Bullion is investment grade precious metal, most usual found in the form of bars, ingots or coins. The term bullion originates from the French 'bouillon’, which was the term for a coin mint. Most commonly, various precious metals make up bullion, such as gold, silver and even platinum.
More unusually, ingots made up of metals such as copper and aluminium for trading has sometimes been referred to as bullion. Many purchasers of bullion are primarily interested in the value of an item of bullion, and intend to invest their money into it.
Precious metal bullion, however, can be considered highly attractive, and is sometimes purchased as a collectable, ornament or gift. A wide range of bullion bars and coins can be found on eBay.
Types of Metals
There are a number of precious metals which are made into bullion, and the type of metal can have a significant impact on the value, properties and availability of bullion.
Silver is one of the most popular and widely available type of bullion, and can incorporate rare, collectable coins, ingots and bullion. Due to the fact that silver is often less valuable than gold or platinum, silver is sometimes overlooked by those looking for an investment.
Silver can also take a great degree of polish, meaning the metal can be polished to a good shine. This makes silver an attractive choice for those looking for a gift, ornament or collectors’ item.
Gold has long been a prized precious metal, and is often the preferred choice of collectors and investors. This is in part due to the position of gold in value between the widely available, but less valuable silver and the difficult to obtain but very high value platinum.
Gold is also popular due to its long tradition as a valuable metal. Many also consider gold to be an attractive metal, making it another popular choice for collector’s who are interested more in the appearance of the metal than the investment value. A variety of bars, ingots and rare and collectable coins can be found in gold bullion.
Platinum bullion is the rarest and most valuable type of bullion. Platinum can often bear an appearance that is similar to silver; with platinum having a white-silver colour. Rare platinum coins can be found, as well as ingots and bars. Platinum bullion can be difficult and highly expensive to obtain, due to the rarity and high value of the item.
A more unusual choice for bullion metal, palladium is sometimes used. Palladium is a rare silver-white metal, and has been commonly used as investment bullion since the 1930’s. France, Canada, and Portugal are among the countries that have issued rare palladium coins, while the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation minted the most of these in the world. A variety of palladium bars and coins can be found.
Bars and Ingots
Bars and ingots are one of the most popular and traditional types of bullion. These are simple bars of precious metal, and often have designs and stamps moulded into the metal, which help to determine characteristics of bullion such as origin, age and authenticity.
Some may also have decorative designs, which can appeal to collectors, while others may have identifying serial numbers or the emblems of national mints.
Key characteristics which can impact the value of bullion in this form include the fineness and grade of the metal and bar. Weight is another key characteristic to note, as it determines the amount of precious metal that is present in the bar or ingot.
Coins are a popular choice among both those buying bullion as an investment, and those who purchase it as a collectable. These coins can have value due to the precious metal they are made of, as well as the rarity of the mint of coin. A number of different kinds of coin are widely available.
Proof coins are highly polished coins, often examples of rare and historical coinage. These are often highly popular collectable items.
Proof coins are also often those made specifically for collectors.
A slabbed coin is one that has been sealed into plastic, protecting the coin inside.
Uncirculated coins are those that have never entered into circulation, and this often means they are among the best condition available. Uncirculated is also sometimes used to refer to coins that do not show any signs of wear.
Many collectors also take into account the region of origin of a coin. Gold and Silver Britannia coins from Britain are popular and widely available, as are the silver, gold and platinum Eagle coins of the United States. Other popular coins include the Maple Leaf of Canada and the Kruggerand of South Africa
Bullion of all types is often designated into a series of grades. Bullion is divided into these grades depending on a number of key factors such as the wear visible on the bullion and the fineness and quality of an item.
Some bullion is classed as almost good. This is the lowest grade on the scale for bars, ingots and coins, and shows that the bullion has sustained a great level of wear. ‘Junk silver’ coins are often included in this category, as they have no value over than the amount of precious metal present in them. It can be hard to discern the origin and age of almost good bars, as much of the legend and design may have become unreadable.
Good bullion is bullion which is in a better condition than almost good items. Bars, ingots and coins in this category are often heavily worn, though the markings which designate the identity and age of an item will often be at least partially visible. This category does not require coins to have full rims.
Very good coins and bars are those which have been worn, but still have clearly visible markings present. Coins are required to have full rims.
Very fine and extremely fine bullion feature only light wear, with all the markings and designs visible.
Uncirculated bullion often feature very few blemishes, and of a high quality. This is also often used to refer to coins which have never entered circulation.
Choice and perfect uncirculated bullion are the highest grades of bullion available, and can be hard to obtain. Choice bullion will feature few light blemishes, while perfect uncirculated bullion is free of any blemishes or imperfections.
Bullions as Gifts
Bullion of many different kinds is often a popular choice for gifts. Coins, bars and ingots engraved with birthday wishes are a popular choice, and can feature a wide range of designs and messages. Another widely popular type of bullion gift are Valentine gifts which can feature messages and designs, such as flowers and hearts.
Commemorative anniversary ingots and coins are another popular choice, and bullion can be found with designs that commemorate events including royal weddings, conflicts and other significant historical events.
Other popular choices for gifts include coins which feature designs based on classic and popular cartoon characters, while collections of rare and historical coins and other bullion are also popular choices. A wide range of different types of bullion suitable for gifts is available, and items made for gifts can feature a variety of unusual and interesting designs.
How to Buy Bullion on eBay
A wide variety of bullion is available on eBay, including coins, ingots and bars of a variety of different metals. The full listing of currently available bullion can be found in the Collectables & Antiques category. Bullion can be found in the Bullion/Bars section, under Coins. Items can be categorised by price, condition, and distance to seller, as well as by bullion type, metal type and the region of origin. It is also possible to sort available items between the Auction and Buy it Now buying options, which offer flexibility in how bullion can be purchased.
Key information about bullion, such as the fineness and condition of an item, is often prominently displayed in the item listings, making it easy to quickly identify if an item meets any specific requirements. Further, more detailed information about an item is available on the item page, where information about the seller such as item reviews and feedback ratings can also be found. This helps to ensure that a purchase can be made with confidence. If any more information about an item is required, it is also possible on this page to ask the seller a question regarding the item.
If a specific bar, ingot or coin is required, it may be easier and more effective to make use of the search function available at the top of every page. Searches can be made within specific categories, or to return results from the entire site. Further information on effective use of the search function can be found on the Search Tips page.
A wide variety of bullion is available, ranging from bars, coins and different types. Also, the type of bullion available ranges from gold, silver, platinum and palladium to give the buyer a wide variety of choices.
Whether buyers are looking for bars and ingots to invest in, or rare collectable coins, all kinds of bullion can be found on eBay.