Why Buy Gold
Gold is not used as a currency today, but its role as money makes it superior to any currency. One of the crucial promises of money is that it serves as a long-term store of value. Gold fulfills this promise better than any fiat currency. Gold’s price fluctuates, but its value is timeless. Consider how gold will preserve your purchasing power over the next, say, five years compared to your currency. All paper currencies, by their very nature, lose value over time. Gold is also ideal because it is easy to sell and can be carried in your pocket anywhere you go. Gold is highly liquid.
History of Gold
While pieces of natural gold have been discovered in Spanish caves that date as far back as 40,000 B.C., it wasn’t until 3600 B.C. that gold was melted down by Egyptian goldsmiths. The Egyptians were part of some of the earliest gold conquests, using prisoners of war, slaves and criminals to work the primitive gold mines of their time. This all took place during a time when gold had no official monetary value or significance but was sought after simply because of its high desirability as a commodity. It wasn’t until December of 1971 that the next landmark event in the American history of gold would take place.
During that month, members of ten different countries and the central banks of England and the United States, called the Group of Ten, would meet at the Smithsonian Museum and sign the Smithsonian agreement that effectively adjusted the fixed exchange rates that had been previously established at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944.
It was during that conference that over 700 delegates from 44 allied nations in Bretton Woods New Hampshire established an international fixed exchange rate system based. Under this system, currencies were pegged to the U.S. dollar, convertible to gold at $35 per ounce.
Fast forward to 1971, when President Richard Nixon suspended the convertibility of dollars into gold, which culminated in a purposeful defaulting on the United States debt.
Almost immediately his administration began negotiating with industrialized countries to determine a new exchange rate.
While meeting at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. in December of 1971, a group of ten countries referred to simply as the Group of Ten, signed the Smithsonian Agreement. At that point the U.S. promised to peg the dollar at $38 per ounce of gold, along with 2.25% trading bands.
Additionally the signing countries agreed to appreciate their currencies against the dollar.
Even though President Nixon touted the Smithsonian Agreement as a reorganization and improvement of international monetary affairs, the continued lack of discipline on the part of the Federal Reserve and the United States government caused pressure on the established rate and an eventual 10 percent devaluation of the dollar.
It was in a matter of decades, every country involved in the Smithsonian Agreement decided to let their currencies float, effectively breaking the agreement.
Types of Gold to Buy
In most families, coins will remain for generations. Each recipient will start to realize the value that their inheritance offers especially as the value of certain gold coins increase with time. Gold coins are collectible investments due to their scarcity, design, and demand. Every year new coins are minted which may never be produced ever again. Those coins become increasingly popular with time as demand for them increases.
Gold Bullion Coins
Gold bullion coins can be purchased in a variety of sizes. The smallest possible size being 1/25 ounces and the largest size being one kilogram. You can find sizes that cover every possible size in between. Of course the most commonly purchased size is a 1 oz gold coin which collectors and investors purchase more than any other size.
Gold Bullion Bars
Buying gold bars is one of the easiest, safest, and most cost-effective ways to purchase physical gold. Gold bars will match coins in terms of purity and content and yet most often than not, they will cost less over the spot price for gold coins because of the way they are produced.
Gold Bullion Rounds
Collectors who are focused more on the stable purchasing power that gold has to offer will find financial security in gold bullion rounds. These are circular discs that do not have a face value and are not legal tender. They are not nearly as diverse or collectible as coins but they are still perfectly suited for collectors looking to buy gold.
American Gold Eagle Coins
The official gold coin of the United States, the American Gold Eagle coins are available on an annual basis in three familiar versions and four different weights. The American Eagle Gold coin comes in various sizes. This variety makes them easy to add to all investor portfolios. Sizes range from 1/10 oz up to 1 oz. At USA Mint, there are also Gold Eagle coin sets that come in various sizes to maximize the potential of the portfolio. The popularity of these pieces is evident throughout history and they remain among the most popular coins in the world today. Since its introduction in 1986, the series has been in high demand every year. These stunning coins serve as a reminder of the majesty, longevity, and strength of the American nation. Each Gold Eagle coin from the United States Mint features images of the nation’s most iconic symbols, from its official national emblem of the American bald eagle to that towering symbol of freedom and democracy known to most simply as Lady Liberty.
When looking for gold for sale, the American Gold Eagle comes to mind for most numismatists and collectors. The coins are struck by the United States Mint, and the metal content and purity of each are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Learn more about the American Gold Eagle below.
