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Article: Precious metal

Precious metal

Bullion and Purity

  • Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion and are traded on commodity markets.
  • Bullion can be cast into ingots or minted into coins.
  • The value of bullion is determined by its mass and purity.
  • The level of purity of precious metals varies, with three nines (99.9%) purity being common.
  • The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series offers the purest mass-produced bullion coins, reaching up to 99.999% purity.
  • Achieving 100% pure bullion is nearly impossible due to the difficulty of further purifying the metal as impurities diminish.
  • Historically, coins had a certain weight of alloy, with the purity being a local standard.
  • Some bullion coins, like the British Sovereign, do not show the purity or fine-gold weight on the coin but have consistent composition.


  • Many countries mint bullion coins that have a face value as currency but are valued much higher as bullion.
  • The face value of these coins is usually far below their actual bullion value.
  • Bullion coins minted by national governments have numismatic value in addition to their bullion value.
  • Some examples of large bullion coins include the Australian Gold Nugget coin and the 1-tonne gold coin produced by the Perth Mint.
  • China has also minted coins exceeding 8 kilograms of gold in very limited quantities.

Economic Use

  • Gold, silver, and other precious metals are often seen as hedges against inflation and economic downturns.
  • Silver coins are popular with collectors due to their relative affordability and higher value as collectibles.
  • The value of most gold and platinum issues is based on the markets, while silver issues are often valued as collectibles.
  • Precious metals, particularly gold and silver, have been used as currency throughout history.
  • The demand for precious metals is driven by their practical use, as well as their role as investments and stores of value.


  • Aluminium was considered a precious metal until the late 1800s.
  • Despite being abundant in the Earth's crust, extracting pure aluminium from its ores was initially challenging and expensive.
  • The high cost of refining aluminium made it more valuable than gold.
  • The price of aluminium dropped significantly with the advent of commercial electric generation and the Hall-Héroult process.
  • Aluminium is now a commonplace metal with various industrial applications.

Aluminum History, Rarity, and Market Prices

  • Aluminum has a rich history dating back to 1864.
  • The aluminum cap of the Washington Monument is a notable historical monument.
  • The abundance of aluminum in the Earth's crust is measured in mass fraction.
  • Aluminum is abundant in the Earth's crust and is one of the most common metals found.
  • Market prices for aluminum are influenced by various factors and can be obtained from sources like the London Metal Exchange and websites such as Tax Free Gold and Infomine.
  • Gallium, germanium, and indium are examples of modern precious metals with distinct market values.
  • Geological survey data, such as that provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, is crucial for understanding the global aluminum industry and monitoring aluminum resources.

Precious metal Mentions

Precious metal Data Sources

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