Homepage / Popular Bullion Refiners: Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey's logo of a Geologist's Pick & Hammer is recognized
worldwide, among bullion investors, as a sign of quality.
Johnson Matthey Public Limited Company is a multinational Chemical and Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) technology company headquartered in London, England.
The company is one of the largest international full service refiner of platinum group metals; it has a market capitalization of over $6 billion dollars, with 12,000 employees and is operating in more than 30 countries.
The Johnson Matthey Company has a long history of refining platinum group metals.
The company dates back to the grandfather of Percival Norton Johnson.
Percival Johnson was the founder of Johnson Matthey company; he was also a founding member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. (the oldest national chemical society in the world)
Percival's grandfather was an assayer of ores and metals, in London,
during the late 1700's.
After his grandfather's death, Percival's father, John Johnson (1765–1831), took over his father's business and got involved in the platinum trade.
At the age of 15, Percival Johnson (1792-1866), became an apprentice, in his father's firm.
During his apprenticeship, he published the following paper Titled: Experiments which prove platina, when combined with gold and silver, to be soluble in nitric acid.
In the paper, Percival Johnson showed that small quantities of platinum mixed with gold and silver in nitric acid cause a facilitated separation of pure gold, from the solution.
Through his work, he proved to his father that he was a skilled assayer and mineralogist.
In 1817, Percival became a full partner in his father's assaying firm; this is the same year often referenced to be the year when the Johnson Matthey Company was established.
Johnson's knowledge in assaying precious metals, allowed him to find the exact value and purity of a gold bar by applying chemical tests to the physical metal.
The firm became the first London assayer to offer a guarantee on the quality of a gold bar; the business grew when Johnson began to offer buy-backs on the bars of gold he assayed.
Percival built a small gold refinery for the gold bars that were coming into his growing business.
He proved to his customers to be proficient at the extraction of Platinum Group Metals and other ores from gold bars; which established his firm in the London Bullion Market, for its technical abilities.
Over the next few years, Johnson added a few partners in his company.
In 1832, he added George Stokes to the firm, creating the partnership of Johnson and Stokes.
Stokes died in 1835, a few years later in 1837, William John Cook (1813–1892) a skilled assayer, joined the firm, creating the partnership of Johnson & Cook.
Then in 1838, George Matthey (1825–1913), joined the firm as an apprentice to Perival Johnson and William Cook, at the young age of 13.
George Matthey was an excellent assayer and chemist, he studied at the Royal College of Chemistry; he also proved to Johnson to be a fast learner and became very interested in platinum refining.
Matthey developed a "head for business" and wanted to build Johnson's firm into a great company.
In 1851, Johnson made George Matthey a full partner in the firm, creating the Johnson Matthey Company.
Matthey pushed Johnson to expand the company's capabilities, Matthey is regarded to be the one who transformed the business into the International Conglomerate it is today.
Today, the company is moving in the direction of new technologies including fuel cells, medical devices and emission control catalysts.
The P.R. Mallory Company began in 1916 in Port Chester, New York, the company was started as a tungsten wire manufacturer.
In 1924, Phillip Rogers Mallory, the founder of the company, moved his company to Indianapolis, Indiana.
P.R. Mallory later formed the Mallory Metallurgical Company. The company engineered electrical alloys and composites made from silver, copper and tungsten.
The P.R. Mallory worked with Henry Ford to create the first applications for Electrical Resistance Welding.
In addition, during World War II, P.R. Mallory teamed up with Samuel Ruben and created the first mercury cell battery, millions were manufactured by his company for the war effort.
The P.R. Mallory Company later revolutionized the battery industry creating the alkaline manganese battery, and in 1964 the company registered "Duracell" as its trademark.
In 1947, Johnson Matthey started a limited partnership with P.R. Mallory, creating Johnson Matthey & Mallory Limited..
The partnership was headquartered in Toronto, Canada, where its refinery was located.
The majority of the metals refined for the company were used for industrial purposes.
It is unknown as to when the partnership began to produce investment grade bullion, but the company produced gold and silver bullion bars and rounds until the end of the partnership in 1977.
The majority of the gold and silver bars refined by the limited partnership used the Johnson Matthey & Mallory Identification Marks found in this short section about Mallory bullion.
CMW Inc., a welding company, was a started by P.R. Mallory.
The Johnson Matthey partnership with Mallory created silver bars, in limited supply, for the company.
The Identification mark on these bars is found at the top left of this page.
Furthermore, in the last few years, fake silver bars with the JM&M Identification mark have been observed on the secondary market; example here.
