Spain issues first legal-tender bullion coin

Spain has become the latest country to issue its own gold bullion coin series.

The Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (officially the National Coin and Stamp Factory but also known as the Royal Mint of Spain) launched the inaugural one-ounce gold coin on Dec. 1. The country’s first legal-tender bullion coin, it features an Iberian lynx as its reverse design and will be annually issued beginning this year. The 37-millimetre coin carries a denomination of 1.5 euros (about $2.15 Cdn.), a reverse proof finish (with a mirrored motif and cameo field) plus a mintage of 12,000 pieces for 2021. It weighs one troy ounce (31.1035 grams) with a purity of 999.9 fine gold.

On the reverse, a lynx head sits alongside the legend “LINCE IBÉRICO” (“IBERIAN LYNX”), ​​the “1,5 / EURO” face value, the 2021 year-date and the crowned “M” as a mint mark, denoting Madrid.

The obverse features the Pillars of Hercules (known as the Columnario del Real de a Ocho), which also graces the historically renowned Spanish dollar (also known as the “piece of eight”), which was the first global currency and circulated around the world for more than 200 years. On the new one-ounce coin’s “Columnario” design, the eastern and western hemispheres stand out with two globes crowned over the sea and the columns of Hercules on each side, in which two ribbons wave with the motto “PLVS VLTRA” (“PLUS ULTRA,” the national motto of Spain, meaning “further beyond” in English). The legends “FELIPE VI REY DE ESPAÑA” (“FELIPE VI KING OF SPAIN,” the country’s current monarch) and “1 ONZA 999.9” (“1 OUNCE 999.9”) complete the obverse.

The coin, which is shipped in a capsule, is being sold through distributors worldwide.

Spain’s rich numismatic history dates back to the 15th century, when silver reals were produced as early as 1497 and in various colonies in the New World until Mexican independence in 1821 and at home until the coin was replaced with the five-peseta coin in 1868. Gold escudos were first minted in 1535 and during their time in circulation until 1833, they were regarded as a primary international currency.

The Royal Canadian Mint began issuing its annual gold bullion coin, the Gold Maple Leaf, in 1979.

GOLD BULLION COINS

The Royal Canadian Mint launched its annual bullion coin, the Gold Maple Leaf, in 1979.

For the preceding nine years, South Africa’s Krugerrand stood as the only ounce-denominated gold bullion coin available to the international market. Launched in mass-produced quantities in 1970, the Krugerrand was met with worldwide success, inspiring other countries to issue their own ounce-denominated bullion coins.

In the 1980s, Mexico followed suit with its Libertad coin in 1981 followed by China’s Panda in 1982. Four years later, the United States issued its first American Eagle, and both Australia and the United Kingdom entered the gold bullion coin market in 1987 with their Australian Nugget (now the Australian Kangaroo) and Britannia coins, respectively. In 1989, Austria launched its Vienna Philharmonic coin to close out the decade. In 1996, Australia launched its Australian Lunar Series, and in 2006, the United States added another gold bullion coin with its American Buffalo.

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