6 fun facts about one of the world’s most innovative mints: The Perth Mint of Australia.

The Perth Mint

The Perth Mint (Photo credit: amandabhslater)

If you’re an APMEX customer, you may know The Perth Mint as the prized destination for our annual “Escape To Australia” contest. As an investor or collector, you probably know The Perth Mint for their products. Their Gold and Silver Lunar coins are among the most beautiful and collected Chinese Zodiac coins in the world. Here are a few surprising facts about The Perth Mint that you might not know.

Rare. Many Perth Mint coins are made in strictly limited mintages, giving even their most value-priced bullion coins a dimension of collectibility.

Same Location since 1899. The Perth Mint was established in 1899 as a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint. Today, it’s one of the oldest mints in the world to operate on its original premises, despite the name change.. The Perth Mint is actually incorporated as Gold Corporation and  has two wholly owned subsidiaries – Western Australian Mint and GoldCorp USA.

Created The First Gold Bullion Series. In 1986, The Perth Mint launched the Australian Gold Nugget Coin Series, the first bullion series with a reverse (back) design that changes every year. The first few coins featured Gold nuggets. In 1989, the design switched to a kangaroo. Today, we commonly call this series the Australian Gold Kangaroo.

Biggest and Best. In 2011, The Perth Mint unveiled the biggest, heaviest and inherently most valuable Gold coin in the world. Weighing in at 1,000kg (2,204.6 pounds), this coin contains one metric tonne of 99.99 percent pure Gold and is worth more than $42.6 million at current Gold prices.

A Refinery and A Mint. There’s only one Gold refinery in Australia and it’s The Perth Mint. Between coins, bullion and industrial Gold, The Perth Mint produces more than 400 tonnes of Gold per year.

Visit Perth and The Mint. Located on the Western Shore of Australia, Perth is a bustling and beautiful city with beaches, parks and natural wonders unique to this island continent. You can also visit The Perth Mint while you’re there. In fact, you could…

WIN A FREE TRIP TO PERTH AND THE PERTH MINT!

Every fall, when the new Perth Mint coins come out, APMEX launches the “Escape To Australia” contest. Watch for it on this blog and APMEX.com.

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5 things you never want to do with Gold and Silver.

Gold and Silver may last forever, but coins, bars, rounds and jewelry require special care to preserve their value. Here are a few things you never want to do.

  • Don’t touch or talk over a coin: Fingerprints can be almost impossible to remove so be sure to always wear gloves, preferably made of soft cotton, when you handle coins. And don’t talk in a coin’s direction. Subtle, indiscernible drops of saliva can land on a coin and turn into smudge marks over time.
  • Don’t take a certified coin out of its slab: Grading services like PCGS and NGC seal coins in tamper-evident slabs to protect them and certify their authenticity and condition. Once the seal is broken, the certification is lost and the value of the coin is reduced.
  • Don’t try to authenticate a product yourself: We’ve seen coins, rounds and bars lose value when people drill into or pour chemicals on them. Always ask a professional to help you authenticate. Or better yet, buy from a reputable dealer whose products need no authentication.
  • Don’t clean your coins: Improper cleaning can turn a rare, valuable coin into a $25 Silver ingot. Collectors prefer coins that show the deep coloration of age over those whose surfaces have been stripped away.
  • Don’t swim wearing Gold jewelry: Chlorine breaks down the alloys in 14K and 18K Gold jewelry, weakening prongs and ring shanks. Chlorine bleach can destroy 14K Gold in 24 hours. The 24K Gold found in most APMEX products is impervious to almost every chemical, but is generally too soft and pliable for everyday jewelry.

Do you have any ideas for protecting your Gold and Silver? Share them in the comments section below.

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Learn more about the Sheldon Grading Scale

2014 1 oz Gold American Eagle MS-70 NGC Early Releases

2014 1 oz Gold American Eagle MS-70 NGC Early Releases

Why graded coins are so prized and valued by collectors

Here’s a collector’s horror story that never has to happen to you.

You fall in love with a coin that appears to be in absolutely perfect condition. Not a scratch or smudge – you’d never know anyone touched it since it left the mint. You pay top dollar. Then to your surprise, an expert looks at it and spots a barely discernible nick near the rim on the coin’s obverse. It’s a great coin, but it’s not worth what you paid for it.

That’s exactly the nightmare Dr. William Herbert Sheldon set out to eliminate when he created the Sheldon Grading Scale in 1949.

A standardized system to evaluate a coin’s condition

The Sheldon Grading Scale gives expert coin appraisers a system of standardized attributes to evaluate a coin’s condition. The expert appraisers inspect the coins and grade them on a scale of 1 – 70.

A grade of 1 means the coin may be clear enough to identify, but it may be badly corroded or so worn that a side of the coin is blanked. On the other end of the scale, 70 means uncirculated perfection – no trace of wear, handling, scratches or contact with other coins. All the mint’s original luster is intact.

