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International Precious Metals

We help people invest in precious metals the right way

  • Edmund C. Moy’s Signature Coin

    Edmund C. Moy is the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint and one of the leading rare coin experts alive today. He is a published author and frequent media correspondent on economic policy, with a focus on currency and precious metals. Moy’s book, American Gold and Platinum Eagles, is one of the pre-eminent references for coin collectors today.

    Over the past few years, Moy has been working closely with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), a third-party rare coin certification, where he has an exclusive agreement to individually autograph labels of exceptional coins on behalf of the organization.

    Moy’s Interest in Coin Collecting & the U.S. Mint

    Coin collecting has been a long-time hobby of Moy, where his interest was first sparked when he worked the cash register of his parent’s Chinese-American restaurant in Waukesha, Wisconsin. His childhood dream was fulfilled when he was appointed the Director of the U.S. Mint, where he led one of the world’s largest manufactures of coins and medals.

    During his tenure as the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint, Moy made huge strides in the performance of the Mint where he grew revenue by over 200% and greatly expanded the bullion coin division of the U.S. Mint. Under his instruction, the U.S. Mint’s bullion coin production grew from a total revenue of $536 million to $2.8 billion over five years – an increase of over 422%.

    In addition, Moy also experimented with new coins after the successful release of 20th Anniversary Silver and Gold eagles –such as the Presidential Dollar and America is Beautiful quarters, which resulted in a huge surge of interest in rare coin collecting.

    Achievements Outside of the U.S. Mint

    Edmund Moy’s private sector achievements are also considerable and spread across many different industries. His initial focus was in healthcare, which is where he spent the first two decades of his career. Gradually, he began to build out his expertise in strategy and management consulting after a series of exceptional management.

    Moy’s talent was tapped by the U.S. government multiple times, where he helped streamline the state of Wisconsin’s Medicare process, saving $1 billion a year. He also served as a Special Assistant to the President, where he helped fill in key cabinet positions and found the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Today, he continues to grow companies and organizations through his role in many advisory boards.

  • John M. Mercanti Signature Coins

    John M. Mercanti is the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, and is a living legend among the coin collecting world. He is one of the most respected and prolific coin engravers of the modern era. During his 36 year tenure at the U.S. Mint, he was known to be an extremely active coin designer, where he has been attributed to the design of over 100 coins and medals.

    His designs continue to be some of the most recognizable today and can be seen on coins such as the American Silver Eagle and the American Platinum Eagle. Over the past few years, Mercanti has been working closely with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), a third-party rare coin certification, where he has agreed to individually sign labels of exceptional coins as a guaranty of their excellence on behalf of the organization.

    Mercanti’s Prolific Work in Coins and Medals

    Mercanti’s touch can be seen in many coins released over the past 40 years, including coins that rank among some of the most recognized and widely collected today. In the groundbreaking 50 States Quarters Program, he managed the designs for Arkansas, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He has also personally designed eight commemorative coins, including the 1984 Gold Olympic $10, 1991 Mount Rushmore Gold $5, and the 1986 Statue of Liberty Silver $1.

    His work has also been seen in medals, such as the Congressional Gold Medals, 1992 White House Bicentennial Medal, and President George H.W. Bush’s 1989 Inaugural Medal. To recognize his outstanding decades of work, Mercanti was awarded the position of Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, a position that had previously been vacant for over 15 years.

    Publications and Other Accomplishments

    Mercanti’s involvement with numismatics has continued long after he left the U.S. Mint, where he has published critically acclaimed reference book, American Silver Eagles, A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program.

    Mercanti has also been actively involved in the design of coins long after his departure, where he helped the Australian government create the Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle for the Perth Mint. Today, Mercanti works closely with NGC to ensure that all coins he signs are some of the best available today.

  • An Overview of Signature & Certified Coins

    Collecting rare coins can be an extremely rewarding investment, but valuing a coin is a daunting experience for many beginners. Fortunately, the practice of valuing a rare coin is the responsibility of third party grading services. Read More »

  • IPM Secures Prestigious Designation with First American Palladium Eagle Coin

    (October 9, 2017) - International Precious Metals (IPM), a leading provider of rare certified coins and physical precious metals, announced that they have secured an exclusive allocation of signature label 2017 one ounce American Palladium Eagle Bullion coins. This is the first palladium coin ever struck by the United States Mint and is the first new American Eagle Bullion coin to be released in twenty years.