History of the American Gold Eagle
American Gold Eagle Coins were authorized for production by the United States Congress with the passage of the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. Under the terms of legislation, the program was to contain four different weights in total (1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz) and include two different versions initially (bullion and proof). Congress set the face value for the coins as is standard practice with any legal tender issued by the United States Mint.
The first American Gold Eagle coins were produced and made available for purchase in 1986. The bullion gold coin program was immediately available with all four weights, while the proof version of the coin featured only a 1 oz coin in 1986. The proof program expanded to include the ½ oz weight in 1987, and the ¼ oz and 1/10 oz coins in 1988.
For the 20th anniversary of the American Eagle coin series, which includes the Silver Eagle, in 2006, the United States Mint introduced a new burnished version of the coin. The Burnished American Gold Eagle was introduced specifically for coin collectors. Although the United States Mint already had the proof version of the Gold Eagle available for collectors, the burnished version of the coin had a unique minting process that gave it enhanced value for those numismatists interested in the display and exhibition of visually brilliant coins.
Gold Eagle Series Design
The United States Mint chose a historic American coinage design for the American Gold Eagle. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was hand-picked by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to help revitalize US gold coinage with a brilliant new design.
Saint-Gaudens crowning achievement was the Lady Liberty design that features Liberty in full-length figure, her hair and robe flowing freely in the breeze as she strides forward confidently from the nation’s capital. In her right and left hand is a torch for light, and an olive branch signifying peace; all the things she’ll need to guide the nation toward a peaceful if unknown, future.
His original design was used on the $20 Gold Double Eagle coin. In circulation from 1907 to 1933, it is considered the finest design on the greatest coin in American history. Saint-Gaudens himself never lived to see his design come to fruition on an American coin though, passing away due to complications from illness just months before the coins were released in 1907.
In Saint-Gaudens’ original design, Liberty was featured striding forward with the US Capitol Building at her feet, the rays of the setting sun at her back, and 46 stars surrounding her along the coin’s rim. In 1912, Congress authorized the addition of two stars to his design to recognize the addition of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union. In order for the image to be used on the American Gold Eagle, two stars were added to recognize the post-World War II addition of Hawaii and Alaska to the Union.
The reverse side of the coin features a family of nesting bald eagles and was designed by Miley Busiek. In the image, a male bald eagle returns to the nest with branches in its talons. In the nest, a female is depicted standing vigilant guard over the young hatchlings in the nest. Busiek’s design was created in 1986 and is used exclusively on the American Gold Eagle.
Gold Eagle Coins
The leading product in the American Gold Eagle lineup is the bullion coin. As mentioned earlier, the bullion coin has been the most stable product in the lineup. It has been offered by the United States Mint every year, in all four weights, since its introduction in 1986. The bullion coins have followed a fairly predictable up-and-down mintage flow over the course of more than 30 years of availability.
When the bullion Gold Eagles were introduced in 1986, demand exceeded 1.3 million for the 1 oz coin alone, with the ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz coins hitting 599,000, 726,000, and 912,000 respectively. Demand for the coins cooled throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, before peaking again in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. The early to mid-2000s saw another significant decline in mintage figures, until the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, when the gold eagles soared to new heights with mintage figures of 1.49 million, 110,000, 110,000, and 270,000 respectively from 1 oz down to 1/10 oz.
Mintage figures again dropped back down until 2014, with 2015 and 2016 both posting year-over-year gains in mintage. Most American Gold Eagle bullion coins are available at this time in BU condition from USA Mint. A coin in BU condition exhibits no signs of wear and tear, though you may notice minor flaws ranging from breaks in the luster and spotted surfaces to contact marks from the coining process.
Proof Gold Eagle Coins
The Proof American Gold Eagles are an excellent cornerstone piece of any personal collection. The difference between bullion and proof coins is significant when it comes to the inherent value of the coin itself. All American Gold Eagle coins, regardless of style and finish, bear a face value reflective of the gold content by weight issued by the United States government.
However, the Proof American Gold Eagle coin has a greater value than even its bullion counterpart. All versions of the coin have a value well beyond their face value, holding a value that is in line with the price of gold and based upon the purity and metal content of the coin. For the Proof American Gold Eagle, the value can soar well beyond even the bullion version with certification from one of the nation’s, and world’s, two most respected certification companies.
