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Somalia Elephant Silver And Gold Coins Anyone?

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Pillar of the Community

United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  01:14 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Greetings gang!

Not sure which forum to post this but since I was going to mention about bullion figured I would post here.

So, was doing some research this week. What started this, partly was the fact that I was trying to get an idea on what I wanted to add to my focus list. One is collecting the African Wildlife Somalia Elephant 100 shillings 1 oz silver coin.

Anyways, in a bit ima do a follow up post to this. Not sure if this will interest you guys but ima write up what I know and what I pieced, the little I have. Its been all very interesting, fascinating and a learning process into these coins, which have, I think a bit of mystique to them,, intrigue and perhaps,,, someone powerful whos using their influence and power to make money, once again. .. or is it persons... and perhaps we wont EVER know,, but its super interesting.

more in a bit
Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  02:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
OK. so here we go, I'll do my best to present what I have uncovered.

Somalian Silver 1 oz Elephant coins-

Many of you have noticed these coins at several dealers such as APMEX and Modern Coin Mart and other dealers, and even on Ebay. But where does this series start? Who makes them? Are they legal tender? Are they worth buying for investment or just for collectors? So many questions!

What sparked my interest in these coins is the beautiful design with the elephant on the front, the proof like finish and the fact that the coins come stamped with Somalia Republic on the back side. Therefore I embarked on this quest, which I thought would be easy enough to educate myself on. Boy was I in for twists and turns.

Here is the little background I have on these coins, pieced together from dealer PDF files, web sites in Germany and in talking with dealers in the past few weeks.

This series is called the African Wildlife Series and these coins are minted by one of the German state owned mints in Munich as best as I can tell from reading various web sites regarding this coin. There can be no doubt in regards to its fineness .999 of silver. Furthermore, this coin is marketed as a bullion coin and appears to be very popular in Germany and parts of Europe. It appears that the state owned mint in Germany has been minting this series since 1999 in various finishes and started in 2004 with the design you see today, tho since 1999 it start with elephants, and each year it has been a different setting of an elephant or elephants.

The distributor of this series, which is out of Germany is Emporium Hamburg, who in turns, seems have to their own wholesalers who sell these coins to dealers. These wholesalers sell these African Wildlife Series to dealers, along with other world bullion coins such as the well know Silver American Eagles and Maple Leafs to name a few.

The series comes in various forms-

* Bullion, sold by the tube and by individual piece
* PROOF individual coins
* Uncirculated colored, Uncirculated gold plated and Uncirculated with a privy mark.
* Mintages range on the proofs and various uncirculated from 3,000 to 5,000
* Kilo Silver coin
* 4 coin PROOF Silver sets mintage 2,000

However, these Elephants don't come just silver, they also are issued in gold.

* 1 oz uncirculated gold
* 1/50 oz gold proof
* 1/25 oz gold proof
* 5 oz gold in wooden box with COA, mintage of 99, proof

There is already a 2013 1 oz that is coming out it appears in October.

However, one topic that came up in researching these coins was - are these legit? Somalia is a war torn country, one that is famous for their pirates that constantly high jack ships in the ocean waters. How is it possible they would issue legal tender in silver and gold, some may ask?

Well, that's what makes these coins intriguing. True, this country does make use of the shilling as their currency. But there is some speculation, based on some blogs I read and even a reported email that I saw on the Internet that the Somalia government has not authorized these coins, that they are NOT legal tender. Yet, these coins are marketed as legal tender and commissioned by the Somalia government. In fact the proof sets come with a COA that is signed by their central bank governor!

However, this again is where it gets interesting. When I researched this central banks governors name on the Internet, I came to discover that he isn't a current central bank governor, in fact he hasn't been involved in the central bank sinces the late 1960s!

I discovered this by researching his name and finding his name on declassified memos from the IMF web site, in letters dated back to 1969, when he was a central bank governor! Yet, his name is listed on the COA of proof sets, such as in the 2009 silver African wildlife series proof set!

