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United States Mint (U.S. Mint) Palladium

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United States Mint Palladium

Palladium, a lustrous silvery-white metal, is one of the world's rarest and most valuable precious metals. It belongs to the platinum group metals (PGMs) along with platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium. It is known for its remarkable resistance to corrosion and oxidation, even at elevated temperatures. Discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, palladium has a variety of applications.

Palladium's most significant use is in the automotive industry, where it serves as a critical component in catalytic converters, a device used to reduce harmful emissions from internal combustion engines. Its unique ability to absorb vast amounts of hydrogen makes it valuable in fuel cell technology.

Despite its numerous industrial applications, palladium remains rare, contributing to its high value in global markets. It is considered to be roughly 30 times rarer than gold.

About the American Palladium Eagle

Minted by the United States Mint, this coin holds legal tender status in the United States. However, its face value is mostly symbolic and many times less than its intrinsic metal value.

  • Denomination: One Ounce ($25 USD)
  • Produced by the U.S. Mint
  • Guaranteed by the U.S. government
  • .9995 Purity
  • Thickness: 2.5 mm
  • Diameter: 32.7 mm

American Palladium Eagle Design

The coin's obverse features a high-relief likeness of "Winged Liberty" from the "Mercury Dime," designed by acclaimed artist Adolph A. Weinman in 1916. This iconic design portrays Liberty wearing a winged Phrygian cap, symbolizing freedom of thought.

The coin's reverse showcases another Weinman design, originally created in 1907 for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) gold medal. This striking image depicts an eagle carrying a branch, symbolizing strength and peace.

Palladium Liquidity

The value of these coins is tied to the market price of palladium, with the metal's liquidity being a function of the balance between its industrial use and available supply. Palladium coins are considered liquid assets, yet the extent of market demand and collector interest can vary. Another consideration is that the demand for special edition releases can vary, and sometimes, locating an interested buyer may take longer.

Palladium, predominantly used in manufacturing automotive catalytic converters, faces substantial industrial demand. Its rarity, however, limits its supply, with Russia and South Africa being its primary producers. The concentrated nature of palladium sources in a few countries means that political stability in these regions plays a crucial role in determining its accessibility and market dynamics, thereby affecting its liquidity.

One Ounce Palladium Coin Versions

Variations in coin types can encompass graded coins, proofs, burnished versions, and others. Some coins can carry multiple designations. Knowing what these different labels signify can help in making a more informed investment choice.

Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)

A Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coin has never entered public circulation and maintains much of its original sheen from the mint. These coins remain in the condition they were in when they left the mint, but they can have slight flaws or marks resulting from the minting process or from being handled.

Proof

Palladium proof coins are minted using specially prepared blanks and dies. The dies are treated to impart a mirror-like finish to the coin's surface, while the blanks are polished for a smooth and pristine appearance. These coins are struck repeatedly under greater pressure than standard circulation coins, resulting in exceptionally sharp and detailed features.

Reverse Proof

The background boasts a mirror-like sheen in a typical proof coin, whereas the elevated design aspects (such as characters, symbols, or inscriptions) exhibit a frosted look. Conversely, this arrangement is flipped in a reverse proof coin: the background or field features a frosted matte finish, while the raised design elements are refined to a mirror-like gloss.

Graded

Graded palladium coins refer to those assessed and given a quality score by a professional coin grading agency. These evaluations are conducted by expert institutions such as the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), which are adept at verifying the condition and authenticity of coins. Coins receiving an SP-70, MS-70, or PF-70 grade are considered the highest quality.

Burnished

Palladium Burnished coins are minted from planchets that have undergone special treatment. Before being struck, these planchets are polished, typically in a drum containing a burnishing medium (such as tiny beads or pebbles), to endow them with a smooth, matte-like surface.

Deep Cameo or Ultra Cameo

Deep Cameo or Ultra Cameo describes proof coins that display a pronounced contrast between their frosted design features (such as figures, symbols, or text) and the mirror-like backdrop. This "Deep Cameo" or "Ultra Cameo" classification is commonly employed by coin grading services, like the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

First Stike (FS)

The First Strike designation is assigned to coins distributed or sent from the mint within 30 days of their production. This label indicates that these coins are some of the first minted using a new die.

First Release (FR)

Coins designated as First Release are typically graded and certified by reputable coin grading services like the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). They are coins received by an approved depository within 30 days of the first release of the new coin.

Early Release (ER)

"Early Release" (ER) is a classification provided to coins by third-party grading services, indicating that these coins were issued to organizations like the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) within the first 30 days of their release.

First Day Issue (FDI)

"First Day of Issue" (FDI) is a label applied by third-party grading services to coins that have been submitted for certification on the very first day they were officially released by the mint.

Palladium is regarded as a liquid asset, but its liquidity is subject to various economic, industrial, geopolitical, and market influences. Those investing in palladium, whether in its physical state or via financial instruments, should be mindful of these fluctuating dynamics.

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