Government Vs. Private Mints: A Comparison

Posted - March 7, 2024
Government Vs. Private Mints: A Comparison

Although both government and private mints sell high quality and authentic bullion products, there are several key differences investors need to understand before buying gold

Investors often opt for government-produced bullion coins and bars because of the production value, relative security, and reputation of sovereign mint products. For collectors who prefer a bit more variety and artistry in their bullion investments, private mints are an excellent alternative to government-minted precious metals. 

Precious metal investors need to understand a few key differences between government and private mints. Government mints offer consistent, government-backed bullion, but private mints leverage unique, innovative designs to deliver collectors an unparalleled investing experience. 

Government vs. private mints: which is the better way to buy gold? 

Government Versus Private Mints: Key Differences

The main difference between government and private mints is their ownership. Government mints are run by the government of a sovereign nation, while private mints can be run by anybody. 

Mint ownership influences both the type of products they produce and the category of investor they appeal to. Government mints are capable of minting bullion coins – circular precious metal products that bear a face value and the backing of a national government. The security and reputation of government mints is one major reason so many investors buy from this type of mint every year. 

2024 1 oz American Gold Eagle Coin Reverse
2024 1 oz American Gold Eagle Coin

Private mints also offer several notable advantages. To start, private mints also produce beautiful circular products – but they’re not called coins. Coin-like precious metal items minted privately are called “rounds,” since they don’t include a face value or denomination. 

Diversity of design is another big upside to buying privately minted gold, silver, and platinum products. Private mints don’t have to go through the lengthy legal process required by government mints before they can produce new rounds and bars. As a result, some of the most stunning and creative bullion designs on the market come from leading private mints. 

What is a Sovereign Mint? 

Government mints are also called “sovereign mints.” A sovereign mint is run exclusively by a country’s government. Some popular sovereign mints include the U.S. Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, and the British Royal Mint. 

Since these mints are run by governments, sovereign mints are able to produce gold, silver, and platinum coins. A coin is a bullion product that is produced by a government and includes a face value (denomination). In addition to bullion coins, most government mints also specialize in high quality precious metal bars. 

Sovereign mints are a favorite for many precious metal stackers because of the consistency they bring to the minting process. Even the world’s most profitable private mints can’t match the quality assurance of the U.S. Mint or Royal Canadian Mint. These government mints offer unparalleled security and consistency in their coins and bars. This makes them a go-to for investors who want the most consistent and authentic bullion products possible. 

2024 1 oz British Gold Britannia Coin
2024 1 oz British Gold Britannia Coin

Private Mints Explained 

Private mints aren’t run by the government. Many private mints work with less sophisticated technology than distributors like the Royal British Mint. As a result, their products might not be quite as consistent as the coins and bars investors will find in government mint catalogs. 

Despite a relatively lower consistency, private mints are an extremely popular way to invest in precious metals. Private mints often sell gold, silver, and platinum at lower prices than popular government mints. Since they aren’t constrained by legal requirements, private mints also offer a wider range of beautiful, unique bullion bars and rounds. 

Comparing Private and Government Mints

Investors can find high quality precious metals at both private and government mints. Whether collectors choose government vs. private mints, high quality standards from reputable industry leaders guarantee that they’ll receive authentic, beautiful gold, silver, and platinum products. 

Most collectors who are concerned about coin security and strike consistency buy bullion from government mints. With few notable exceptions, most private mints can’t hold a candle to the massive operating budget and structural apparatus of a sovereign mint. 

PAMP Fortuna 1 oz Gold Bar
PAMP Fortuna 1 oz Gold Bar

Private mints come highly recommended for collectors who care more about stacking unique bullion than choosing the safest bet. Some of the stunning gold, silver, and platinum bars from mints like PAMP Suisse are unlike anything investors will find at sovereign mints. 

Popular Sovereign Mints 

Some of the world’s biggest sovereign mints sell hundreds of millions in precious metals every year. 

A few of the world’s most popular government mints: 

  • U.S. Mint. Best known for their ever-popular American Gold Eagle coins, the United States Mint produces a number of iconic gold, silver, and platinum coins for collectors around the world. 
  • British Royal Mint. As the world’s second oldest mint, the Royal Mint is one of the most popular producers of bullion products on the planet. Their classic Gold Britannia series  is a certified classic, and the coin’s security features are some of the most advanced in the entire market. 
  • Royal Canadian Mint. The former subsidiary of the British Royal Mint has released several instantly recognizable coins, including the stunning Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin.  

Sovereign mints offer government-backed gold, silver, and platinum bullion. While these mints may not have the same variety as private manufacturers, their consistency and reputation makes private mints an excellent choice for many collectors. 

Best Private Mints For Buying Bullion

Private mints are another great way to buy precious metals. Investors are consistently impressed with the variety and quality of bullion bars from mints like PAMP Suisse. Some private mints may also sell bullion at lower premiums than popular sovereign mints. 

Here’s a list of 3 of the world’s most popular private mints: 

  • PAMP Suisse. Swiss-based PAMP Suisse regularly releases some of the most stunning gold bars on the market. Their PAMP Fortuna Gold Bar brings an unprecedented level of beauty and intricacy to bullion. PAMP premiums can sometimes be high, but many investors find PAMP’s unique bars well worth the cost. 
  • ASAHI. Asahi’s gold bars are a staple in gold stacks across the world. Their bars feature simplistic, classic designs. Investors often find that Asahi sells reasonably priced gold bars with a surprising level of beauty and quality control. 
  • Argor-Heraeus. Another Switzerland mint, Argor-Heraeus has won a reputation as one of the world’s premier producers of high quality gold bullion bars. The mint’s limited mintage 2024 Year of the Dragon Gold Bars take the beauty of a gold bar to the next level. 

The degree of creative freedom afforded to private mints makes them a solid option for investors who prefer unique, beautiful gold to the consistent, predictable products offered by most sovereign mints. 

Government Vs. Private Mints: Which is Better? 

Choosing between government and private mints is a choice investors must make on their own. Both private and sovereign mints sell authentic, high quality gold, silver, and platinum products. Sovereign mints may be the best choice for consumers concerned with recognizability, consistency, and security. 

2024 Argor-Heraeus Dragon 1 oz Gold Bar
2024 Argor-Heraeus 1 oz Dragon Gold Bar

But for collectors who prefer to stack unique, beautiful bullion bars and rounds that they won’t find anywhere else, it’s hard to beat a private mint. 

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About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.