Rhodium-plated Silver Coins
There are always trends that emerge in an industry and the minting of precious metal coins is no exception. These could be new production methods (such as those that make the production of holographic coins possible) or new types of products that suddenly become popular. One such growing trend in the precious metal industry seems to be the production of rhodium-plated silver coins.
The Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) seems to be a forerunner regarding this trend and two such collectible coin offerings (both of them matte proof coins that were minted out of 99.99% pure silver and partially plated with black rhodium) sold out very quickly after going on sale recently. In 2020, the RCM issued 5,000 such collectible rhodium-plated silver coins that bear its iconic maple leaf design on their reverse side. What’s more, the design is incused (sunk into) into the surface of the 1 oz coins and the same applies to the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on their obverse side.
Another rhodium-plated silver coin was just released by the Royal Canadian Mint this month and its entire mintage of 7,500 coins sold out very quickly. That is perhaps not so surprising since dinosaurs are the topic of the coin, another niche that is very popular with collectors. The reverse side of the “Discovering Dinosaurs: Reaper of Death” 1 oz silver coin depicts the fossilized skull of the tyrannosaur species Thanatotheristes degrootorum. The black rhodium plating not only makes the coin look stunning but it also protects the silver from oxidation. (Rhodium is actually a white metal naturally, so an ink dye has been used that binds to the metal and this is what turns the metal black.)
Even though I was unable to find out with any certainty when the first-ever rhodium-plated silver coins were issued, it seems certain that this type of collectible coin will become even more popular in the future. Already now, rhodium-plated silver coins are being issued by mints that can not be considered major players in the collectible precious metal coin market. The National Bank of Ukraine for example issued the “Archangel Michael – Saint Wondering the Night” rhodium plated silver coins already back in 2015 and the African country of Benin just issued these 1 kg silver coins last year that are plated in white rhodium!