Monday, August 11, 2014

Lunar Maa-aadness with 2015 Year of the Goat Coins

The Year of the Goat (Sheep / Ram) doesn't start until February 19, 2015, but that hasn't stopped investors and collectors alike from bleating for the next lineup of lunar themed coins. Mints the world over have taken heed and are already starting to show off or release their 2015 lunar goat coins.

Many of the releases we've seen so far I have covered on Silver Lunar and this post attempts to catch up readers of Bullion Baron who don't follow my other site. 

As was the case last year, the first major lunar coin to be unveiled and released into the hands of collectors was the Treasures of Oz 'Tokelau Lunar Family Series'. This is the third coin in the series, with the bullion version of the coin having a 50,000 piece mintage and reverse-proof finish (shiny image, matte background). A proof version was also released with a mintage of 2,500, another 1,000 in both gilded and coloured varieties and 2,000 with an antique finish (a finish type which has become popular in Europe and recently used by Perth Mint in their 'Gods of Olympus' coin series). The below image is a screen capture of both the bullion and proof coins via a very cool video from YouTube's 'dee silver' (which also shows off the earlier Tokelau lunar releases):

Tokelau Lunar Family Series - 2015 Year of the Goat - Bullion and Proof 1oz Silver Coins

Shortly after the Tokelau coin I spotted a sneak peek of the magnificent 'Niue 2015 $8 Lunar Goat Gold Plated 5oz Silver Proof' coin which has now been released by Downies. The coin is struck by PAMP, has a mintage of only 500 coins and has been received well by lunar collectors. Recent sales of the previous coin (Niue 2014 $8 Lunar Horse Gold Plated 5oz Silver Proof) on secondary markets show a healthy premium (selling between $1000-1500, double to triple release price). There's a good chance that the impressive design and low mintage will see the second coin in this series at least hold value at purchase price or perhaps even increase over time as the first has.

Niue 2015 $8 Lunar Goat Gold Plated 5oz Silver Proof Coin

Another set of coins which has just been released is that from the Royal Canadian Mint, who've labelled their series with 'Year of the Sheep' (Sheep, Goat or Ram are all fine to use). They've added a couple of new coins to their lunar line-up including a 23 gram Silver coloured coin and a 1/10oz Gold coin which adds an affordable price point for those seeking to collect Gold lunar coins. It's hard to recommend the Royal Canadian Mint lunar coins for investment as I haven't seen any noticeable appreciation in value past their purchase price. I think the several designs each year, changes to mintage numbers and addition of coins probably make it a difficult set for collectors to appreciate. I think some consistency here would be key to making the series more successful. However, if you like some of the designs and don't mind paying the premium, then it shouldn't stop you buying those coins you wish to buy and hold onto.

Royal Canadian Mint 2015 Year of the Sheep Coins

The Singapore Mint has released images, specifications and pricing of their 2015 Macau Lunar Goat Coins. The Silver coins in particular have proved so popular in the past that they are now sold by ballot. Their Gold and Silver coins both share the same image, but the colours and size differ between the three coins. The Singapore Mint is likely to produce other lunar coins and medallions for the Year of the Goat as they did for the Year of the Horse.

2015 Macau Lunar Goat Coins

There have been other less significant releases '2015 Plenty Year of the Goat - Niue Island' Coin which is in the shape of a goats head and the 'Goat Five Elements Lunar Year 1 Oz Silver Coin $2 Tokelau 2015'. They are ok for collectors who like the design, but aren't likely to attract significant interest from investors.

This brings us to those lunar goat coins which are yet to be released and there are still many more to come. They include a line-up of lunar coins (and bars) from the People's Bank of China, New Zealand Mint, PAMP, Royal Australian Mint and of course The Perth Mint.

The Perth Mint Australia
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While Perth Mint wasn't the first to market with a range of coins offering lunar designs, their success in recent years has arguably been what led to a much larger number of mints trying their hand at a lunar series of coins and/or bars.

The Perth Mint's next lunar coin releases will come on September 1st for the bullion series and the numsimatic coins (such as proof releases) start on September 2nd (with a variety of different types and releases being staggered over the following year). The embargo comes off the design in around 24 hours (August 13th). I have seen the new designs, here are some preview descriptions and thoughts in advance of their release to the general public:

Perth Mint 2015 Silver Lunar Goat Design: The design follows the styling cues of the 2014 Lunar Horse Coin with the leaves and branches of a tree bordering the top left hand side of the coin. There are some grass patches. There are 3 goats pictured all with long hair, two have their heads up and one has it's head down presumably eating some grass. Overall I think it's a solid design, I prefer it over the Perth Mint's 2003 Silver Goat Coin. Animal hair can be one of the most difficult elements to capture in a coin and it will be difficult to tell how well Perth Mint have done with this coin until seen in the flesh, but certainly the computer generated images give the indication they've done well to portray the long hair.

Perth Mint 2015 Gold Lunar Goat Design: This design illustrates a shorter haired mountain goat atop a rocky landscape with mountains in the background. The rocky foreground is quite detailed with the mountainous background pictured in a much simpler form. I think the backdrop on this coin lets down the design somewhat, I would have preferred to see detailed mountains as we saw on the Perth Mint's Gold Lunar Horse Coins last year. Overall I still think it's a good design and prefer it over the Perth Mint 2003 Gold Goat Coin.

From an investment perspective my thoughts haven't changed since I wrote in an article last year 'Lunar Horse Coins Are Bolting Out Of The Stable':
Many of the ‘modern numismatic’ lunar coin releases will set you back a very high premium over the content of the metal in the coin, for example most 1oz releases will set you back circa $100 which is currently a 400% premium to spot price, so the value of the coin will move in line with demand for that specific coin (rather than track the price of silver). Bullion lunar coins are sold on release with much lower premiums (usually around $5-10 over spot, 25-50% based on current spot price) and will more closely track the price of Silver, but can also achieve high premiums over time depending on the demand for the coin (for example the 2010 1oz silver bullion tiger from Perth Mint was widely available for $10 over spot per coin when released, but now commands a premium of $40 over spot). Some modern numismatic coins will hold their value or even increase over time, but the majority are unlikely to and in this writers opinion investors are best sticking with popular bullion lunar coins.

Of the lunar coins we can expect released over the next 12 months, it’s my opinion that the 1oz silver bullion lunar coin from Perth Mint is the best coin to purchase for those seeking a financial return (for investment). They have a low maximum mintage, an aesthetically pleasing design, a quality finish, are individually capsuled for protection, come with legal tender status from world renowned Perth Mint, are priced as bullion coins on release and are sought after by coin investors and collectors all over the world. If you expect the price of silver to continue appreciating over the long term, then they are a great option for exposure to the spot price, but come with the potential for a numismatic premium once sold out at the Perth Mint.
Both Silver and Gold have taken a beating the last few years, with the price of Silver currently around 60% lower than the early 2011 peak and Gold off 32%, but in comparison 1oz bullion lunar coins from Perth Mint have held up much better than other 1oz coins that track the spot price more closely. For example the 2012 1oz Silver Dragon sold at Perth Mint (available only for a brief time as it was a popular release) for A$48 on release, spot price was A$38. Spot price has dropped by around 43% to $21.50, but the 1oz Silver Dragons can be sold for around $40 by the roll (16% fall from release) or higher individually.

If you do plan to buy as a collectors item, then forget about what the price might do on the secondary market and buy what you like the looks of. If you are buying for investment then as I said in a post last year 'Don't Pay Too Much For 2014 Perth Mint Lunar Coins'.


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