Platinum & Palladium: Historical Prices Into 2015

Platinum & Palladium: Historical Prices Into 2015

Precious Metals Background

Platinum and Palladium are two of the six metals that comprise the Platinum Group Metals. The other four metals are ruthenium, rhodiumosmium and iridium. All six have similar physical and chemical properties.  Platinum, though officially discovered in the 18th century, has been found in Egyptian ceremonial jewelry crafted before the 16th century. For many applications, the metal is actually preferred over gold due to its density and durability. It is also far more rare than gold with only approximately 200 million ounces of the metal currently above ground in comparison to the more than an estimated 5 billion ounces of mined gold. And though there was a reported surplus of Platinum during the last two decades of the 20th century, it is now considered scarce. Palladium is 15 times more rare than platinum. The metal was discovered in South American crude platinum ore in 1803 by Englishman William Hyde Wollaston. Nearly 70 percent of palladium mine annually is used in the automotive industry in catalytic converters. Palladium is also used in a number of electronic applications as well as in a new form of composite metallic glass. Forty percent of it is mined from one source in Russia.

Platinum Historical Prices

Platinum has historically traded at a higher price than gold. Platinum spot prices began a steady rise in the early part of this century, peaking in early 2008 at a high of $2,100 per troy ounce. Though that peak took a sharp downward swing during the recession that followed, prices began to increase again in late 2008. The forecast for platinum into the coming new year places the metal at about $1,500 an ounce.

Palladium Historical Prices

Physical demand for palladium drove prices sky-high in the early part of this century. Given the auto industry's demand for it, palladium commanded $1,100 per ounce. The forecast for palladium into the new year sets it at nearly $800 an ounce.  

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Best Value for Platinum and Palladium

When buying platinum bullion, the government-sponsored American Platinum Eagle and the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf are wise investment choices. The coins are legal tender and their content and purity are certified if bought directly from a mint. When seeking platinum bars, look for those that feature certifications for weight and purity. Most 10-ounce bars are 99.95 percent pure. One of the more popular choices in palladium bullion is the Canadian Maple Leafs issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. These are one-ounce coins valued at 50 Canadian dollars. And the weight, purity, and face value of each coin is guaranteed by the Canadian government. A more valuable version is the palladium Maple Leaf 1 oz Common Date coin, valued at under $1000. When buying palladium bars, as with platinum bars, it is crucial that buyers seek those with the refiner's mark to ensure weight and purity. These bars are transportable and easy to store and trade.