The rarity of platinum is well known. The precious metal is synonymous with the concept of exclusivity, with everything from hotel rewards points to credit card companies reserving 'platinum' status for the very highest level of customer.
You may not know, however, that the metal is in high demand not only for the purposes of investment and jewellery but for a number of industrial uses. In fact, according to the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC), more than 50% of the platinum produced in the world today will go toward more practical uses. This is especially true in the automotive industry, where platinum is used in the making of catalytic converters and spark plugs, amongst other things. It is also playing a major role in the development of alternative technologies, such as hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Often seen in the cutting-edge side of medical treatments – where it's used in everything from surgical tools to cancer treatment – platinum also shows up in everyday items like fibreglass insulation. It is even used in the process of making silicone cupcake cases.
With industrial use on the increase, a growing number of investors are seeking to include platinum in their portfolios. Although exchange traded funds are a popular means of including platinum in one's portfolio, many investors prefer the tangibility of bullion bars and coins. The WPIC was created in 2014 to better facilitate and encourage investment, but in many countries platinum has been an investment choice for decades. In Japan, for example, individuals have been investing in it since the 1980s.
Platinum is one of the purest precious metals on Earth, with a typical example being 95% pure. It is quite literally a 'weighty' investment: a six-inch cube of platinum weighs as much as an average person. And for all its growing popularity, it is particularly rare. According to WPIC, if you were to melt down all the platinum ever produced and pour it into an Olympic-size swimming pool, the metal would only just touch your ankles. Whereas all the gold ever produced would completely fill three of those pools. Interestingly, experts suspect there is more platinum to be found on the Moon than here on Earth.
The Royal Mint offers three ways to invest in platinum: bullion bars, bullion coins or via the easy and affordable Signature™ programme. Signature Platinum allows you to get started with as little as £20, digitally purchasing a portion of a platinum bar. Over time you can work your way towards owning a full bar, or sell your portion — at any time of day, 365 days a week.
If your budget is such that you're able to invest in whole coins and/or bars, The Vault™ provides a perfect place to store your valuable assets. Located on The Royal Mint's 40-acre site in South Wales, The Vault is an independently audited and fully insured facility that is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year