    “This inaugural coin is unprecedented and has many firsts.” said Barry Jepson, President and CEO. “It’s the first $25 denomination on a one ounce coin and it’s the first palladium coin ever minted by the United States. Perhaps the most important ‘first’ is that it’s the first bullion coin struck in a high relief. Striking coins in ‘High Relief’ transforms a simple coin into a work of art. The U.S. Mint normally reserves striking coins in high relief for special releases and to commemorate anniversaries; it’s a process that takes more time and effort to produce and can make minting perfect strikes much more difficult. So, the fact that they stuck this bullion coin in high relief is an important and extremely significant moment in U.S. coin minting history.”

    He added, “With a mintage of only 15,000, to say that the Early Releases designation coins with Edmund Moy’s hand-signed label are special is an understatement. One could argue that the minting techniques and technology that Moy spear headed as the most innovative Mint Director in modern history made it possible for coins like the new American Palladium Eagle in ‘High Relief’ to exist at all. Mr. Moy’s leadership reinvigorated the U.S. Mint and other vital programs like the 24 karat Gold American Buffalo. The 2009 Saint Gaulden’s Ultra High Relief Double Eagle gold coin and many other special release coins were launched during his tenure. It was also under his direction that our American Mint became the world’s largest provider of bullion coins. It’s for all these fascinating reasons that I’m so excited for our company to secure such a prestigious signature allocation. I’m also equally thrilled for our great clientele who now have the opportunity to hold these historically significant pieces.”

    Buy American Palladium Eagle CoinClick to Buy the American Palladium Eagle

    Since 1995, International Precious Metals has grown to become one of the largest and most recognized nationwide dealers of U.S. Mint coins and a leader in rare historic U.S. Gold and Silver. In 2014, IPM made national news by securing and grading all four of the 2014 American Eagle Gold denominations "From Mint Sealed Box #1." It marked the first time in the history of the American Eagle Gold Program that a company acquired and graded all four American Eagle Gold denominations "From Mint Sealed Box #1" at the same time. In June of 2016, IPM made headlines once again by securing extremely limited and exclusive allocations of Edmund. C. Moy signature label coins from Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

    Prior to his celebrated tenure at the U.S. Mint, Edmund Moy served from 2001-2006 at the White House as a Special Assistant to Edmund C Moy Signs Early Releases American Palladium Eagle Coins for International Precious Metals President George W. Bush and is often credited by his colleagues for introducing great technological innovations at the United States Mint.

    NGC is a multinational coin grading service provider based in Sarasota, Fla. and is the world's largest third-party coin grading service.

    The American Palladium Eagle is an official palladium bullion coin of the United States of America. Authorized under the "American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010", it was first released by the United States Mint on September 18th, 2017. All American Eagles are legal tender coins, with their face value imprinted in U.S. dollars. Although their face value is largely symbolic, it provides proof of their authenticity as official U.S. coinage.

  • Cybercrime, Cryptocurrency, & How to Keep Your Money Safe

    Have you ever heard of the saying “harder to break into than Fort Knox?” The phrase means that accomplishing a task is difficult, bordering on the impossible. A huge portion of the US’s past gold reserves were stored at Fort Knox in the past and it was never robbed. Gold is safe to invest and safe to own – it’s been a proven safe haven asset for centuries.

    And, with the backing of the entire financial market, gold ownership is harder to take away than breaking into Fort Knox.

    Solidity of Electronic Gold Ownership

    When it comes to Gold ownership, the three most common methods are: ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds), Gold Futures, and physical ownership. The first two security types are by far the most common:

    1. ETF’s are publicly traded funds whose price is linked to the current value of gold. Anybody can purchase them, and there’s a very clear record of ownership transition that’s backed up by the entirety of the world’s financial institutions.
    2. Gold Futures are similar to ETF’s in that they are electronically traded, but the overlap ends there. Futures are an agreement that an asset will be bought at a specific price at a future date – essentially locking in the price of gold at today’s rate in hopes that you can buy gold tomorrow for cheaper (or sell for higher).
    3. Physical ownership is the riskiest in terms of security, which can be mitigated with holding physical assets in a secure institution and possibly taking out insurance.

