Palladium coins are a form of coinage made out of the rare silver-white transition metal palladium.
Palladium is internationally recognized as a form of currency under ISO 4217. ISO 4217 is the international standard describing three letter codes (also known as the currency code) to define the names of currencies established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Palladium is a precious metal that has good characteristics for coinage, It is light, easy to work and looks impressive and rather like platinum. But its use ias circulation coins has been very limited.
One of the earliest coin uses of native platinum (before palladium was identified and separated from the naturally-occurring metal) was in the Spanish colonies of South America, where it was used to make counterfeit gold coins. The bogus coins were struck in native platinum, sometimes within the same mint where the legitimate gold coins were pressed, then they were gilded with gold, and passed off as pure gold.
In 1967, the South Pacific island nation of Tonga was the first to issue palladium general circulation coins commemorating the coronation of King Taufa Ahau Tupou IV.
Since then a number of countries have jumped on the band wagon and issued palladium coins, including Australia, Canada, China, France, the Former Soviet Union, Russia, and Slovakia. Most of these have been special commemorative coins. A list of all Palladium coins ever minted can be found at palladium coins.
From 1987 to 1990, Portugal began issuing palladium proof coins as part of a series with other metals.
1987, France issued a 100 Franc palladium bullion proof coin featuring the bust of Lafayette. 1987 was a popular year for palladium bullion; the Isle of Man, an island kingdom in the Irish Sea, issued a palladium coin in commemoration of the bicentennial of the United States Constitution and featuring Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and on the reverse are 11 U.S. presidents encircling the Statue of Liberty. Please see the picture in the sidebar.
From 1989 to 1995, Russia made some limited palladium bullion issues, known as the ballerina series because the obverse would typically feature a ballerina striking a pose.
China struck its first palladium Pandas in 1989, but none have been produced since then until this year, when they minted 8,000 100 Yuan palladium coins featuring the lovely kissing pandas.
Australia produced some palladium bullion coins in an "Emu" series from 1995 to 1997. Four different mintings were done with variations on the Emu, a flightless bird, for each. The coins, both proof and bullion, are one troy ounce of 99.95% pure palladium with a face value $A40. The first limited bullion version sold 10 percent over the prevailing palladium price. Australia marketed the first proof or collector version at $A350 - the number of proofs minted 2,500. The Perth Mint suspended the Emu series when the price of palladium doubled in 1998.
Palladium coins are interesting to collect and likely to increase in value over the years due to their rarity and uncommon issue.
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