The History of Platinum Bullion

With the total mined quantity of platinum estimated to fit an American living room, it is no wonder Platinum is rich man’s gold. Platinum is a hypoallergenic metal, with merely 0.005 parts per million available on Earth. We will unravel the history of platinum bullion including its historic value, and reasons for being the best collector’s metal. 

Platinum Bullion

How was Platinum Bullion Named 

Derived from the Spanish Word for ‘Little Silver’ or platina, platinum is one of the rarest precious metals on Earth. 

Origin and Sources of Platinum Bullion 

A rare metal with the ISO Code of XPT, 80% of World’s Platinum Bullion is mined from South Africa. Additionally, the sources of platinum around the world are Russia, Canada, India and U.S.A. 

Hardness of Platinum 

With 3.5 on the MOHS, Platinum Bullion is a durable metal with high resistance to corrosion. 

Platinum Ore

History of Platinum Bullion

When a metal is mined or available in a bar, it is referred as a bullion. Platinum bullion has seen a long stretch of history since its discovery in the 18th century. Moreover, Platinum is hailed as the most precious metal when compared with other metals!

Learn all about the Platinum metal history in three parts below. 

  • Platinum History Before 700 B.C 

Platinum was a part of the ancient cultures, even though it was christened in the 19th century. While archaeologists found platinum engraved casket of Thebes in Egyptian Tombs, geologists found nose rings and necklaces from the ceremonies of Incas made of platinum alloys. Moreover, archaeologists found platinum with gold in the tomb of the daughter of Thebes.

  • History of Platinum Bullion Until 19th Century 

Platinum was lost to the world history for thousands of years, even though it was used in jewelry making by the American Indians.

17th Century History of Platinum Bullion

Platinum bullion reappeared in the history after 2 millennia when the Spanish explorers found the New World. It was in the 15th and 16th century that the Spanish Conquistadors discovered platinum while mining for Gold in Columbia. Moreover, they rejected the precious metal and threw it back into the rivers of Ecuador to ripen into Gold. 

18th Century History of Platinum Bullion

Antonio Ulloa is the discoverer of Platinum because he was the first Spaniard to bring it back home in 1746. Once melted in 1751, platinum began to pique the interest of international investors. In addition, the white metal became popular when the Goldsmith of Louis XVI used it in cutlery and button making.

19th Century History of Platinum Bullion 

When Columbia stopped selling Platinum Bullion in 1820, the platinum investors ran into a hiccup. After two years, when platinum was discovered in the Ural Mountains, the Russian government made the most use of it. Russia produced 500,000 ounces of Platinum. They used it as Rubles to prove platinum as a precious metal like gold, to the world.  

It was Louis Cartier who made the first Platinum jewelry in the world. He was proclaimed as the ‘king of jewelers’ by King Edwards of England. 

  • 20th Century Platinum Bullion 

20th Century saw the discovery of the biggest Platinum Bullion Reserve in the world. This put an end to the platinum scarcity around the world!

Rise of Platinum in the Early 1900s 

By the 20th century, platinum was an equally precious metal as gold. However, as platinum bullion was rarer than rare, the ores kept depleting with the rising demand. 

In 1924, German-South African Geologist Hans Merensky discovered platinum in a river in Johannesburg. Hence, the Platinum discovery in South Africa changed the face of platinum in the jewelry industry. Currently exporting 80% of World’s Platinum, South Africa is the biggest source of platinum in the world. 

Rise of Platinum in the Mid 1950s

After the Arab Oil Embargo in 1975, price per troy ounce of Platinum spiked in the international precious metal market. A few years later, the Japanese bullion mogul, Tanaka Kogyo released small platinum bars for investors. 

Rise of Platinum in the Late 1900s

In the late 20th century, platinum bullion investing ideas spread to the rest of the world including Europe and America. In 1983, The Isle of Man released the noble platinum bullion coin. By the end of 1990, Australia (The Koala) and Canada (The Maple Leaf) introduced platinum coins as legal tender. Subsequently, Russia released Ballerina platinum proof coin and China released Panda Platinum coins.

In 1997, America introduced the investment-grade platinum coin called American Eagle, leading to the start of legal platinum investment markets. 

Uses of Platinum 

Platinum production in the 21st century has triggered the application and use of platinum in many industries. Statistics say it takes five months and ten tone ores to create one ounce of Platinum Bullion. As a result, 200 tons of platinum is produced annually. 

  1. Jewelry 

According to statistics, 34% of world’s platinum production goes to jewelry making. In short, 74.7 tons of platinum is used annually for platinum jewelry around the world.

Platinum Jewelry

  1. Oil 

Catalytic property of platinum bullion also makes it excellent to derive gasoline from crude oil. Platinum used in refinery and petroleum accounts for 9.2% or 20.0 tonnes per year

  1. Autocatalysts 

Used as catalytic converters for vehicles, 50% or 98 tons of world’s platinum bullion go to autocatalysts. 

  1. Electronic 

Up to 6 tones or 2.7% platinum bullion is also used in electronics to create computer hard disks. Platinum is ideal for making computer storage as it betters the magnetic properties of the disk too. 

History of Platinum Value and Price in the Past Five Years

Platinum was a useless byproduct of gold mines for the Spaniards a few centuries ago and today it has turned into legal platinum bullion coins and bars. Price Charts History of Platinum bullion below shows how stable and durable investment in platinum is.

The price of platinum rocketed from $300 in ‘98 to $2000 per ounce within ten years of being introduced. 

With more ores of platinum found, the current market price of platinum per troy ounce is $1012 per ounce or $32,541 per kg of Platinum.

Facts about Platinum for Collectors

Being a rare metal, platinum is an amazing addition to any collection. The silver metal has a value higher than gold or silver. Bullion coins and bars of Platinum are the most popular investments for collectors in 2018.

  1. Platinum can prevent melting in fire and was hence, called the Noble Metal at first by Julius Caesar Scaliger.
  2. Excellent for making diamond jewelry, Platinum is 6 times denser than diamond and more durable than gold. 
  3. One kilogram is measured using a platinum-iridium cylinder. It was distributed to different countries in the late 19th century. 
  4. Up to 50% anti-cancer drugs contain platinum, due to its low reactivity and ability to prevent the growth of tumors. 
  5. When combined with Cobalt, Platinum Bullion becomes a permanent magnet, ideal for medical instruments and motors. 

In a Nutshell … 

In history, Gold has a vibrant past while Platinum has a mixed past with traces found even on the moon. Platinum is a noble metal choice for precious metal bar collectors. Being stable in the international market as a precious metal, investment options in Platinum Bullion are many. 

Buy exclusive Collector’s edition Platinum Bullion Bars RIGHT AWAY!