No circulated coin receives a grade higher than 58. At that grade, just about all of the coin’s original mint luster remains. Uncirculated coins receive grades from 11 – 70.

Who makes the grade?

The Sheldon Grading Scale is not for amateurs. The people who grade coins and assign these values have to be extremely well trained and experienced. That’s why most coins are graded by professional grading services.

There are dozens of grading services, but two of the most popular and highly respected are the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

Coins graded by these services are highly valued for three reasons.

First, the people who grade coins for NGC and PCGS are unimpeachable experts. Their judgment is highly respected throughout the industry.

Second, after the coins are graded, they are sealed in airtight protective slabs, which help prevent tarnishing. They also provide a strong tamper-evident layer, so coins coin can’t be damaged in handling without a collector knowing about it.

Third, they label the coins with grades and findings. When you see a coin in a plastic slab labeled MS-70, you know it is an absolutely perfect coin. If it has an NGC Early Releases or PCGS First Strike designation, you know it arrived at the grading service within 30 days of the coin’s release by the mint.

Needless to say, graded coins are highly prized and valued.

 A treasure trove of collectibles

APMEX has a huge selection of graded coins, from uncirculated Silver Dollars that are more than 100 years old to the latest bullion coins receiving First Strike and Early Releases designations. Click here to see some of our more popular Graded Gold Coins and Graded Silver Coins.

 

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How does APMEX ship products so fast?

APMEX QuickShipWe see many APMEX customers who are thrilled to receive their orders in three business days or less. All domestic orders (except for orders that have pre-sale items in them) paid by credit card or bank wire ship within 1 business day of your payment clearing. We guarantee this. And in some cases orders ship the same day as well. Now, there are times when we may not be able to meet this commitment and when that does happen you will receive a coupon for free shipping on your next order (go here to learn more about some restrictions).  So how is this possible? We have a special program called QuickShipSM. The aim of this program is to offer expedited shipping to our customers at no additional cost. I can’t give away too much of our trade secrets but here are some tidbits about APMEX and about QuickShipSM

  • We maintain over $60M in inventory at all times as well as have a state of the art fulfillment operation. This enables us to ship faster.
  •  More than 99% of orders paid by credit card or wire transfer placed between October and December have shipped by the next business day from when the funds were received
  • Because we always try and exceed expectations, more than 1/3 of these orders even shipped same day!

At APMEX, customers always come first. Even if that means that we have to work overnight, during the weekend or right through the holidays. In fact, our shipping team worked over the weekend and all Silver American Eagle pre-orders shipped on Saturday or yesterday! Thank you for shopping on www.APMEX.com and we look forward to helping you meet your investment goals this year by getting Gold and Silver in your hands faster.

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5 Products with the most reviews

At APMEX we always aim to be totally transparent and helpful to our customers. We have a great review program on our site that allows customers to provide unbiased feedback to help others make buying decisions. Here are the top 5 products with the most positive reviews! Hopefully you will find something you like and if you do end up purchasing it don’t forget to review it!

2013 1 oz Silver Eagles

“These are the backbone of my investment” says one customer. A sentiment that is echoed by several other buyers of this iconic Silver coin,

2013 1 oz Silver Canadian Maple Leaf

People love this coin because of its “high purity” and “lower premium” when compared to other Silver coins.

1 oz Sunshine Silver Bar .999 Fine (V2)

These bars are a popular choice because “they all have a great shine to them and the security mint mark is really neat with the decoder lens.

1 oz APMEX Silver Bar .999 Fine

One reviewer thinks that these bars make a “great gift to young family members at the holidays as a nudge to invest.”

Generic Silver .999+ Fine (per ounce)

If you are looking for some variety and value this product will not disappoint. “The price is unbeatable and it’s always fun to see what pieces you’ll get.”

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Don’t Wait — Get Free Shipping On 2014 Eagles – Offer Ends 12/31!

Free Shipping on 2014 Silver & Gold Eagles

*Special Promotion: Enjoy Free Shipping when your order includes five or more 2014 Silver American Eagles (Raw or Certified) or Any Quantity of 2014 Gold American Eagles (Raw or Certified). Offer ends 12/31/2013 at Midnight ET. Applies to US Domestic Shipping Only.

Silver Spot Price Dips Almost $1

If you’ve been waiting for a price dip in order to begin or expand your holdings in Silver, now may be a good time to act. Silver prices have pulled back, creating opportunities for savvy investors.

LOCK IN YOUR PRICE WHEN YOU ORDER FROM APMEX

When you buy Silver from APMEX, the price listed is the price you pay (not including shipping) — locked in at the time of your order. There are no commissions and no hidden fees. That means you can take maximum advantage of the recent price pullback in Silver to buy your favorite items.

Take Advantage Of This Silver Buying Opportunity