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Royal Canadian Mint Introduces Palladium Maple Leaf Coins

The Royal Canadian Mint has begun striking legal tender palladium coins for the first time. Precious metals investors who like palladium should go with the new Palladium Maple Leaf coins instead of the Credit Suisse 1-oz palladium bars and the PAMP 1-oz palladium bars.

Palladium Maple Leafs are being offered at lower premiums that the Credit Suisse and the PAMP bars, and because the Palladium Maple Leafs are legal tender coins they could pick up collector premiums. Additionally, the first run of Palladium Maple Leafs will be dated 2005 and limited to 40,000 coins, which will probably turn out to be a small mintage compared with the years during which the coins will be minted for twelve months.

Only one size of Palladium Maple Leaf coins will be minted: a one ounce coin with a legal tender value of $50. The coins will be 99.95% pure, which is standard for palladium investment products, including the Credit Suisse and the PAMP 1-oz bars.

Palladium Maple Leaf coins will be individually sealed in thermatron, in strips of ten coins. The new coins are the only legal tender palladium bullion coins being minted by a major government mint.

However, buyers looking for Palladium Maple Leafs to pick up collector premiums need to be aware that there is not a good history of palladium coins appealing to collectors. Yet before the first shipment of Palladium Maple Leaf coins was made, one major wholesaler had already sold most of its allotment.

Palladium is a member of a six-metal group called the Platinum Group Metals and is a by-product of platinum and nickel mining. Because palladium has similar chemical characteristics to platinum, it is often used as a substitute for the higher-price platinum.

The primary demand for palladium is the manufacture of catalytic converters for auto emissions control. Other uses include electronics, dental, chemical, and jewelry. The palladium market is relatively small compared with the markets for gold, silver, and platinum—the best-known and most popular precious metals investments.

Investors who like palladium should move quickly to get a position in 2005-dated Palladium Maple Leafs. Because the coins are being offered at lower premiums than the Credit Suisse and the PAMP bars, Palladium Maple Leafs coins will become popular with palladium investors, and they stand a chance of picking up collector premiums.