other.

The current value of a 1 oz Gold American Eagle coin (containing over 31.104 grams of pure gold) is $1,356.

Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

Issued annually by the Government of Canada, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is one of the most popular bullion coins available.

The coin with a legal tender value of $50 is made from the purest gold on the market, with a purity of 0.999 fine gold (24 carats).

Isle of Man 2016 Angel – Reverse Proof Silver Bullion

Angel coins have a rich history. The original angel coin was an old English gold coin that was introduced by Edward IV in 1465, as a new issue of the Noble. Originally based on a French coin known as the Angelot or Ange. These names were derived from the representation of the Archangel Michael slaying a dragon which was depicted on the design of the coin.

Pobjoy produced the first and last Reverse Frosted Silver Bullion Angel to date on behalf of the Isle of Man. The modern Angel continues to uphold the remarkable tradition it has built up over hundreds of years. This is the fifth design in the coin’s illustrious history since first being issued in 1984 when it was awarded Coin of the Year under the Best Gold Coin Category at the COTY Awards in 1986.

Estimating the value of commemorative coins

When it comes to estimating the real value of commemorative pieces, we should take into account many factors such as their issue limit, grading, toning and, just like in bullion coins, their metal content.  

If you’re relatively new to the numismatic world, why not check our blog about the principles of coin collecting?

The Most Famous Commemorative Coins

1913 Liberty Head Nickel

This American five-cent piece is one of the best known and most coveted rarities in American numismatics as there were only five of them ever produced. The numismatic value of 1913 Livery Head Nickel is estimated between $3,428,950 and $4,408,650, depending on the coin’s condition.

Australian Kangaroo

Described as the most extensive and most valuable gold coin in the world, the Australian Kangaroo is a one-tonne gold medal, approximately 31 inches in diameter and 4.7 inches in thickness.

Made up of 99.999% pure gold, the coin features a classic kangaroo along with the Commonwealth Star, surrounded by the leaves, nuts and flowers of a Tasmanian Blue Gum.  

The estimated value of the Australian Kangaroo is $42 million (based on a gold price of $1,200/oz.)

The Edward III Double Florin

The Edward III Double Florin, also known as Double Leopard, was England’s first large gold coin to be issued in Britain since Anglo Saxon times.  The coin, authorised on 14 December 1343, was an attempt by King Edward III to produce a gold coin suitable for use in Europe as well as England, but was quickly withdrawn as a result of the coins being underweight for their value. The coin was eventually auctioned in 2006 for a price of £460,000.

Bullion coins vs. commemorative: which is a better investment?

With bullion coins, there will always be value as you are paying for the gold and silver content only.  When it comes to capitalizing commemorative coins there is still a risk, especially when we consider all the criteria they need to meet to be worth more than their metal content.  


Are you looking for unique bullion coins to add to your collection? At Pobjoy Mint we offer a large selection of high-quality bullion options, featuring the Pegasus – 2018 1oz Gold Bullion, the 35th Anniversary of the Liberation 2017 Silver Coin and the Centenary of Birth John F. Kennedy 2017 Silver Bullion.