If you find a JM & M bar or a Johnson Matthey & Mallory silver or Gold Bullion bar on the secondary market, the bar should look more weathered and the bar will not have any markings on its reverse side, like this bar here.
The Johnson Matthey & Mallory company produced poured and minted bullion bars.
Johnson Matthey is commonly known in the bullion market for their precious metals rounds and bars.
During the 70's & 80's, two refining giants produced a great deal of
the world's investment grade bullion; Johnson Matthey and Engelhard
were constantly battling each other, for market share.
Johnson Matthey produced Bullion Rounds for Gold, Silver, and Palladium.
After Engelhard came out with the American Prospector round, Johnson Matthey created the Freedom Series rounds and other decorative silver rounds.
The 1ozt. Silver Freedom rounds came in a set of 10, each round is inscribed with a Freedom that Americans hold dearly.
The Freedom rounds were only produced in silver.
Johnson Matthey and Engelhard produced a "Liberty Trade Silver" round, these rounds are harder to find than the "Freedom" or "American Prospector" rounds.
The rounds are identified with Lady Liberty on the obverse side and her torch on the reverse.
Johnson Matthey produced a proof and non-proof (bullion) version of the round.
Look for the Johnson Matthey or Engelhard logo/trademark, on the bottom of the reverse side, to authenticate these rounds.
In addition, a mid 1980's year will be inscribed directly across from the logo, on the other side of the torch.
These rounds range from 1/2ozt. to 5ozt. in size, all have very limited mintages.
Johnson Matthey (and Engelhard) also produced "Liberty Trade Silver" bars in the same size range, as the rounds.
Note: If the round is made by Engelhard, the Engelhard "E" logo (or trademark) will be in the same place as the "JM" logo is located, in the photo (above).
Johnson Matthey often produced gold and other silver rounds for many
private companies and organizations.
These rounds were often produced with detailed artistic designs, inscribed on them, from the company or organization that commissioned the round.
These customers included: Xerox, Scotia Bank, the Lions Club, The
Royal Bank, The National Bank of New York, TD Bank, King FooK (a Hong Kong based jewellery company), and the Walt Disney Company and many others.
In the mid 2000's, the StillWater Mining Company released Palladium Rounds and bars that consisted of Palladium refined by Johnson Matthey.
StillWater Mining Company is based in Billings, Montana. The company
primarily mines palladium and platinum. It is the only miner of platinum group metals in the United States.
The palladium rounds and bars were named after Lewis & Clark, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the pioneer's expedition, across America, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson.
The palladium in these rounds and bars, were mined by Stillwater Mining Company, refined by Johnson Matthey, and were minted by the Northwest Territorial Mint.
The .9995 fine palladium round were minted in the following sizes:
The StillWater Palladium bars have only been observed in the 1ozt. size.
The rounds and bars are usually found inside an assayers card, with a six digit serial number on the card.
On March 6th, 2015, Asahi Refining, a Japanese company, acquired Johnson Matthey's gold and silver refining businesses. (Press Release)
From the press release, the CEO of Asahi Holdings stated the following about the acquisition:
“We are proud and humbled to acquire a business with such a rich history and tradition of quality, precision, and expertise.
I am convinced that combining these new facilities with our existing assets will foster global growth and technological innovation well into the future.
We also look forward to developing our relationships with our global partners. ” - Mitsuharu Terayama
Asahi Holdings is a precious metals recycling company founded in 1952.
Throughout the years it has grown to
become a London Good Delivery refiner now operating in 6 countries
through its subsidiaries processing gold, silver, and platinum group
Johnson Matthey stopped producing all smaller sized gold and silver bullion bars in the year 2000. The company was the largest manufacturer of minted bars in North America, for nearly 30years (1971-2000).
However, the company did continue to produce Gold & Silver LBMA "Good Delivery" bullion bars, used in the wholesale and professional investment markets.
Johnson Matthey started to produce the gold 400ozt. "Good Delivery" bars in 1961.
In May of 2012, Johnson Matthey licensed their name to the Sunshine
Shortly thereafter, the Sunshine Mint started the production of 1ozt. Silver bullion bars with the Johnson Matthey name and Logo and offered them through a few key wholesalers. See article here.
Unfortunately, due to falling precious metals prices and a refocusing of the companies business, Johnson Matthey announced on December 15th of 2014, that they were going to completely exit the Gold & Silver Refining business.
