The Isle of Man is a British protectorate located between Ireland and Great Britain, and it is known in part for its production of high-quality coins. The Isle of Man Noble coin (sometimes referred to as the Platinum Noble or Manx Noble) was the first platinum investment coin made available for wide purchase. For many reasons, these Platinum Nobles are a unique and special investment coin.
Manx Nobles are a product of the Pobjoy Mint, a private mint known mostly for the minting of uncirculated coins. The Isle of Man commissioned the Pobjoy Mint to create the first investment grade platinum coins and, in November of 1983, the Isle of Man Nobles were released.
Platinum Nobles were minted in a total of 10 different weight denominations, though only five denominations were issued in any significant number (1/20 oz, 1/10 oz., 1/4 oz., 1/2 oz., 1 oz.).
In 1989, the Pobjoy Mint discontinued the production of Isle of Man Platinum Nobles altogether, and no more have been minted since. The six-year run of these investment coins is remarkably short compared to other platinum offerings, and the rarity only adds to their value.
Despite not being a direct product of The Royal Mint, each Platinum Noble was produced to those standards.
Like all of the so-called “Empire” coins, the Platinum Noble coin depicts a profile of Queen Elizabeth II on the front (“obverse”) side. Unlike more contemporary investment coins, such as the Australian Gold Kangaroo or Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, the image of Elizabeth II is that of a young Queen, rather than a Queen in her 60s or 70s.
The words ISLE OF MAN and ELIZABETH II circle the picture of Elizabeth II, and right below her is the year of mintage.
The rear (“reverse”) of the Platinum Noble is particularly interesting; a famous Viking ship – the Thusly – is shown, full sail, surrounded by birds. Viking raids on the English isles were common during the period from 800 A.D. to 1066 A.D., and that history is reflected on these platinum wonders.
The weight denomination is listed immediately underneath the water, preceding the words PLATINUM FINE in small print. The coins value, simply written as ONE NOBLE (for 1 oz. coins), sits on the bottom border.
The five most common weight denominations of Isle of Man Platinum Noble coins are listed below, though a total of 10 were issued.
|1 oz.||ONE NOBLE||32.7 mm||31.119 g|
|1/2 oz.||HALF NOBLE||27.0 mm||15.600 g|
|1/4 oz.||FOURTH NOBLE||22.0 mm||7.780 g|
|1/10 oz.||TENTH NOBLE||16.5 mm||3.112 g|
|1/20 oz.||TWENTIETH NOBLE||13.9 mm||1.555 g|
Manx Noble coins carry a curious printed value on their reverse side: ONE NOBLE (and fractions of NOBLE for smaller sizes). Essentially, these coins were created with a face value, but cannot be used as legal tender in any country.
ONE NOBLE is meant to represent that the coin is worth whatever the platinum content of the coin is worth on the open market; for instance, the 1 oz. Platinum Noble’s face value is equal to the value of 1 oz. of platinum.
As these coins were designed with investing in mind, this makes a certain sense. The value of any Isle of Man Noble coin inside of an IRA, for instance, would be determined by the value of its platinum content.
All Isle of Man Noble coins are eligible for investing inside of a self-directed IRA.
By placing real, physical platinum inside of an IRA, investors add a level of diversification to their portfolio that is independent of fluctuations for stocks and bonds. Platinum is far more scarce than gold or silver, and investments in platinum are becoming more liquid as investors continue to recognize the value of this special metal.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows specific types of IRAs to carry gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion in a portfolio. Sometimes referred to as a “precious metals IRA”, only IRS-approved bullion – such as the Manx Noble – can be added to these investment vehicles.
Investors must make a minimum initial purchase of $5,000 of approved metals in order to establish a precious metals IRA. Each subsequent purchase must be at least $1,000.
Additionally, any purchase of investment bullion for an IRA is required to be transferred to and held within an approved precious metals depository. These depositories are responsible for the safety and maintenance of the metals until a distribution is made.
Any IRS-approved bullion must meet minimum purity requirements in order to be included in an IRA. All American Eagles are guaranteed by the United States Mint to meet these requirements.
Those with existing IRAs have the option of transferring or rolling over funds into a precious metals IRA.
Since production for Platinum Nobles was halted in 1989, the only way to make a purchase is through collectors, dealers or distributors, such as the American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX) or the Northwest Territorial Mint.