Furthermore, to add to this debate if they are legal tender or not, it appears APMEX is discontinuing carrying this series. They sold out of the 2012 coins, and are now having a sale on the 2011 coins. When I called them and asked about these coins I was told that they were being considered as silver rounds and not coins. Furthermore, if you notice, APMEX is not carrying the 2013 coins which are now out.

All this adds to the mystery and confusion- are these coins legal tender? They are being marketed that way, as legal tender. But by whom? Could it be former leaders are enriching themselves by using their former powers? Or are the German mints just taking advantage of the situation, and using Somalia's name on these coins as a marketing ploy themselves and cutting a slice of the pie with ex government officials?

Nevertheless, these coins are legitimate, seeing that they are sold as bullion, and clearly are being produced year after year because there is a market for them. As one rare coin dealer told me out of Florida "these sets are rare, they are the kind of thing where you see them, 1-2 and they get snatched up and then they disappear for a while. They dont come up often, maybe 1 or 2 sets at a time. Sometimes we get them via other dealers or sometimes someones private collection."

Finally, adding to the legitimacy of these coins is the fact that Krause Publications announced, as one of the nominees in the Silver Coin category, none other than the "Somali Republic " KM# 230, 100 Shillings, Elephant Bullion Coin". The winners will be announced at this upcoming February 2013 coin show in Berlin so stay tuned!

So there you have it, the best I could piece together for this series.

I do believe, that while it is open up for debate if this coin is legal tender, the fact that its been around since 1999, it merits attention from both investors and collectors.

I hope you enjoyed this research, I wish I had more to share. But my hope is that those who enjoy this series as much as I do learned more about it!
Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  02:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

wow you have the early ones too I see, how nice!

did you ever own any of the silver proof sets?
Pillar of the Community
666 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  03:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bekiz to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
yup, I find those proof sets way overpriced ...
elephants above I've got almost at spot ... only after I've got the coins and did some study I found what the market price is
Pillar of the Community
United States
5214 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  05:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jaobler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nothing wrong with collecting silver rounds and gold bullion pieces, especially if you are interested in specific designs. However, without legal tender status and broad-based recognition that a particular piece has correct metal content it may be more difficult to sell these "coins" if/when you want to liquidate. People pay a hefty premium for American eagles in order to secure that confidence that they are completely legitimate.
Pillar of the Community
1528 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  08:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lostwords to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
well done yup7676. Thanks for the infos. I was looking for these a few months ago. I was originally hoping to pick one up for each year but some how decide not to bother with it
Pillar of the Community
4559 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  09:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add john100 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
there are so many legit coins of many countries and even a few companies like jm or englehard, why bother with a questionable country. but good info
Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  10:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hey guys!

Thanks for the comments, hope you find it useful in case you go down that path to collect this series.

Yes, the proof sets command a hefty premium! But ima a sucker for the elephant/animal and they are just a really nice beautiful coin. I think over time these coins will be fine in terms of value since they are so limited, and let me tell u, they are actively pushed in Germany and Europe so this tells me there is some sort of floor in terms of pricing and there is a community interested in them.

Trying to find the various sets and various coin offerings is sooooo difficult! BUT I have found them on Ebay, and a few coin dealers in the US seem to have stock and of course Europe. The coins also, as I mentioned in my post above, seem to be scarce once they get a few years old.

I think my goal will be to collect all of them slowly but surely lol It will be my "odd collection" ,, and "just because" collection lol.

and yes, one thing a collector and investor needs to look at in buying these is the liquidity. Since there's not many of them, and quite frankly this is a niche... you might be waiting a bit before you can unload them especially if you need the cash. In fact, its telling that APMEX is knocking them off, if they, with their exposure dont want them,, well.... but then again, Modern Coinmart is carrying them, they are graded (which that's also subjective in itself) AND if you notice, the 2013 roll of elephants as an example has a premium OVER the older set. SO there's lots to consider and it really comes down to what you are comfortable with.

