In a storied history that spans more than an entire millennium, the Royal Mint—the official state mint of the United Kingdom—has actually never issued anything in platinum bullion before. That is all appearing to change in the near future now that the mint has partnered with the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) to bring platinum coins and bars to its customers for the first time ever.
Rising Popularity of Platinum
The WPIC has been advocating for greater availability of platinum investment products around the world, and the campaign appears to be bearing fruits.
In the past, platinum was seen by many investors as more of an industrial metal (rather than a precious metal) due to its widespread use in the manufacture of automobiles. Although this is objectively true, increased interest in platinum jewelry began to stir around the turn of the 21st century. The subsequent decline in platinum prices over the last several years has also increased investor interest in adding platinum bullion to their portfolios as a way to diversify with a tangible asset. Platinum is now priced well below gold, as well, trading around $900/oz compared to over $1,100/oz for gold.
Several government mints around the world have finally been expanding what kinds of platinum products they offer to investors. For the most part, when countries like the United States or Russia have issued platinum coins, they have been of the collectible variety.
However, South Africa recently announced it will issue a Platinum Krugerrand coin for the first time in 2017 to honor the Krugerrand's 50th anniversary (1967). Likewise, Austria has introduced the Platinum Philharmonic coin, a new addition to its already popular Gold Philharmonic and Silver Philharmonic coins.
Julie Cookson [Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 ] via Wikimedia Commons
Now, the renowned Royal Mint (U.K.) is also joining the blossoming investment-grade platinum market for the first time in its history. The mint will offer its new platinum products beginning in 2017 alongside its existing lineup of precious metal coins and bullion bars. The Royal Mint enjoys one of the best reputations of any government mint in the world, not only because of its long and impressive history, but also because it ranks as the world's top export mint.
There is still no indication about precisely what kinds of products—"a range of bullion coins and bars"—the mint will issue in platinum. In either case, these items are expected to be .995 fine (99.5% pure) platinum or better.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.