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A number of precious metals’ investors have looked for a way to diversify their precious metals gold and silver holdings over the years. Buying palladium bullion is an ideal choice for this as its bullion and coins’ prices move somewhat independently of big brother gold. This metal is silvery white in color and considered to be a part of the PGM Platinum Group Metals. Rarer than gold and silver, investors find it an attractive alternative to gold and seek to gain from its comparative scarcity.

Palladium was only discovered back in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston. It has much in common with platinum, ruthenium, rhodium, osmium, and iridium. With a lower melting point than its PGM peers, palladium is also less dense.

The known deposits of palladium prove to be extremely rare in the world today. The biggest such findings are located down in South Africa in the Transvaal Basin and also in Russia in the Norilsk Complex. North America has secondary palladium deposits found in Montana, USA at Stillwater Complex and in Ontario, Canada in the Thunder Bay District.

The History of Palladium Metal

Discoverer of palladium William Wollaston also found rhodium. He named palladium for the Pallas Asteroid that had been discovered earlier that selfsame year. Palladium had been known to ancient man as it has been unearthed on Ancient World artifacts from the Egyptian kingdom, though it may have been utilized as silver in a case of mistaken identity.

Ironically, the Spanish Conquistadores knew about platinum and palladium and hated them. In their period of conquests and treasure hunting, they were looking mostly for gold and secondarily for silver. They labeled the two PGM metals as “nuisance metals” because their large grains stuck to gold ore and could be stubbornly difficult to separate. Their word “platina” in Spanish proved to be a disparaging word that translates to “little silver.” Yet despite this, both jewelry and utensils made from palladium have been found from these centuries of the early modern age.

Wollaston was the first to truly appreciate palladium as he discovered these metals officially in 1805. Because of his astounding accomplishments in identifying the new class of metals, the Geological Society of London designed the highest award they would subsequently give out and named it in his honor as the Wollaston Medal.

Palladium’s Industrial Applications

Palladium is different from platinum in a key way. It turns out to be softer than its sister metal platinum. This means that it resists both corrosion and oxidation when subjected to higher temperatures. It serves ideally in the capacity of catalytic converters because of these unique properties.

The greatest share of palladium industrially goes to the auto manufacturing industry because of this. GM even lost over a billion dollars back in 2001 because of the precious metal. As Russian palladium supplies had been delayed for the year 2000, the prices soared to over $1,100 for each ounce. GM felt it had no choice but to purchase any stockpiles it could acquire at the higher prices to avoid a shortage. The prices then returned to normalcy the following year, causing GM to take a severe financial hit on its acquired stockpiles.

Palladium has a secondary industrial application in electronics in integrated circuit boards, plating, and capacitors. For jewelry uses, the metal is combined with other metals to create white gold. When alloyed with sister metal platinum, palladium’s functional properties become still more practical and improved.

Polyester cannot be made without palladium. Palladium has become a subject of intense testing in the medical fields in recent years. It offers potential treatments for both breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Research is ongoing for the potential utilization of palladium in fuel cells technology.

Palladium Bullion Forms

The traits of palladium serve ideally for striking coins from the comparatively rare precious metal. The problem is that national mints from the major bullion producing countries of the world have not seen it this way. Their actual issues are few and far between, only adding to the rarity appeal of the metal.

In the year 1967, the South Pacific nation of Tonga first struck such palladium coins to commemorate the coronation of the nation’s new king. During the years 1987 to 1990, Portugal struck proof coins in palladium. In 1987, France also decided to strike 100 franc palladium coins. Over past years, the ever-popular Royal Canadian Mint has issued a palladium variation on its long-lasting flagship Maple Leaf bullion coins.

Russia elected to strike a highly limited palladium bullion coin, the beautiful Ballerinas, from 1989 to 1995, named for the talented dancers who graced the obverse of these pieces. Throughout the years of 1995 to 1997, Australia’s Perth Mint struck its own series of palladium bullion pieces called the Emu coins. As the price for palladium doubled in 1998, they stopped production of the coins. Finally, the Republic of Slovak struck their own unique-looking palladium coin which was pentagon shaped in honor of their acceptance to the European Union that year.

Availability of Palladium Bullion

Fortunately for investors with an interest in palladium, both China and the United States are working on meeting the consistently rising demand for this palladium as an investment. In past years, China issued its “Kissing Panda” series of collectible palladium coins, and now the ICBC is releasing its own palladium medallions which are investment grade since 2012. Congress also ordered the U.S. Mint to start a marketing study for coins in palladium back in 2010. The Mint is generally anticipated to begin issuing the beautiful and popular American Eagle coins in a one ounce version and carrying a face value of $25 before much longer.

In 2017 palladium was the top performing commodity and out performed gold&silver.

Investing in Palladium

The principal advantage to investing in palladium lies in the fact that interested and far-sighted investors can increase their wealth through establishing a physical position in the precious metal. The world’s biggest palladium supplier Russia has steadily reduced its exporting quantities of the metal by 100,000 ounces over the past few years. They intend to inventory a higher amount of the industrial precious metal for their own domestic consumption. Thanks to its myriad of and growing applications in technology and science as compared to its scarcity, its value can easily grow potentially with time.