Johnson Matthey is one of the most recognizable and trusted names in silver production. A British conglomerate, Johnson Matthey is named after Percival Norton Johnson and George Matthey. The organization was founded in 1817 as a gold assaying company in London, and has worked in precious metals ever since. Unlike many precious metals bullion producers, Johnson Matthey is an incredibly diverse organization which has operations in such fields as automotives, medicine and pharmaceuticals, among others. The nearly 200-year old company employs some 10,000 people worldwide and their gold and silver bullion are highly valued in nearly every market.
Development, Introduction and History
Despite opening their doors in 1817, Johnson Matthey didn’t exploded onto the precious metals scene until 1946, when they entered into an agreement with the British government to become the sole producers of all silver coins in the UK. Ever since, Johnson Matthey bullion has been world-renowned for their quality and variety.
Though Johnson Matthey does offer Gold Bars, the company has always been better known for their silver products. Their silver bars are popular in part because of the credibility of the JM brand, but the uniqueness of their silver products is a direct consequence of their enormous variety in size and multiple minting locations.
At one point or another in their history, Johnson Matthey silver bars were produced at various refineries in Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Additionally, these different mints created all manner of weight denominations, designs and levels of refinement in their products.
Struck silver bars, once widely produced, have not seen any new releases since the late 1980s, and even their cast silver bars are often not manufactured enough to meet demand.
Johnson Matthey Silver Bar Physical Characteristics
Variety is the name of the game with Johnson Matthey bars – in both size and look. Most are fairly plainly designed, though some very unique and attractive designs exist for all kinds of special occasions.
In contrast to the intricate, multiple-pressed and often expensive minting process used for other forms of gold bullion, Johnson Matthey gold bars often have a very simplistic design. However, the design of the bars is not completely uniform, and more intricate designs can be found if investors value a more polished look and feel.
Perhaps the recognizable Johnson Matthey Bar is the flat 1 oz.bar. Minted in a rectangular shape, the front (“obverse”) side of the bar carries the initials “JM” next to the Johnson Massey logo containing two crossed hammers. The full name “JOHNSON MATTHEY ASSAYERS & REFINERS” reads underneath the logo, followed by the fineness “FINE SILVER 999” to indicate the quality of the bullion. After the weight (“1 OUNCE TROY”), some Johnson Matthey bars carry a unique serial number, though not all do.
It should be noted that Johnson Matthey no longer mints gold or silver bars, but rather “casts” ingots. Cast bars are produced by pouring molten, liquid metal into an ingot-shaped mold. Minted bars are often more flat, made from “blank” presses that have been cut to specific dimensions and are cut from solid sheets of metal.
There are too many varieties of Johnson Matthey Silver Bars to cover here effectively. Some websites (such as this one) work to collect as many different types of their products; the variety is quite stunning and does present some difficulties in authenticating a Johnson Matthey purchase.
Regardless of weight or shape, all Johnson Matthey Silver Bars carry a fineness of .9999 (99.99% silver content).
Johnson Matthey Silver Bar Pricing
Unlike many bullion coins, silver bars are not used as legal tender, and therefore carry no transactional value. Still, silver bars contain certain advantages over silver coins as an option for investing in physical silver.
The mintage of bullion bars, such as the Johnson Matthey Silver Bar, can be much lower than the minting cost of bullion coins. This means that the market price (value of the bar, comprised of the value of its silver content plus production and shipping costs) tends to be very close to the spot price (trading value) of silver. Silver bars can be a very cost effective way to own silver.
The market price is used to determine value inside of an investment portfolio. Since silver prices fluctuate daily, the value of Johnson Matthey Silver Bars will also fluctuate daily. You can check out our home page for live metal pricing.
The low production costs of most Johnson Matthey bars result in their silver bars carrying some of the lowest premiums over spot price in the bullion world.
Investing in Johnson Matthey Silver Bars Through an IRA
The IRS allows Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that meet specific requirements to carry precious metal bullion as an investment in a portfolio. Often referred to as a “precious metals IRA”, these accounts are self-directed and are only IRS-approved bars and coins are the only metals that are eligible to be included.
Johnson Matthey Silver Bars are authorized to be included in a precious metals IRA. Since the spot price of silver tends to be much lower than gold, silver can be a more affordable alternative hedge for those interested in precious metals.
Johnson Matthey Silver Bars meet the minimum purity requirements established in Internal Revenue Code section 408(b). For IRA investing, the owner of the account is required to make an initial purchase of at least $5,000 of qualifying bullion, and each subsequent purchase must be at least $1,000.
When you make a purchase of Johnson Matthey Silver Bars (or any precious metals designated for an IRA), the IRS further requires that all coins and/or bars be held in a qualifying “depository.” The depository is responsible for the security and maintenance of the bullion.
Those with an existing IRA have the option of transferring or rolling over funds into a precious metals IRA.
Johnson Matthey bars are a very liquid bullion asset, able to be purchased and sold through dealers across the world. Their bars are registered with exchanges such as the LMBA, COMEX and APMEX. To avoid purchasing any counterfeit silver bars, it is recommended to purchase directly from reputable bullion dealers or from the Johnson Matthey website.
Sign up to learn more. It's free!
If you're worried about the economy and want to learn tips on how to protect your retirement savings in case of another systemic collapse, sign up to our monthly newsletter now for free! We cover topics such as: precious metals investing, inflation, currency devaluation, national debt, the Fed's financial policies, world politics, and much more. Join now and we'll send you a free PDF report entitled “5 scams to avoid when investing in bullion gold & silver”