Posted on December 29, 2022
Johnson Matthey is a lot like other top metal refineries in that it occupies a specific niche. It's not as large or well-known as Credit Suisse or PAMP, but it does have a cult following. Many want Johnson Matthey gold and silver bars, and only Johnson Matthey gold and silver bars. It has a storied history and produces bullion that never fails to satisfy its buyers. And, it's certainly a mainstay in the inventory of metal traders all over.
No Switzerland this time around: Johnson Matthey is a company headquartered in London, where it spent more than 200 years building a titanium-solid reputation. Percival Norton Johnson, the company's founder, had the benefit of being the grandson of a metals assayer and the son of a platinum trader. You know, back when metals trade was more about chemistry and less about paper derivatives.
Percival Johnson started early and was a proficient metallurgist, also acting as a founding member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. How far are we from a mention of Isaac Newton, really? Johnson had a keen interest in the science of precious metals and an even keener interest in making money through them.
The once pop-and-pop business grew to the fairly gargantuan size of today, with more than 12,000 employees in 30 countries and a market value of $6 billion. What separates the company the most from competitors would be, perhaps, its ongoing interests in science as opposed to just the metals trade.
They're notable for developing the world's first auto catalyst in 1974, and have made numerous other advancements in this and other fields in the coming decades. But what is their bullion like?
When Johnson Matthey exited the gold and silver market in 2014, many weren't happy about it. As it turns out, it was more of a soft exit. Besides bullion produced in 2014 and before, the company has either sold or licensed its gold and silver production to Sunshine Mint and Asahi Holdings, two other top mints.
Some will say that rounds define a mint more than its bars do, and Johnson Matthey isn't lagging in this regard. Its primary silver round was the 1oz Freedom series, a collection of ten essential freedoms that every American should have and that the nation was built on. Because many of these freedoms are no longer available, the rounds have a nostalgic tint to them despite being produced not that long ago. The rarer Liberty Trade silver rounds series is almost a numismatic piece in its own right.
The Liberty Trade ranges in weights from 1/2oz to 5oz, comes in bullion and proof variety which is somewhat uncommon for rounds, and is known to have the kind of limited mintage collectors go crazy over. Johnson Matthey silver bars have a distinct look to them: varying company logo, great construction coupled with minimalistic design and weights ranging from 1 gram to 1,000oz.
It's no exaggeration to say that gold is the least represented of the four precious metals for Johnson Matthey nowadays. The mint only makes gold bars, but they come in a range of weights almost as impressive as the silver cousins: gram bars ranging from 1 gram to 500 grams and ounce bars ranging from 1/10oz to 10oz.
Each of the Johnson Matthey gold bars is .9999 pure, giving it an exceptionally high gold content, and comes in either cast or minted varieties. In short, cast bars are poured and have the data engraved, while minted bars have a more complex manufacturing process that results in bar details that "stick out". As in the case of their silver bars, the design is minimalistic but very recognizable.
If you like what Johnson Matthey is selling, head on over to our shop and check out the inventory of the likeliest mint to wind up having collectible gold and silver bars in the not-too-distant future. Or maybe the rise in bullion prices winds up reigniting the old furnace?