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The Gold Kiwi Sets Another Standard in Gold Bullion Coins

Since 1967, New Zealand has been minting gold proof coins for collectors. However, when the 1-ounce, investment-grade gold Kiwi bullion coin was introduced in investors buying gold bullion began snapping them up. One of the very first coins issued at .9999 fineness, the coins range in face value from $1 to $150. As with all gold bullion investments, the value of the gold coins themselves far exceed their face value.

The obverse design of the popular coin features what the renowned wildlife artist Rick Lewis calls “the proud kiwi” in full-length profile. The Kiwi itself is New Zealand's iconic and flightless national bird. On the reverse of gold Kiwi coin is a map of New Zealand with the stars of the Southern Cross constellation superimposed with the traditional Maori name for the islands, Aotearoa, across the top – the phrase loosely translates to mean “land of the long white cloud.”

The New Zealand Mint also produces gold coins in several other denominations in sizes as small as 1/25-ounce allowing even allowing customers of very modest means to get involved with gold bullion investing. They also mint and sell significant numbers of silver bullion Kiwis and Fern coins.

Other 99.99% pure gold bullion coins include commemorative coins from the Chronicles of Narnia, the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the HMS Bounty, the 90th anniversary of AnZac Day. In 22-karat gold, a small numismatic release of a Pukaki gold coin has also recently been minted. Unlike the gold Kiwi coins that are meant for those exclusively buying gold bullion as an investment, these coins often are sold at a premium over the spot price of gold in excess of that commonly charged for gold Kiwis.

The New Zealand mint has been producing gold coins from its Auckland location since the 1960s. The Kiwis, like the American Buffalo coins introduced much later, are the standard issue bullion coin offered to investors. In addition to the many gold coins that are produced there in .9999 fine 24-k gold, bars are also produced for the serious investor buying gold bullion.

The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) announced in mid-February of 2009 that it would begin grading coins issued by the New Zealand Mint. This agreement covers both gold Kiwi and other commemorative coins, and the program, very similar to the also very recent and innovative arrangement with the Polish Mint, is designed to encourage interest in the “secondary coin market.”

The PGCS will rate the coins and certify New Zealand mist issue coins according to the same standards of certification and grading that they've applied to tens of thousands of US coins since 1948. However, they will not be issuing population reports as is done with coins of domestic issue. Turnaround times to have an international coin graded by the PGCS may take as long as two months, so collectors who send their coins in to be certified will simply have to be patient.

However, for some of the older, proof versions of the gold Kiwi, this may add extra value to a gold coin that is already worth a lot given the high spot price of gold at the end of February 2009. Investors buying gold bullion sourced from the New Zealand Mint will immediately recognize the value of buying certified gold coins, especially when conducting remote transactions that require something to legitimize them.

Article Archive

Linda Hess

March 26, 2009


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