What are Sovereign Mints and Private Mints?

There are several mints from around the world that produce great Precious Metals products from bullion to bars and everything in between. Some mints are distinguished by regulations while others are not. For collectors and investors, it is important to note the difference between sovereign mints and private mints.

Sovereign Mints

Sovereign mints are sometimes referred to as government mints or national mints. Products produced by sovereign mints are made for legal tender in that country. Oftentimes, there is face value associated with the product and an official legal tender status. Examples of sovereign mints are the United States Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Perth Mint, Chinese Mint, and the Austrian Mint. Sovereign mints produce some of the most popular designs like the American Silver Eagles and Austrian Gold Philharmonics.

With sovereign mints, “Coins produced in this way are almost uniformly of extremely high production value...Almost all [Silver coins] have 99.9% pure Silver in their composition at a minimum.” (Buy Silver)

Private Mints

Private mints are privately owned and do not produce bullion and bars for legal tender. With private mints, they make products with their own branding or designs, purity and metal content. There are no legal requirements to produce a given amount of Precious Metals. Examples of popular private mints are Engelhard, Johnson Matthey and PAMP Suisse.

Private “mints perform a number of different services which make the Silver market function better. They sell Gold and Silver rounds and Gold and Silver bars, which are seldom minted by the government, with high, guaranteed Silver content. … Private mints therefore furnish a good source of Silver bullion at a fairly low premium above spot, increasing the supply of the metal to individual buyers.” (Buy Silver)

Both private and sovereign mints have their advantages and their place in the market of Precious Metals. As the value of Gold and Silver remain high, the importance of investing in Precious Metals should not be understated. Whether one purchases Gold or Silver from a private or sovereign mint, collectors and investors are still buying a high-quality product. Products from both mints are tied to the value of Gold, Silver and other Precious Metals.

There are some differences in terminology depending on where you buy your Precious Metals.




Gold and Silver Coins vs Gold and Silver Rounds

While many people do not differentiate the two, there are differences in terms of value and cost:

  • Coins are produced by sovereign mints and have a legal tender status associated with them. They can carry higher premiums over the spot price of Precious Metals, due to collectibility. Many popular designs are found on Gold and Silver coins.
  • Rounds are produced by private mints and do not have face value or legal tender status associated with them. The price for rounds often hovers near the spot price of Precious Metals. Each round's design can be customized to their liking. Rounds, however, still have tremendous value. (Stack Exchange)

Though these distinctions may not be consequential in an investor's decision to buy from a sovereign mint or a private mint, it is still important to know so one can better understand what they are buying.

Buy at APMEX

APMEX has a wide selection of Gold bullion and Silver bullion from private and sovereign mints. Whether one buys from the Austrian Mint (sovereign) or from Engelhard Mint (private), APMEX has a wide selection of Precious Metals that will diversify any collector's portfolio. APMEX is a trusted name in Precious Metals retail.




Helpful Resources

How to Invest in Precious Metals (2:38)

See how Gold, an ancient storehouse of wealth, plays a vital role in modern investment portfolios. Watch Video

The Precious Metals Guide: Insights & Services

Written to acquaint you with Precious Metals investing and all the ways APMEX helps you succeed. Read more

Market Updates

Monitor the performance of Gold and Silver with daily market commentaries. Learn More

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