Login

user_9998's Blog

06 Sep 2016

Palladium in Numismatics

Young Numismatists Exchange | user_9998

             Since 2010, the United States Mint has been congressionally authorized to produce and sell 1-ounce Palladium Eagle bullion coins. Thus far, it has not acted upon this authorization, but it may come to fruition in the next few years, with Coin World reporting in May on the Mint's work securing of planchets made of the precious metal. (See http://www.coinworld.com/news/precious-metals/2016/05/us-mint-seeking-vendors-for-palladium-american-eagle.html)

            So the question is, what is palladium?

            Palladium is a silvery element (Atomic no. 46, Chemical symbol Pd), classified as a noble metal, and further as a member of the Platinum Group along with platinum, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, and rhodium. The metals in this group are renowned for their rarity, and hence are used very sparingly in coinage. Palladium is one of the more famous among the group, as well as the second most commonly used in Numismatics (after platinum), which makes its usage sound far more substantial than it actually is: only 16 countries have struck coins in palladium.

            Palladium was discovered in 1802 by William Hyde Wollaston two years before he discovered rhodium. He purified small amounts of palladium and offered it for sale in a small shop in Soho, United Kingdom. Wollaston's new discovery was attacked by chemist Richard Chenevix as a fraud, who claimed that palladium was nothing but an alloy of platinum and mercury, but Chenevix had no one to really attack, as Wollaston did not disclose the fact that he was palladium's discoverer until 1805. He named the metal after Pallas, an asteroid, in turn named after Pallas Athena of Greek mythology.

            Palladium was used at one point, in very small amounts, as a medicine for tuberculosis, though apparently with some unpleasant side effects, and was eventually dropped as a cure for the disease. Today its main use is to convert harmful elements released from cars into less harmful elements as part of a three-way catalytic converter, similar to rhodium. It is also used in dental work as a tarnish and corrosion-free filling, and, like most other precious metals, in jewelry. About 40% of the world's palladium is produced in Russia, with a slightly lower amount produced in South Africa, while the United States, Canada, and Zimbabwe produce about 10% or lower each.

            As far as coins are concerned, Russia leads the pack in palladium usage, both today and as the former Soviet Union, producing coins in 1989 featuring a ballerina, as well as others featuring scenes from Russian history (including, in 1990, a commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Russian America, today called Alaska). Canada, with its extensive Maple Leaf bullion program, produced palladium coins starting in 2005, struck alongside coins in gold, silver, and platinum. China has struck their famous Panda bullion coins in palladium, along with Australia's Emu-themed coins in 1996-98, and the Isle of Man's palladium coin in 1987 celebrating the United States Constitution bicentennial. France, Palau, Portugal, Sierra Leone (the first country in the world to produce palladium coins, in 1966), Samoa, Switzerland and Tonga have all struck coins in palladium, with the United States just about ready to join the fray. Rumor has it that the design of the U.S. Palladium Eagle will be similar to Adolph Weinman's "Mercury" Dime, a beautiful design for a beautiful metal. Palladium's existence has been known for over two centuries, and yet we have still only scratched the surface of what this rare and valuable metal may have to offer, especially in the world of Numismatics.

Comments

SpartaCuse

Level 4

Nice info - the noble metals are good - also, the platinum group - i would be nice to have a few different metals in the coinage again

Kepi

Level 6

Thanks for the info! Great blog!

Kepi

Level 6

Thanks for the info! Great blog!

CMCC

Level 5

I just saw your Rhodium blog, so that already happened too!

CMCC

Level 5

Wow! What's next, Rhodium? Plenty of information I did not know!

Longstrider

Level 6

I'd like to see a new palladium coin. I most likely couldn't afford it but it would be nice to see. Thanks for your research.

"SUN"

Level 6

It is nice to see a YN studying and writing about coins.

Pliny The Elder

Level 5

Great and informative blog. My mind is too small, I think, to totally embrace all of the spectrum of precious metals out there for use in coins. Rare and valuable are different than being rare and desireable. I see this metal as being rare and valuable (too expensive for me I am sure), and gold as being rare and desireable. I would rather have gold....what? You too? :)

Mike

Level 7

I know it's found very deep in the earth. When they do find it it's in small deposits. I do not what to think of the price of the coin. I think it will be very expensive. I think your blog is very informative. Not alot of people know about this fee metal. You did your homework and thanks for sharing your information. I just think it will be another coin that will keep collector's out of the market. Thanks again I learned something today.

Tags
    No tags are attached to this post.
We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.