    The Bitcoin Wallet “Credit Card”

    There’s a growing argument that crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin or Etherium are equivalent safe haven instruments and extremely safe to own, but that’s not entirely true. While the security of these online currencies are airtight, there can be significant security flaws around the end users.

    The largest cryptocurrency today is Bitcoin, which is stored in individual “Bitcoin wallets.” Bitcoin wallets are tied to individual user logins, which means a savvy hacker with a username and password can instantly gain access to the entirety of your cryptocurrency funds. They can use your bitcoin wallet like a credit card – only that your Bitcoin wallet doesn’t have the billions of dollars invested into fraud protection like credit card companies.

    In other words, your bitcoin wallet can be entirely liquidated if compromised. There’s practically no way to reverse the transaction and no time to react when you realize your Bitcoin wallet is compromised. The cherry on top is that all parties are anonymous, meaning it’s nearly impossible to figure out where your money went. With Gold ETF's or futures, those securities take time to settle, meaning it’s entirely possible to reverse a transaction a day or two after it has been bought or sold, and your brokerage oftentimes

    The Cryptocurrency Grey Area

    But the risks of crypto-currency do not end there. Officially, crypto-currencies are currently drifting about in a grey area – they are not officially recognized by most government institutions and have a stigma of being associated with illegal transactions.

    A huge risk for cryptocurrencies lie with future government regulations – each country and state presents a point of risk as any one of them can introduce new legislation which can greatly affect how cryptocurrencies function within their borders.

    It goes without saying that if a Government were to issue any law even with remotely caustic or regulatory language against these currencies, well, it wouldn't be long until severe market corrections occurred. In other words, Bitcoin would crater.

    It is a possibility that certain countries may mark cryptocurrencies as illegal, such as Saudi Arabia has done – which compromises any individual investor’s ability to hold and trade cryptocurrencies.

    Government Regulation

    Have you heard of government regulation being a threat to precious metal ownership? The answer is no – gold has been around for thousands of years and it still maintains its position as an asset of considerable value. Gold is an invaluable metal used in a number of different industries – it’s used in jewelry, it’s one of the best conductors for electricity on the planet and it’s used in medicine. It’s a multi-functional metal that also happens to be one of the best safe haven investments available.

    Even better, electronic ownership of a gold future or ETF is secure – it’s extremely difficult to take out of your possession and its possible to reverse a liquidation of your assets even after the order has already been placed.

    Gold is the proven Safe Haven Investment

    When it comes to safe haven investments, gold is the safer choice. Less of gold’s price is driven by consumer hype, there’s much less risk of having your positions compromised, and no chance that potential government regulation can radically change the values of your holdings.

    The Incredible Risk of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

    Today, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are still emerging and there is a large cloud of uncertainty hovering block chain currencies, whereas gold has been held as a safe haven asset for centuries. While both security types have been performing very well compared to the S&P 500, gold has been a tried and true safe haven investment for decades whereas cryptocurrency is still not yet proven in the space.

    Furthermore, the risk of cybercrime is far greater with anything connected to electronic wallets. Owning physical coins or bullion will prevent electronic theft, so long as you have a good safe or lockbox.

    As for the value of cryptocurrencies, big Wall Street players have expressed significant concern against cryptocurrencies, with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon coming out strongly against Bitcoin recently:

    “The currency isn’t going to work. You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart."

    “If you were in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a bunch of parts like that, or if you were a drug dealer, a murderer, stuff like that, you are better off doing it in bitcoin than US dollars. So there may be a market for that, but it would be a limited market.”

    Bitcoin was launched in 2008 – meaning it has weathered zero financial crises. Would you choose a risky, unknown instrument or a tried-and-true investment as a safe haven investment?

  • The Impact & Influence of Edmund Moy

    Edmund Moy is a visionary, political leader, businessman, author, and public speaker.

    He has been the director of the U.S. Mint, an advisor to a president, director of the nation’s healthcare systems, key correspondent for various news agencies, and board member of public, private and non-profit boards. Read More »

  • Rare Coin Market: Why are rare coins so popular?

    As the stock market’s bull run continues, investors are looking to find ways to diversify their holdings and the rare coin market has been an answer to many. The popularity of holding on rare coins as investments has skyrocketed, due to the similarity the market shares with vintage items. However, a key difference is that the rare coin market has a rock-solid infrastructure of auctions and graders that keep the market liquid and reliable.

