In September 2017 the United States Mint released the first Palladium American Eagle coin which features a high-relief likeness of “Winged Liberty” from the “Mercury Dime”. It was such a hit with consumers that at the time of this writing the Palladium American Eagle is sold out with no indication of their next availability.
To start off with, it's more rare than platinum! It's also the metal that is used to make gold white and is a crucial component of fuel cells and catalytic converters. Palladium is one of six metals in the Platinum Group Metals (PGM) and is known for its purity, high melting points and unique catalytic properties.
Palladium’s Recent History
In 2009, according to ElementInvesting.com, about 45% of the total output of palladium was used by the autocatalyst industry, about 19% by the electronics industry, and about 12% by the jewelry industry ("white gold" is an alloy of gold and palladium). The rest was used in such industries as chemical, dental, investment, and others.
As in most things, supply and demand drive price. Over the past year or so palladium (historically the poor cousin to gold and platinum) has out performed all other the precious metals. Over the past 20 years manufacturers, have slowly shifted to palladium instead of platinum as a cost saver.
This past October palladium’s value shot past platinum, which historically has been roughly twice the cost per ounce of palladium, and looks to be challenging gold. Since both platinum and palladium are metals used in production and for the same types of applications preference for which to use will simply become a price issue. My belief is that manufactures will rotate back and forth, using whichever metal is cheaper.