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Ruthenium Coins

Updated on March 12, 2017

American Eagle Blackout Collection

2015 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty Dollar plated with Black Ruthenium and 24K Gold Accents on both sides.
2015 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty Dollar plated with Black Ruthenium and 24K Gold Accents on both sides.

What is Ruthenium?

While looking for US 1 oz Silver Eagle coins to add to my collection, I stumbled across these new designer versions. The appearance of the silver coin turned Black with Gold accents immediately drew my attention. My first question was, what did they do to the staple silver coin?

I began to search on ebay and Amazon for more of these coins and kept seeing the term Black Ruthenium. I was not familiar with this metal so I search the internet for more information on it.

Here is what I discovered: Ruthenium is normally found mixed with Platinum and other ores, like Iridium and Rhodium. It is number 44 on the Periodic Table of the Elements. I had to look at that table again to refresh my memory. I had not looked at it since high school.

More research on this precious metal shows that it is one of those rare metals only found in certain areas of our planet. For you nuclear physics type people, it can also be found with those spent plutonium rods (among other platinum family metals).

Periodic Table of Elements

Ruthenium is also known as Ru44.
Ruthenium is also known as Ru44. | Source

Ruthenium Crystals

Ruthenium crystal, 0.6 grams, 0.6 x 1.3 cm size.
Ruthenium crystal, 0.6 grams, 0.6 x 1.3 cm size. | Source

Ruthenium Bar

One half of a high-purity (99.99%), electron-beam-remelted ruthenium bar. Size ca. 40 × 15 × 10 mm, weight ca. 44 g.
One half of a high-purity (99.99%), electron-beam-remelted ruthenium bar. Size ca. 40 × 15 × 10 mm, weight ca. 44 g. | Source

What is it Used For?

In addition to being potentially a byproduct of radioactive material, it is most effectively used for more industrial and industrious purposes.

For Industry, Ruthenium is very efficient at adding strength and conductivity to other metals. It does not dissolve when added to most acids. It also has nine known radioactive isotopes which come in handy for the medical profession. One version of it can act like X-Rays. Ruthenium-106 has been used to treat eye cancer (encyclopedia.com).

When Ruthenium is mixed with other metals to make an alloy, it provides the strength and hardening. When added to titanium, the new alloy helps titanium resist rusting.

When mixed with platinum or palladium, these new alloys are used on electrical resistors and contacts, microprocessors, and microelectronics.

Other nifty uses for this rare metal include:

1. Solar panels. Ruthenium characteristics tend to be light absorbent.

2. Jewelry. As Ruthenium tends to strengthen and harden other metals it is mixed with, it can make soft metals used in jewelry or watches last longer.

3. Coins. To enhance the appearance and strength of the base metals (like silver or gold) by the electroplating process. The coin receives a full outer coating of Ru44, which does not compromise the integrity of the original precious metal content purity.

American Eagle - Original Design

2015 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty Dollar.
2015 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty Dollar.

American Eagle Golden Enigma Collection

2014 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty Dollar -  Enigma Collection.
2014 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty Dollar - Enigma Collection.

What Happens to the Coins?

In the case of the 1 oz Silver United States American Eagle with Walking Liberty coin, it can be found in either the 'Golden Enigma" or "Blackout" Collections.

The Golden Enigma collection involves enhancing the silver coins with Black Ruthenium plating and 24k gold accent design on only 1 side of the coin. When you examine the coin, you will see the side with the Walking Liberty has the gold accents. The Lady Liberty, Sun and rays, Year, and phrase "IN GOD WE TRUST" are all plated 24K gold.

The Blackout Collection (picture shown at beginning of article) is similar to the Golden Enigma, but the 24k gold accent designs are on both sides of the coin. When you examine this coin, you will see the side with the Walking Liberty and the side with the Eagle both have the gold accents.

1. The Lady Liberty and Sun only are plated 24K gold (unlike the Golden Enigma version which has these two plus 3 other features gold plated).

2. The Eagle design is gold plated. The stars and verbiage is not.

Since the Ruthenium is "Black", the entire coin appears dark gray and polished shiny - similar to Hematite, but much more expensive.

Metal Characteristics

Ruthenium
Ru44
 
Atomic Weight
101.07
 
Melting Point
2334 Celcius
4233.2 Fahrenheit
Boiling Point
4150 Celcius
7502 Fahrenheit
Radioactivity
Almost 100% Stable
 

Canadian Maple Leaf Blackout Collection

2016 1 oz Silver Canadian Maple Leaf 5 Dollar Coin Plated with Black Ruthenium and 24K Gold Accents on both sides.
2016 1 oz Silver Canadian Maple Leaf 5 Dollar Coin Plated with Black Ruthenium and 24K Gold Accents on both sides.

"The coin is coated with Black Ruthenium, which is a type of platinum metal that looks like a dark platinum, but is 100 times Rarer."

— http://www.merrickmint.com/about-merrick-mint/

U.K. Britannia Golden Enigma Collection

2015 1 OZ Silver United Kingdom Britannia Coin.
2015 1 OZ Silver United Kingdom Britannia Coin.

Gabon Springbok Golden Enigma Collection

2014 1 OZ Gabon Springbok Coin.
2014 1 OZ Gabon Springbok Coin.

Somalia Elephant Golden Enigma Collection

1 OZ Silver Somalia Elephant Coin.
1 OZ Silver Somalia Elephant Coin.

More About the Collections

When I was researching these coin collections, I also discovered more nifty facts which are important to coin collectors. All of the coins listed below come in a nice box with the Certificate of Authenticity and mintage number except the 1964 JFK Half Dollar. Some of the coins were minted in multiple years, others not. I found 2014, 2015, and some 2016.

1. The GOLDEN ENIGMA collection produces most of its coins with a mintage of only *5000*. All of the Coins listed next follow this mintage number except the 1964 JFK. I was not able to locate the mintage of the JFKs.

  • 1964 JFK Kennedy Silver Half Dollar
  • 1 oz Silver Gabon Springbok
  • 1 oz Silver Somalia Elephant
  • 1 oz Silver Mexico Libertad
  • 1 oz Silver China Panda
  • 1 oz Silver UK Britannia
  • 1 oz Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
  • 1 oz Silver American Eagle
  • 2016 Lunar Year of the Monkey
  • 2011 World Trade Center September 11 Medal - actually has both sides with 24K gold accents, but is in the Golden Enigma collection.
  • JFK Presidential One Dollar Coin

2. The BLACKOUT collection produces most of its coins with a mintage of only *1000*. So far this year (2016) I see only four coins in this collection:

  • 1 oz Silver UK Royal Mint Britannia
  • 1 oz Silver American Eagle
  • 1 oz Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
  • 1 oz Silver American Lakota Indian with Crazy Horse and the BUFFALO

You can buy Ruthenium Coins on ebay and Amazon.

Chinese Panda Enigma Collection

2014 1 OZ Silver Chinese Panda Coin.
2014 1 OZ Silver Chinese Panda Coin.

Fun Fact

The Ruthenium tetroxide form can be used by law enforcement authorities to locate and expose latent fingerprints. This is achieved when the powder turns either brown or black ruthenium dioxide when it comes in contact with everyday oils produced by our skin that is resident with print.

John F. Kennedy Half Dollar Enigma Collection

Comes with Certificate of Authenticity only, no display box.
Comes with Certificate of Authenticity only, no display box.

Golden Enigma or Blackout?

Which of the Designs Is Your Favorite?

See results

2014 1 oz Chinese Silver Coin - Golden Enigma - The Panda - Silver & Ruthenium & Gold Plated

© 2016 Lori Robinson

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