Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Rare Japanese Gold Coin Auction

Japan plans to sell 32,681 rare gold coins worth "several billion yen" weighing 225 kg. and dating back to 1871, mostly through auctions, the Japanese Ministry of Finance said on Friday.

Under a plan announced last September, a panel of experts has appraised the quality of the gold coins and the ministry now plans to hold auctions, both conventional floor auctions and Internet auctions, in the coming three years, a ministry official said.

The gold coins to be auctioned include many that are very rare. Including, 20 yen gold coins from 1932 which are so rare that their prices are not listed in catalogues for collectors, and the ministry is selling 60 of them in "unused" condition and eight of in "extremely good" condition.

"By sealing them into the cases, we want to differentiate them from coins that are already traded in the market," the official said.

The first floor auction for the rare gold coins will be held this autumn. Details will be announced on the Japanese Finance Ministry's website (www.mof.go.jp) about a month in advance, and bids by mail will be accepted.

The more valuable rare gold coins, about one third of the total, will be sold through the floor auctions. The lesser-quality gold coins will be sold through Internet auctions, the first one will be held before March 2006.

24 karat American Eagle Coins

The U.S. Mint plans to start minting the first 24-karat gold bullion coin in U.S. history.

The Mint announced on Tuesday that plans to start selling a new gold coin by early 2006. The hope to make it the best selling gold coin in the world.

It would sell at prices far above face value, keyed to the world price of gold.

International Investors prefer pure gold coins such as those made in China, Singapore, Australia, Austria, Canada and Mexico. Pure gold coins make up 60% of global gold coin sales.

I have heard recently that Chinese are actually taking holidays to Perth Australia to visit the Perth Mint and buy 99.99% pure Australian Gold Coins. The Australian Lunar Gold Coin Series is particularly popular with Chinese. The year of the Dragon gold coin being the most popular and apparently stocks of the Lunar year of the Dragon gold coin are the lowest of all the Australian Lunar Gold Coins available.

The U.S. Mint estimates the potential global market for 24-karat gold coins at $2.4 billion U.S. Dollars per year.

"We are the No. 1 seller in the world for 22-karat gold, silver and platinum coins and we hope to become the No. 1 seller in the world for 24-karat gold coins," Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore said.

Holsman Fore said no theme has yet been selected for the new 24-karat American Eagle coins but possibilities include liberty, freedom, independence or an early American historical image, such as the Liberty Bell.