One way to invest in the precious metal gold is to purchase bullion coins. A bullion coin differs from a numismatic coin because its value comes from its precious metal content, not because the coin is rare or has historical significance. Experts recommend that investors hold bullion coins, leaving the numismatics to collectors. The most widely circulated bullion coins contain 90 to 99.99 percent pure gold and weigh one ounce.
Coins are easy to store and transport and can be sold quickly when necessary. The most popular bullion coins offer a great way for investors to expand their portfolio to include gold. They are accepted within many countries and are considered legal currency within their home nation. Value is determined by the internationally quoted price of the precious metal they contain.
The South African Krugerrand is the landmark and most popular golden bullion coin. As a 22-karat (91.67 percent pure) golden coin, it is alloyed with copper to increase its durability and hardness. This was the first golden bullion coin in the world, minted in 1967. The obverse features a profile of Paul Kruger, State President of the South African Republic, and an image of a springbok antelope is depicted on the reverse. This coin does not feature a face value, instead denominated in ounces of pure precious metal. Krugerrands contain 1/10, ¼, ½, or one ounce of precious metal and more than 54 million of them have been sold worldwide.
Issued each year, the Vienna Philharmonic coin is struck in 24-karat (999.9 fine) gold. It is issued in four face values, weights, and sizes and was the best-selling golden coin on the planet in 1992, 1995, and 1996, according to the World Gold Council. The obverse features the organ from the Golden Hall in the Musikverein, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra concert hall. On the reverse is an assortment of musical instruments.
American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins are currently the best-selling golden bullion coins in the world. First minted in 1986, more than 13 million of them have been sold to date. Available in 1/10, ¼, ½, and one ounce sizes, these coins are minted in West Point, New York. They are 22-karat so they contain 91.67 percent precious metal and the remainder is a copper-silver alloy. An important note for both this and the Kruggerand is that both contain one troy ounce of the precious metal.
The Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coin was first minted in 1979. Between that year and 1982, the coins featured 0.999 precious metal. It was the first official golden bullion coin of Canada and became quite popular because an economic boycott of South Africa rendered the Krugerrand relatively unavailable. The current Maple Leafs feature 24-karat (0.9999 fine) precious metal and are sold in 1/20, 1/10, ¼, ½, and one-ounce denominations.
These coins are produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and the obverse of the newest coins feature a picture of Queen Elizabeth at age 79 years. Older versions contain a picture of Her Majesty at age 64. The reverse of the coins features a detailed picture of the maple leaf, the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.
The Chinese Gold Panda is actually a series of coins introduced in 1982 by the mints of the People’s Republic of China. Every year but one since the coin was introduced, the panda design on the reverse has changed. The obverse features the Temple of Heaven and these coins are unique because they do not feature mintmarks. Denominations and sizes range from 1/20 troy ounce to one troy ounce of precious metal. During certain years, larger five and 12-ounce coins were issued.
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