    The allure of the rare coin market

    It’s no secret that the rare coin market is complex. The value of a coin is directly linked to its condition, which is described by a condition or grade. However, as time progresses, the number of coins in excellent condition will inevitably decrease. If an investor were to hold onto a rare and valuable coin in superb condition and keep it safe, then it’s value will rise over time as other similar coins get lost or damaged over time.

    Supply and demand

    A keen investor would recognize that supply and demand are king in the market – and the rare coin market is no exception. More investors are pouring into the rare coin market every day, but the stock of rare coins is not growing at nearly the same rate. Demand is beginning to outstrip supply – finding new coins is not common nor is it easy. However, even without the influx of new blood, the rare coin market has performed exceptionally well.

    The Gold Dollar

    A commonly traded coin is the Gold Dollar coin, which was being minted between 1849 and 1889. The graph above shows how the price for the coin has changed over time for a specific grade the coin – AU55, which stands for “About Uncirculated,” meaning the coin is in very good condition. From 2004 to 2017, it’s clear that the price of this coin has increased dramatically, growing from $180 a coin at auction to almost $380. In percentage terms, that’s over a 110% growth over thirteen years, which beats out S&P 500 performance by a significant margin (~35% vs. 110% growth).

    The more affordable Silver Dollar

    A more affordable coin for investors to try their hand with is the Silver Dollar coin. The graph above outlines the change in price for Silver Dollar coins minted in 2012. It’s clear that the coin had a small dip after it was first released, but the coin displays similar behavior that the Golden Dollar (chart above) had shown when the coin was first released. Over a longer span of time, the coin has jumped from about $76 a coin to over $100, marking a gain of over 30% in value in just four years.  The silver dollar is a prime example of an affordable coin to trade – it’s easy to find at auctions and the entry price isn’t prohibitive.

    The charts above demonstrate that trading rare coins is generally a long term strategy, as the price trend upwards over time. The 2004 Golden Dollar is a discontinued coin, and it’s quite clear that it’s value has steadily appreciated over the past decade.

    Coins of history

    What happens to the value of a coin if it’s no longer being produced, but holds a legendary status for collectors? There exist coins that are so rare that only a handful remain and avid coin collectors are dead-set on adding them to their collection.

    One such example is the Fugio Cent – the first ever penny created by America, and the rarity in mint condition coins means that perfectly preserved specimens will only increase in value over time. In fact, it could be reasoned that these coins will always be a safe investment, as the extremely limited quantity means that it will only ever increase in price as time progresses and other such coins get damaged or lost. By holding a coin as the Fugio cent, the price will steadily increase over years due to the lack of supply, but the ever increasing demand. In fact, there is record of a Fugio Cent coin that sold for $94,000 in March 2015, but was purchased for $35,250 just under two years prior in July 2013 – more than a 165% increase in under two years.

    The Growing Value of the Coin

    Over the past few years, the rare coin market has become recognized as a niche asset class that has performed very well. While initial impressions may make rare coin investing seem like collecting baseball cards, it becomes clear that the rare coin market is much more developed – it possesses a rock-solid infrastructure and has thousands of auctions that make the market more liquid. In addition, the varying price points of rare coins can allow any investor to enter in the market and amass a collection of rare coins that can outperform the S&P 500 year-over-year.

    Nothing in the stock market is guaranteed, but the past performance of rare coins and huge inflow of new investors means that demand is far outstripping supply – and it’s an excellent idea now to join the market before prices rise even more.

  • Why Gold is a Safe Haven Investment

    Gold has always been a compelling financial option– for decades, even centuries, investors have all been attracted to gold bullion as a safe haven investment. The expectation from many investors it that gold prices stay stable or even increase during times of market turmoil, and it turns out that they are right.

    Gold – is it a proven safe haven investment?

    The negative correlation between gold prices and US Stock market performance is the main reason why gold is used to hedge against market downturns. This can be proven by taking a look at the price relationship between Gold and the S&P 500 during the most recent three financial crises.

    What exactly is a safe haven?

    First of all, it is important to realize that a “safe haven” investment is slightly different from a hedge – the definition of a safe haven investment is a position that has no correlation or is negatively correlated with another asset or market in times of turmoil.