While the Proof Gold Eagles have likewise seen ebbs and flow in their demand, actual mintage figures have swayed much less distinctly in numeric terms compared to the bullion coins. While bullion coinage has since dropped more than a million coins in mintage levels over certain five-year periods, the proof coins have always remained within roughly the same range from lows of 12,000 to highs of 45,000. Only a few years have seen mintage levels far exceeding those maximums.
Burnished Gold Eagle Coins
The United States Mint begins the coining process for burnished gold eagles by loading all of the blanks, known as planchets, into a spinning drum. In the past, this step in the process used wet sand as a friction agent that served as a polishing media to give the blanks a unique finish before even being struck. Today, the United States Mint uses countless 6mm balls to create a smooth, matte-like finish on the surface of the blanks.
Once each blank has been sent through the spinning drum, the individual blanks are taken out one at a time by mint employees wearing white gloves.
The blanks are transferred by hand, wearing gloves, to the coining press in order to avoid contaminating the finish of the blanks with oil and dirt from human skin. Each blank is then hand loaded into the coining press for striking. All blanks are struck under greater pressure than bullion coins and regular circulation currency, creating a striking finish. Although the Burnished American Gold Eagle undergoes a similar coining process to proof coins, the appearance of these coins is often compared more closely to that of the bullion coin in the series. The polishing process the coins go through before striking, along with the higher pressure coining process, leaves each coin with a softly frosted appearance. The process also creates a more detailed appearance to the design features, such as Lady Liberty and the bald eagles on the reverse.
Each design set’s frosted finish gives it the appearance of floating above the background field of the coin, which is deeply-mirrored. The major distinguishing characteristic for the casual observer is the presence of a mint mark on the Burnished American Gold Eagle. While the bullion coins do not feature a mintmark, all burnished gold eagles have a “W” mint mark to identify the West Point Mint as the production facility.
Burnished Gold Eagles were originally available in all four weights with high demand, but following the 2009 halt in proof and burnished production, the American Gold Eagle returned with only the 1 oz coin available and mintage figures that were much lower. The most recent figure is 6,888 coins for the 2016 release of the Burnished American Gold Eagle, which is down from post-2009 highs set in 2011 and 2014.
Certified Bullion Gold Eagle
Both the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service issue coins a grade between 1 and 70 on the Sheldon Numeric Scale. Developed in 1948 by Dr. William Sheldon, this scale helps to identify the specific condition of individual coins in a very detailed manner.
Prior to the development of the Sheldon Scale, coins were graded on physical condition and placed into one of three categories: Good, Fine, and Uncirculated. It was quickly discovered that any two coins within the same category could feature meaningful differences in value and condition, even if they were of the same general condition. For example, some Fine coins were in better condition than other Fine coins. Today, the NGC and PCGS use the 1 to 70 Sheldon Scale to certify the condition of all coins it grades.
Each grade starts with a strike type, which includes these following options:
- MS: Stands for Mint State, and identifies a coin struck in the same format as circulation issues and applies to grades 60 through 70.
- PF: Stands for Proof, and identifies coins struck in a special format to attract the eye of collectors.
- SP: A Specimen coin is one that has a hybrid strike type between Mint State and Proof.
The most common Certified Bullion Gold Eagle coins have the grades of MS 70 and MS 69. These grades identify coins as follows:
- MS/PF 70: These coins are considered perfect specimens with no post-production imperfections when viewed under 5x magnification, and include their full, original mint luster.
- MS/PF 69: These are considered near-perfect coins with nearly imperceptible imperfections. Though they maintain full, original mint luster, there is a maximum of two minor imperfections on the coin such as minuscule hairlines.
The NGC and PCGS use a handful of other certification and designation terms for coins that help identify special visual characteristics or unique designations in production.
These include the following:
- Early Release: The NGC applies this designation to coins received for certification within the first 30 days of the release date set by the offering mint.
- First Day: Another designation that applies to coins received for certification within one day of the release date set by the mint, and must arrive in sealed packaging at the NGC or an approved NGC depository.
Certified Proof Gold Eagle
When the NGC and PCGS grade coins, proof or bullion, they use a numeric scale known as the Sheldon scale, which runs from 1 to 70, with the former identifying the lowest possible grade and condition, while the latter identifies a truly perfect and flawless coin. While the spectrum of possible grades is quite wide, the most commonly issued grades by the NGC and PCGS are 69 and 70, respectively.
