Gold coins are a popular investment choice for many people in the United States. While there are many different types of gold coins available, there are a few that are particularly common among buyers and sellers.
What Makes a Gold Coin Popular?
A few factors behind the most popular gold coins include:
- Historical significance: A coin that can be considered a historical object or artifact holds an academic and social value that goes beyond its material worth.
- Craftsmanship: If a coin is especially intricate or well made, it can be more desirable based on the skill or hours of labor required to make it.
- Uniqueness: Limited coin designs, rare pieces, misprints, and other uncommon coins can be extremely desirable for their collectible and artistic value.
- Quality and purity: The higher the amount and quality of a coin’s gold content, the more it will be worth in material value. This usually makes the coin more desirable.
- Investment and trading value: A coin can also be popular because it is especially easy to trade and acquire as an investment medium.
The Most Popular Bullion Coins
- Gold American Eagle: The most common type of gold coin that people buy and sell in the United States is the Gold American Eagle. This coin was first introduced in 1986 and is produced by the United States Mint. The American Gold Eagle is available in four different sizes: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. The design of the coin features Lady Liberty holding a torch on the obverse and a family of eagles on the reverse.
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: Another popular type of gold coin is the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. This coin was first introduced in 1979 and is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is available in four different sizes: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. The design of the coin features an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and a maple leaf on the reverse.
- South African Krugerrand: The South African Gold Krugerrand is also a common type of gold coin that is bought and sold in the United States. This coin was first introduced in 1967 and is produced by the South African Mint. Initially, the South African Gold Krugerrand was only available in one size: 1 oz. However, starting from 1980, smaller sizes (1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz) were also introduced. The design of the coin features the image of Paul Kruger, the former President of South Africa, on the obverse and a springbok antelope on the reverse.
- Gold American Buffalo: The American Gold Buffalo is the first-ever U.S. coin to be 24K gold with 0.999 fineness and 1 troy oz size. This coin was first produced in the United States in 2006, and it is well loved for its beautiful artwork. Both sides of the coin feature work by American sculptor James Earle Fraser, with the front mimicking the appearance of a 1913 buffalo nickel. The reverse features the image of a buffalo, based on a real buffalo who lived in the Central Park Zoo in the 1910s.
- Gold British Britannia: The Royal Mint first introduced this coin in Great Britain in 1987, and its elegant design and high fineness makes it very popular. The obverse features a variety of British monarchs, depending on the year it was minted. The reverse features a depiction of Britannia, a figure that personifies Britain. Britannias are primarily minted in a 1 troy oz size. Other sizes, including 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10 oz, have also been produced.
- Chinese Gold Panda: First introduced in China in 1982, this is a highly collectible coin made from 0.999 fine gold. Both sides of the coin feature different designs each year, with the exception of 2001 and 2002 where the same design was used, but the reverse design always features at least one panda. While initially the Chinese Gold Panda coins were measured in troy ounces, since 2016, they’ve been measured in metric units (grams) to align more closely with the metric system used in China. They are now issued in sizes of 1 gram, 3 grams, 8 grams, 15 grams, and 30 grams, which are close, but not exactly equivalent, to 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz, respectively.
- Australian Gold Kangaroo: Initially released as the Australian Gold Nugget in 1986 by the Perth Mint, its reverse design was changed to feature a kangaroo in 1990. This resulted in the coin being popularly known as the Australian Gold Kangaroo. The reverse image changes annually, but always features at least one kangaroo, while the obverse maintains a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
This is one of the largest, most valuable coins currently available. It is also still usable as legal tender. Each year’s designs are different, but all coins minted since 1990 have featured at least one kangaroo on the reverse. The Gold Kangaroo is available in 1 kilogram, 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz.
- Austrian Gold Philharmonic: This coin was first minted in 1989 as legal tender worth 2000 Schillings (100 Euros, today). It’s made from 0.999 fine gold and is extremely popular for its artwork, based on the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. The obverse depicts a beautiful pipe organ, while the reverse depicts a selection of other instruments.
The Austrian Philharmonic is one of the best-selling coins in the world, and it is available in five sizes, measured in troy ounces: 1/25 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz. However, the 1/25 oz size was introduced more recently in 2014.
Although some of these coins are not produced in the United States, they are still popularly traded in the country. These coins are produced by their respective national mints and feature unique designs on their obverse and reverse.
When buying gold coins, it is important to do your research and work with a reputable dealer. Look for dealers who are members of professional organizations, such as the Professional Numismatists Guild or the American Numismatic Association, and who have a track record of fair business practices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gold Coins
If you’re curious about the history and trading of gold bullion coins, take a look at the following answers to frequent questions.
Which gold coin is the most famous?
Arguably the most famous gold coin is the South African Krugerrand, as it was the first gold bullion coin to be produced in modern times (1967) and was the best-selling coin for more than a decade. The Krugerrand has dropped in market share over time and is not necessarily the most traded, but it remains very popular and famous for its historic role.
Which gold coin is traded the most often?
As of August 2023, the most traded gold coin in the U.S. and the world is the Gold American Eagle. The South African Krugerrand is also still traded very often, despite its drop in status.
What are the most popular gold coins in the U.S.?
The most common United States gold coin is the American Eagle. It’s the leading gold bullion program from the U.S. Mint, with over 1.5 million 1-oz coins sold in May 2023 alone.¹
Are gold coins a good investment?
As a physical, tangible asset, gold investing is a convenient and unique way to diversify your portfolio. It may be years before your gold’s value increases significantly, but it’s a good long-term investment that can protect against inflation and other economic changes. Even if the face value of other currencies drop, your gold will still have material value.
Sell Your Gold Coins with Cash for Gold USA
If you have gold bullion coins from a prior investment or inheritance, you can sell them to Cash for Gold USA for fair market value. Send us your coins from the convenience of home, and we’ll have them appraised within 24 hours of receipt. If you’re not happy with our offer, we’ll return your gold to you at no additional charge.
Fill out our short online form today to request your free gold coin appraisal kit.