    This means that the purpose of maintaining a gold position is to limit losses during times of extreme market stress and/or volatility. (And of course, we know that in the Great Recession of 2008, gold prices went down along with everything else at first).

    Relationship between S&P 500 and Gold during financial crises:

    For context, let’s take a few steps back and take a look at the relationship between Gold prices and the S&P 500 during three of the most recent financial downturns.

    Chart from:

    2008 – 2009 Financial Crisis (Gold vs. S&P 500)

    The most recent financial crisis was in 2008-2009, as shown in the chart above, which shows the relationship between Gold and S&P 500 prices. The beginning of the downturn is marked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 2008, where the S&P 500 had a high point of $1,450.

    Over the next year, the S&P 500 steadily dropped until it hit a low of nearly $685 in March 2009 – a drop of over 50%.

    On the other hand, Gold prices steadily increased during that time frame, jumping from a low of $890 to nearly $1000, an increase of almost 11%. During this time period, gold prices increased when the S&P 500 price dropped, demonstrating the inverse price relationship and reinforcing its status as a safe haven security.

    Chart from:

    Dot Com Crash (Gold vs. S&P 500)

    An even earlier financial crisis was burst of the Dot Com bubble 2000 after years of sustained growth in the technology sector.

    The graph above demonstrates again that gold proves to be an excellent hedge in times of dire financial circumstances – gold prices increased when the S&P 500 price tanked. The S&P 500 dropped from a high of $1,133 on September 1st, 2001 to a low of $975 by middle of September whereas Gold prices rose from $274 to $292 in the same window of time.

    In other words, the S&P 500 dropped nearly 14% when Gold prices rose over 6% in under a month.

    Chart from:

    Early 1990’s Recession (Gold vs. S&P 500)

    Finally, the early 1990’s recession was an 8-month bear market spanning from July 1990 through to March 1991. In this scenario, the S&P 500 slid from a price of almost $370 in July 1990 to $300 in October 1990, the worst point of the recession.

    Gold prices again demonstrated its inverse relationship with the US stock market, as prices jumped from $365 an ounce to over $405 an ounce in the same time period, marking a nearly 19% decrease in S&P 500 prices versus a 10.9% increase in gold prices. In fact, gold peaked at an extremely high $425, representing a 15% increase of gold prices.

    Gold has a proven track record

    Based off of these three examples, it becomes clear that Gold is an excellent safe haven investment. During times of economic downturn, gold has repeatedly demonstrated its inverse price relationship with that of the S&P 500.

    Past performance indicates that investors tend to migrate towards gold when financial crisis began – meaning that the gold price jump is also a result of increased demand – especially valuable if you already have a gold position in your portfolio as a “worst case” scenario type of hedge.

    Looming financial crisis?

    In other words, it is probably a good idea to preemptively buy positions in gold if you suspect that a financial crisis is inbound to minimize any losses – much like you would purchase an insurance policy. After all, you don’t buy insurance on an accident after its already occurred.

    Nothing in the stock market is guaranteed, but past data strongly shows us that gold is a pretty solid and safe haven option to own – especially if you have a position before a financial downturn even begins.

    And, as the market becomes more and more bloated, along with many global threats and crises looming around us, gold continues to stand as a safe haven for our hard earned money.

  • World Gold Reserves: Top Countries, Repatriation, and Risk Mitigation

    After the subprime mortgage crisis and the Eurozone crisis, the importance of mitigating risk has become a prime concern for many nations. One of the growing risk factors is the increasing risk associated with the U.S. dollar – investor’s confidence in the dollar has been shaken by recent events such as the subprime crisis, the fall of Lehman brothers, and actions taken by President Trump.

    Gold Reserves and its role in mitigating risk

    In order to mitigate this risk, many nations have taken to increasing gold reserves to hedge against fluctuations of the dollar. Most notably, there have also been murmurs of concern about keeping gold bullion in the US, which is demonstrated by the growing effort among nations who have repatriated their gold from the US back onto their soil.

    Gold reserves held abroad

    In the past, nations held large gold reserves in times of war and moved large portions to the U.S. in event of invasion. Diversification of location meant that home invasion would not completely deplete the country’s treasury – as they would still have positions they can draw upon abroad.

