30 October 2011

What the 1 tonne coin tells us about the gold bubble (not)

All weekend I've been getting heaps of google alerts about the 1 tonne coin, over 90 at last count. Interestingly they have all been mainstream media outlets picking up on the few source Australian media reports about it but next to nothing from the gold bloggers. You'd think such a story would get more coverage within the gold community than mainstream. The fact that it hasn't is starting to cement a view I've had for a while that the gold bloggers treat the Perth Mint like the mainstream media treats Ron Paul - don't give em any publicity, unless it is negative.

Anyway, ignoring that paranoid diversion, I've been particularly interested in the comments left to the mainstream media outlet articles on the 1 tonne coin. Lots of funny ones like "where can I order it", a few calling it obscene waste of money (to be fair, you can't expect average person to understand the concept of pooled physical backing unallocated) but most importantly the "gold, what a stupid thing to buy" comments outweigh the pro-gold. Secondly, there aren't many of those anti/pro comments anyway. More proof that we are no where near a gold bubble, if we were then I'd expect it to generate more comments about gold as an investment.

I also love this opportunistic website http://1millioncoin.com/ which was up in a couple of days. Whatever you do don't click on any of its ads, we don't want to encourage these people.


  1. Bron,

    Congrats to the Perth Mint on the technical achievement of a one tonne gold coin which will no doubt prove a great promotional tool.

    That said, from my perspective the coin is of no interest to the issue of gold's role in a monetary system, which is a central issue to my blog. If the coin had have been cast with no engraved face value, I would find it more interesting, as I would if The Mint had not have placed a bust of the current British monarch on it.

    What angle of interest do you feel "gold bloggers" have overlooked? How is this more than simply a promotional exercise for The Mint?

    As far as my general position on the Perth Mint goes, The Mint's allocated service is the one I would personally use should I have a need to entrust gold to a third party's possession for whatever reason (I just have no such reason), and as I have pointed out to you previously Perth Mint products attract a modest premium in my local market, and rightly so IMO.

  2. It really is a more 'general public' item than gold bug in many ways. It is a novelty, a curiosity, and a demonstration of capability. It's just a capability I suspect most 'gold bugs' couldn't imagine needing.

    Whether there is an opportunity to add cast product (i.e beyond bar) to your minted product in some more accessible form I have no idea, but would be interesting to look into if you have developed the required capacity.

    Another idea I've wondered about is whether Purple Gold (Gold Aluminide) could be minted. Would make an interesting and unique product. Obviously the brittleness would be an issue; may need to be minted at temperature to make it work. May not be workable at all.

  3. I was just expecting some light "wow" type coverage by the gold bloggers, at least.

    Re Purple Gold I thought that was patented. As we are so busy just doing 9999 coins, adding in another metal would just reduce our capacity as we would have a lot of set up cost in switching to a new metal. But it is an interesting idea and I'll pass it on.

  4. "I was just expecting some light "wow" type coverage by the gold bloggers, at least."

    When FOFOA ran a post called "Gold Porn" featuring pics of the 100kg 999 Gold Maple, I commented to him that IMO this was not in keeping with the function of gold which he was otherwise attempting to convey to readers of his blog... if anything these types of images reinforce the commoditization of gold in the minds of readers in much the same way as regular porn does to women.

    Maybe I'm not typical of the gold bloggers to which you were referring.

  5. ..."The fact that it hasn't is starting to cement a view I've had for a while that the gold bloggers treat the Perth Mint like the mainstream media treats Ron Paul - don't give em any publicity, unless it is negative"...

    The Perth Mint is Gov. owned and tht makes me highly suspicious.

    Just sayin'

  6. Maybe it's too big for wow? Odd thought.

    Purple gold is not something that could really be patented. It's just a stochiometric mix (AuAl2) of Aluminium and Gold. Has to be pretty close to the right mix to really get the full colour as that drops off quickly away from the correct atomic ratio.

    If I remember correctly, there were some slightly alloyed mixes made with it (in Singapore?) that were patented.

    Unlike gold however, it is quite brittle, at least at room temperature. If you hit it at room temperature it would shatter.

    Not sure of how it behaves at higher temps, which is where something may be able to be done with it.

  7. 1) "The Perth Mint is Gov. owned and tht makes me highly suspicious."

    The Perth Mint is State Gov, not Federal, so is not controlled by the money printers.

    2) See http://www.purplegold.com/, seems the only workable alloy is patented. It is 80% gold anyway, where I think investors would want a much higher purity.

  8. Speaking as a non-blogger, I heard in passing about the 1 tonne coin on some goldismoney post, and it didn't elicit any interest in me to look into it (and I had no idea of the Perth Mint connection). Maybe with all that's happening there's too much to watch for the goldbugs, such that a 1 tonne coin cannot compete with the 1 tonne of current affairs to keep up with.

    For what it's worth I'd have been more interested had I known Perth Mint was involved.

  9. "What the 1 tonne coin tells us about PerthMint?"

    Well, then there is a point nobody yet mentioned and it is that: PerthMint has on exhibit its own 1t of a valuable asset worth of XXX which says: "We are doing very good, business prospers, and we can put aside 1t of of stored capital in this bullion. Is there anybody else can do it?!"

  10. Nod, as I indicated, a varied alloy of it was developed in Singapore.

    The patent is on what was added to it to make it workable, not 'purple gold' itself.

    If they have 80%, then they are slightly overweight gold.

    As to the 'investment' nature of it , sure 80% isn't the same, but then again it's purple so that is pretty much a given. Density I'm estimating at 8.3. So it contains gold, but is in many other aspects not particularly like gold. It is more something I'd see as a collection piece rather than bullion piece, valued for its distinctive difference.

  11. There is a blue gold alloy too as far as I am aware.

    Honestly, the $1million tag put me off. Now if it was like a Kruger rand that only said legal tender it would be of huge interest.

    It is a impressive technical feat of course.

    Lastly it's unimpressive somehow. The one tonne gold bull in china we saw recently impressed me more, because it was Pretty! xD