Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about gold coins. Where necessary, there are links to other pages on this site where more detail is given.
What kinds of gold coins can I buy?
There are basically two kinds of gold coins on the market – modern bullion coins like the American Eagle or the Krugerrand, and historical coins which were used as currency in the past, like $10 gold Indian Heads, British gold sovereigns or French gold 20 Franc pieces. These are also called circulation coins, as they were formerly used just like base metal coins, to buy things.
Where can I buy gold coins?
You can buy them on Amazon, from online auctions like eBay, from online coin dealers, or directly from the mints that make them. Choose the type of coin that interests you from the menus on the left and there will be options on that page to browse or buy.
What exactly is a bullion coin?
A bullion coin is a coin which has been issued in relatively recent times by government mints in the USA, Europe, Australia or other countries to allow their populations to buy gold in the form of coins, for investment purposes. These coins may or may not have a currency value stamped on them, but they always indicate the purity, for example .999 gold, and the weight. Sometimes these coins are alloyed with silver, copper or other metal to make them slightly harder and better wearing than pure gold would be.
Where can I sell gold coins?
You can sell direct to dealers or collectors, or on online auction sites.
Where can I get my gold coins valued?
You can go do a local coin dealer, browse similar coins on eBay, or buy a reference book like the Standard Catalog of Modern World Gold Coins, 1801-Present, which gives coin values.
What is the best way to invest in gold – bullion, historical coins, or remote ownership?
Any gold is good to own, and it depends on your personal preferences. Bullion coins are the cheapest way to acquire physical gold in your hand, weight for weight. Historical coins are often beautiful, and high quality examples appreciate in value quite quickly as time passes. Remote ownership – buying gold and having it stored in a vault – means you buy at very little over spot price, the gold is stored securely, but your gold remains in the hands of a third party.
What is a St Gaudens?
The St Gaudens Double Eagle is a type of American gold coin with a face value of $20, issued in the early 20th century century, and designed by the artist Augustus St Gaudens. The coins weigh almost one ounce, and some years have a very high premium.
What is a gold proof coin? What is a brilliant uncirculated (BU) coin?
Proof coins are versions of normal coins, but produced by special dies, which give proof coins a mirror-like finish. They are collector’s items, and more expensive to buy than the normal versions. BU coins are normal coins which have not been handled, but put straight into protective cases or boxes, and so are as perfect as possible.