    This mentality was especially practiced during the Cold War, where countries such as Germany and the Netherlands moved much of their gold holdings to the U.S., France, or the UK. Today, the risk of homeland invasion is no longer present and the growing Eurozone crisis makes it crucial to have a large gold reserve available at home in case of crisis, which has prompted a number of countries to start moving their gold reserves back home.

    Gold reserve vs. foreign reserve

    The easiest method to evaluate the importance a country places on a gold is through the size of their gold reserve compared to their total foreign reserve.

    Foreign reserves are assets held by the country’s central bank, which are used to back liabilities on the country’s own currency, influence monetary policy, and serve as a risk-mitigation factor. Typically, a country’s foreign reserve is composed of foreign government bonds and international currencies (US Dollar, Euro, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, and British Pound Sterling are the most common).

    Today, the definition of foreign reserve has been extended to include IMF Funds and precious metals as well. Some countries put significant emphasis on gold, which can be seen by the percentage gold consists of their foreign reserve.  The countries with the largest gold reserves are the following:

    10. Netherlands

    The Netherlands has a gold reserve of about 557.8 tons, which constitutes a huge 66.5% of their foreign reserve – meaning that the Dutch place enormous importance on gold over international government bonds or foreign currencies. In 2014, the Netherlands has begun repatriating some of its US gold positions, moving a total of 122.5 tons that calendar year.

    9. Japan

    Japan is the world’s third largest economy, but has a surprisingly small gold reserve compared to economies of its size. The country has a gold reserve of 765.2 tons, but the position is only 2.5% of their foreign reserve. Japan’s foreign reserve positions are mainly government bonds of from other countries.

    8. Switzerland

    Much like Japan, Switzerland is another country that doesn’t place heavy emphasis gold. The country maintains a gold reserve of 6%, or about 1040 tons. In 2014, Switzerland attempted a campaign to bring gold back to home soil, but the initiative did not receive enough votes to pass.

    7. Russia

    Russia is a country that has been growing their gold reserves steadily, and owns 1,715.8 tons of gold, equivalent to 17.1% of their foreign reserve. The country has been steadily increase its gold reserve position since 2007, and has more than quadrupled its position since 2007.

    6. China

    China is a bit of a black box when it comes to gold reserves. In 2015, the country released figures for its gold reserve for the first time in six years – 1,658 tons. In 2016, their gold reserve number is quoted to be 1,842 tons – but has not been updated in almost a year. Third party speculators such as  Koos Jansen of estimates China’s gold reserve may be as high as 20,000 tons.

    5. France

    France is the first entry on the list whose gold reserves constitute most of their foreign reserve. 64.9% of the country’s foreign reserve is in gold, about 2,435.9 tons. Much like the U.S., France also stores gold reserves on behalf of other countries, such as Germany.

    4. Italy

    Italy is an interesting entry on the list, as it holds a disproportionately large gold reserve in comparison to the country’s GDP.  Much like France, Italy puts enormous importance on gold, which can be seen in its 2,451.8 tons of gold, constituting 68.5% of its foreign reserve.

    3. International Monetary Fund

    Technically not a country, the IMF is an international organization consisting of 189 member countries with the goal of assisting the global economy by pushing for financial stability, growing international trade and improving the economy of member nations. The fund managed a total of $668 billion as of 2016, and its current gold reserve is 2,814 tons. Read more about their gold reserves here.

    2. Germany

    As world’s fourth largest economy, it makes sense for Germany to hedge its dollar currency risk, which it has done through its large gold reserve of 3.375.6 tons of gold – about 69.6% of its total foreign reserve. In 2013, Germany held 1,500 tons of gold in the US - the country begun a campaign to move gold back to Germany and has moved a total of 743 tons of gold as of August 2017.

    1. United States

    The world’s largest economy has a gold reserve that dwarfs other nations – the United States holds 8,133.5 tons gold, which constitutes the vast majority of the country’s foreign reserve at 75%. In addition, most of western Europe’s foreign gold reserves are held in the U.S but countries have begun the process of moving their gold reserves back to home soil.