As of March, 2015, the company has completely exited from the refining of gold and silver, which is explained in this article from the Bullion Vault: Johnson Matthey Exits Gold & Silver Refining After 160 Years.
Furthermore, you can also see that the company has been removed from the LBMA's list of Current Gold & Silver Refiners here.
Johnson Matthey's refinery produced two types bullion bars, Cast (Poured) & Minted Bars.
Cast Bullion Bars - are produced by pouring molten precious metal directly into a mold. Markings are usually stamped on the bar using a hammer or a press. The surface of the bar can be uneven and have some small pits and grooves.
In addition, company markings on cast bars will look depressed or "sunken," into the bar
Minted Bullion Bars - are cut from a cast bar that has been rolled to a uniform thickness. The cutting is done with a die to create blanks that have a specified dimension and weight. All the surfaces are smooth and even.
Markings are stamped onto the bar using a minting press. In addition, company markings on minted bars will be "raised" due to this process.
(Minted bullion photo provided courtesy of Heraeus)
In General, serial numbers on bars, that are Not "Good Delivery" bars, are put on bars and or assay cards as a service for the individual investor; to help them to keep track of the bullion they own.
Serial numbers have been observed in the following ways on Johnson Matthey Bars and Assay Cards: (Includes: Gold, Silver, Platinum & Palladium)
No uniformity has been found among these numbers, except that bars produced in the same batch share the same series of serial numbers.
In addition, consecutive numbered bars of the same size and precious metal, have been observed.
A list of some of the Silver Johnson Matthey bullion bars and the serial numbers associated with them, can be found here.
The following is how Johnson Matthey applied serial numbers to their Gold 400ozt. LBMA "Good Delivery" Bars:
Johnson Matthey produced Silver bullion bars as small as 1gram up to
the 1000ozt. LBMA 'Good Delivery' size.
Silver bullion bars under the one troy ounce size are usually much harder to find. You should expect the value of these bars to be higher than the intrinsic value of the bullion, due to their size and limited mintage.
Furthermore, Johnson Matthey made several different sized silver bullion bars, cast and poured, in the following sizes:
Johnson Matthey Silver bars/ingots were produced at various refineries located in the following countries:
Below, are the Identification Marks (ID marks) for the Johnson Matthey Refineries that were located in these countries.
Note: Most of the ID Marks are re-creations of the originals, photos of the originals are shown, if available.
SLC - is the ID Mark for the Salt Lake City refinery.
The "JM" diamond mark, to the left, is often found with the oval ID Mark on the same bar. Furthermore, this mark was used universally by Johnson Matthey on their silver bullion bars/ingots.
The maple leaf (above) is often found on the same bar with one of the other Johnson Matthey identification marks.
No images of Johnson Matthey Silver Bars from Australia have been observed. If you have one and would like to submit its "ID Mark" for reference purposes, please use this contact link.
The following information is known to be on inside the oval of a Johnson Matthey silver bullion bar/ingot refined in Australia.
The following Johnson Matthey Identification Marks have been observed on silver bullion bars, however none of them specify the refinery's country of origin.
Johnson Matthey Gold bars are a little easier to find than Engelhard gold bars; Engelhard produced far less gold bullion bars than, Johnson Matthey.
The known sizes of the gold Johnson Matthey bars are:
Johnson Matthey Gold bar/ingots were produced at various refineries located in the following countries:
Below, are the Identification Marks (ID marks / Stamps) for the Johnson Matthey Refineries that were located in these countries.
Note: Most of the ID Marks are re-creations of the originals, photos of the originals are shown, if available.
Gold Bullion refined at Johnson Matthey's Hong Kong facility had the following words inside the oval;
The following Johnson Matthey Identification Marks have been observed on gold bullion bars, however they do not specify the refinery's country of origin.
Notice: If you have a Johnson Matthey Gold or Silver bar/ingot with a Identification Mark that is not presented on this page; Please use this contact link if you would like to share it with others, on this guide, for reference purposes. Thank You.
Although, Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) is Johnson Matthey's specialty in refining, they aren't really known among bullion investors for Platinum or Palladium bullion bars.
There are only two known sized bullion bars for these metals, they include:
Furthermore, even-though the company has gotten out of gold and silver investment market, they continue to refine palladium & platinum for Investment Grade Bullion Coins for Australia, Canada and the United States.
Johnson, Matthey and the Chemical Society - 200yrs of precious metals expertise
Johnson Matthey Plc. - Encyclopedia.com
GoldBarsWorldWide.com - pdf. Johnson Matthey
(other sources have links throughout this webpage)
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