Collectible and Bullion Gold Coins
Gold has been used as money longer than any other material. In the United States, the first gold coins were authorized under The Coinage Act of 1792, which established the US Mint and regulated US coinage. It provided authorization to produce $10 Gold Eagles, $5 Gold Half Eagles, and $2.50 Gold Quarter Eagles as well as copper coins and silver coins. The Coinage Act of 1849 further authorized the $20 Gold Double Eagle and Gold Dollar. Currently, the United States produces gold coins in the form of bullion coins, collectible versions of the bullion coins and commemorative coins. There are a variety of popular gold bullion coins also available from other countries.
The South African Gold Krugerrand was the first gold coin with a legal tender value linked to gold. It was introduced in 1967 and minted to contain exactly one ounce of gold. This made the coin immediately popular for bullion investors. The success of the Krugerrand led other world mints to create coins suited for bullion investors.
The next major world mint to create a gold bullion coin was the Royal Canadian Mint which began offering the Gold Maple Leaf in 1979. From their release they were often noted as the world’s purest gold bullion coin. The purity was .999 when the coins were launched. This composition was later offered with a purity of .9999. Some special issues have a purity of “five nines” or .99999.
Later issued gold bullion coins include the Gold Philharmonic issued by the Austria, the Gold Panda issued by China, and the Gold Kangaroo from Australia. The Philharmonic has been the world’s top selling gold bullion coin for some years. The Gold Panda and Gold Kangaroo have typically featured designs which change each year, providing a unique aspect for bullion investors.
The United States entered the world gold bullion market in 1986 with the American Gold Eagle. These coins were minted in 22 karat gold and issued in four different sizes, one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce. From the beginning, the US Mint has also produced special versions of the coins for collectors. This has included proof coins, reverse proof coins, and uncirculated coins.
The US Mint later launched a 24 karat gold offering known as the American Gold Buffalo. This coin was launched in 2006 and also included special versions for collectors. In 2007, a series of gold coins featuring the First Spouses of the United States was launched. Each year features four or five different designs.