  • Joel Iskowitz Signature Coins

    Joel Iskowitz Signature Coins History

    Joel Iskowitz is an accomplished painter and one of the most prolific designers of coins and medals in the U.S. Mint. While his designs for the U.S. Mint only began in 2005, he has already been involved with an astonishing 50 U.S. coin and medals – and that number is growing rapidly. Iskowitz also is one of few people who hold the honor of having his art hang in the Capitol, White House, and Pentagon all at the same time. As an artist, Iskowitz can be defined as an artist who pursues accuracy to an incredible degree and possesses incredible capacity for being able to summarize accomplishments with only a handful of designs. Over the past few months, Iskowitz has been working closely with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), a third-party rare coin certification, where he has agreed to individually sign labels of exceptional coins as a guaranty of their excellence on behalf of the organization.

    Iskowitz’s Meteoric Rise in Coin Design

    Iskowitz’s career in coin design began when he was accepted into the US Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) in 2005, a relatively new program who’s goal is to attract new talent and diversity to the US Mint. While Iskowitz’s tenure in the US Mint has not been long, his designs have spanned across a tremendous number of coins and medals far in excess of the average designer. To date, Iskowitz has over twenty US mint coins, which include four reverses for the America is Beautiful quarter series, five reverses for the American Platinum, four Presidential Dollar obverses, seven commemorative coins, and 11 obverses or reverses for the First Spouse series. Iskowitz also helped design a number of U.S. commemorative coins as well as six recent Congressional Gold Medals. His eye for design was recognized at an international level when he designed the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for British Commonwealth coinage – of which he is the only American to hold the honor.

    Iskowitz’s Coin Design Philosophy

    To the average person, the figures and shapes on coins are almost background noise – it makes it easy to differentiate one coin from another but very few people actually take the time to examine and appreciate the coins themselves. Iskowitz is not the average person. His approach to coin design is astonishingly in-depth, where he seeks to bring the accomplishments of his subject to life in his designs. In order to get a complete understanding of his subject’s achievements and bring to life the narratives surrounding the subject, Iskowitz takes a meticulous, stepped approach to each new design.

    The Coin Design Approach

    Iskowitz has stated that while no project is the same, he takes a similar set of steps to research all aspects of the subject before even starting the design. His first step is to read and understand the legislation that authorizes a new design and the subject it’s focused on. The goal is to see the window from which Congress is viewing the subject, so that he can orient himself so that he designs something in line with their vision. Most importantly, he seeks to understand exactly why the honor is being given to the subject of the design.

    Following that, Iskowitz looks to make a first hand connection with his subject, which often translates into travel to the location of the subject. He talks with people associated with the subject, examines the subject or event in person, and takes meticulous notes about all aspects of the subject. To guarantee authenticity and accuracy, he often visits the National Archives to pour over literature and images. In short, Iskowitz looks to gain a complete and comprehensive understanding of the subject before even beginning his design.

    Iskowitz’s obsession with accuracy is clear when looking at his designs. For him, the artistic touch in the process is when the montage is assembled of all the different parts, but the individual rendering of each design much be perfect. For example, Iskowitz’s process when creating the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal exemplifies his attention to detail. The medal honors the journey of the Friendship 7 capsule along with the astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and John Glenn, and Iskowitz was able to catch everything down to the last detail. He examined mission notes from John Glenn’s mission in order to correctly capture the direction and orientation of the capsule when it was orbiting around earth. His medal received recognition from the acclaimed International Design Awards.

    International Recognition and Painting Excellence

    Due to his impressive design credits for the U.S. Mint, Iskowitz has been spoken publicly about coin design all around the U.S. and on television. His excellence has also been recognized internationally, he has helped design coins and medals around the world and his numismatic artwork is on permanent display in the Smithsonian. Coin design is not the only artistic focus that defined Iskowitz. He is an accomplished painter, where his work has been displayed in major museums around the world, such as the Kennedy Space Center, the Historical Museum of Carentan, France, and the US Air Force Art Collection. Iskowitz’s art has also been requested around the world in the form of stamps, where he has designed more than 2,000 stamps for 40 nations. Iskowitz’s appreciation and passion for coin design becomes clear when looking at a quote from his 2015 lecture at the Museum of American Finance:

    “How fascinating that this art moves among the people, compared to art that’s in a museum where people go and visit. My art visits the people and there’s no telling how it will move around. So it’s really a very vital form of communication. Each coin and medal is a repository of the history of any given culture or era. It’s also an ambassador in a way, because it carries a message and shows a culture’s finest or most moving moments.”

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