I would prefer them tho, over the silver slabs lol I dunno why, I think because the elephant is just so beautiful and majestic animal and this coins, just does them justice.

If I find out more about these in my travels I will share with you guys.
Pillar of the Community
United States
7729 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  11:11 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oih82w8 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have seen these slabbed by NGC and PCGS and I will be adding one to my "World Silver Round" collection. I like the UNC version design, not so much the "pirates".
Edited by oih82w8
12/28/2012 11:11 am
Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 12/28/2012  12:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
yes, Modern Coin Mart has many that have been graded and I noticed some other dealers.

I dunno, I dont own a single coin by a grading agency I prefer them raw.

Still. they are very nice coins!
Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 12/30/2012  7:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So... while doing research I noticed they had made these proof sets of Somalia Elephants. The sets have 4 coins, a 2 oz, 1 oz, half and quarter oz proof silver coins with a certificate and box.

I recently got some sets off ebay. 2010 and 2012.

I was over at and noticed they have a set for 2013... but its much smaller, has 2 one ounce proof silver coins and a fractional gold coin.

It would be interesting to see if this is the way these coins are going to be issued in sets going forward. I didnt even see these type sets for 2013 on the wholesalers web site so ima intrigued.

Guess Ima have to get the set to see if the certificate has the central governors signature inside lol as you might recall, the central bank head that was featured in the COA hadn't been in the position since the last 60s.

I;ll keep you guys posted.
Valued Member
United States
200 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2013  2:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add lincsus to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had always assumed that they were legal tender. Now this whole discussion has me thinking. I bought a few of them last year and they do look beautiful. Guess I will be a little more cautious before buying them again.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2013  10:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
well and thats just it. Some are saying, no it isn't, yes it is.

I still think,,, because of this mystique to the coins that they will always be collected and have a market.

Plus this is still silver and a beautiful coin, I mean they are so nice.

Pillar of the Community
United States
1200 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2013  11:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Fat Freddy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yup's last post hits the nail on the head. Mystique, allure, mystery, aesthetics and all the rest of that baloney notwithstanding---these things are 1oz of .999 silver from the
Bavarian State Mint (the BSM thing per what an APMEX phone rep told me). So---at the very least, you're looking at a valid silver round with an image of an elephant on it.
It might even be a legit legal tender coin, but that may be uncertain. And...I must confess I wonder why APMEX is evidently dumping this item from their inventory.

I'm not buying in on the elephants because ASEs can be bought for a lower price and there's NO question about what an ASE is or isn't. Mystique & etc may be cool, but I'll
be OK living with my boring ASEs and CSMs. I want solid, recognized and liquid coins and I'm not attracted to iffy, mysterious stuff that may likely end up selling at generic
bar/round premium levels. I suspect my humorless LCS guy would be singularly unimpressed by the elephants.

Pillar of the Community
United States
3789 Posts
 Posted 01/03/2013  12:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add yup7676 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, I agree with your points above.

There's no doubt however, that from talking with more than one dealer that these coins do have a market, even if they aren't legit.... which I want to add, has yet to be proven or dis proven.

Thanks to these coins being scarce, they do hold a hefty premium and in back tracking sales via eBay and dealers, I dont see that its losing its premium.

And I agree with FF, as I stated in my original article, if you buy these, take into consideration that the markets not liquid since these are low mintage and clearly have a niche following which is strongly followed in Europe, so you are going to hit less of an audience BUT they will pay up so WORST case scenario,,,, you might have to wait awhile before you can unload them if you need too.

For me, I am willing to pay up for these coins. I have no problem that they are way over spot. I plan on keeping mine, not looking at them as investment or to speculate. I just love the excellent work and detail on the coin, love elephants (and most coins with animals, birds, ocean life etc) so ima set.

I am so looking forward to getting my proof sets!

Pillar of the Community
United States
1200 Posts
 Posted 01/03/2013  9:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Fat Freddy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hope whoever intended to get their elephants from APMEX already did so, because they're no longer to be found on the APMEX website...
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