As you browse the USA Mint website of Proof Certified American Gold Eagle Coins, you’ll come across a variety of terms that may seem unfamiliar. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the commonly used terms so you better understand the value and condition of the Proof Certified American Gold Eagle coins you’re viewing in our online catalog:
- PR/PF70: The highest grade available from either certification service, the PR/PF70 grade indicates a perfect coin. Products in this condition exhibit full, original mint luster and bear no detracting flaws of any kind.
- PR/PF69: The most commonly issued grade by either service, the PR/PF69 grade is reserved for coins that are considered near-perfect specimens. Coins in this condition still exhibit full, original mint luster, but you will also notice a maximum of two minor detracting flaws. These flaws are limited in scope to minuscule contact marks or minor hairlines and always occur outside the primary focal areas of the coin.
- UCAM/DCAM: This term is reserved specifically for proof coins, and it refers to the contrasting finishes and visual brilliance of the coin’s surface. Known as Ultra-cameo and Deep-cameo, the term refers to coins with a strong, frosted finish on the design set and a deeply-mirrored, clear background field. The contrasting finish styles give the design fields the appearance of floating above the coin’s background.
South African Gold Krugerrand
No gold bullion coin in the world has a richer history than the South African Gold Krugerrand. While gold investment-grade coins are now, seemingly, a dime-a-dozen for buyers, there was a time when the Gold Krugerrand was the only choice when buying gold coins for private investment.
History of the South African Gold Krugerrand
The South African Gold Krugerrand coin has a complex history. The coins debuted in 1967 as a means for the South African government to promote the vast gold, precious metal, and gem reserves of the nation. The Gold Krugerrand instantly became the first modern gold bullion coin available for private investment. The coins debuted as a 1 Troy oz specimen with 22-karat gold content.
Although the Gold Krugerrand proved immensely popular right out of the gate, its availability would suffer in the 1970s as a result of Western economic sanctions. At this point in its history, South African was ruled by a minority white government and the system of apartheid in place in the country kept the native black population from gaining control of lands, moving up in society, and adequately representing itself in government.
As a result of this system, and in an effort to break South Africa’s apartheid system through economic measures, Western governments adopted a stiff boycott on South African goods. Though the South African Gold Krugerrand would continue to find its way out of South Africa and into the hands of North American and European buyers, the larger impact was the introduction of other gold coins that Westerners could more easily purchase. From 1967 to 1979, the Gold Krugerrand was the only option. Between 1979 and 1989 though, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, Chinese Gold Panda, American Gold Eagle, British Gold Britannia, and Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins all came to market as other options for gold buyers.
Designs for the South African Gold Krugerrand
The South African Gold Krugerrand coin has long used the same design elements on both its obverse and reverse faces. The only change that has come in over five decades of production is the modernization of the images used on either side. To this day, the South African Gold Krugerrand features these designs:
- Obverse: The left-profile portrait of Paul Kruger features on the obverse surrounded by the Afrikaans term “Suid-Afrika” and the English translation of “South Africa.” Kruger was a popular Boer military and political figure in the late 19th century and later served as President of the South African Republic. His name was combined with the South African currency, the Rand, to form the name of the Krugerrand. The current design available comes from Otto Schultz and was modernized in 1984.
- Reverse: This side of the coins includes the image of a Springbok antelope, the official symbol of the modern Republic of South Africa. The antelope is depicted running across a field with engravings of the year of issue, weight and metal content, as well as the name “Krugerrand” accompanying this design field. Coert Steynberg modernized this design in 1984.
There is one important design element of note that separates bullion Gold Krugerrands from any proof offerings of the South African coin. Both sides of the coin have serrations around the very edge of the design field. Were you to count these serrations, you’d find a total of 160 serrations on the gold bullion coin compared to 220 serrations on the proof coins.
Minting of the South African Gold Krugerrand
When originally released in 1967, the South African Gold Krugerrand had limited mintages each year. From 1967 to 1969, the annual cap was set at 40,000 coins. In 1970, rising demand for and popularity of the Gold Krugerrand helped push mintage higher. The 1970 issue saw 200,000 coins released, rising to 6 million coins for the 1978 issue. Production in the years post-apartheid has been much lower than the highs of the 1970s. In 1998, for example, just 23,277 coins were struck.
Variations of the Gold Krugerrand
The South African Gold Krugerrand may have debuted as a 1 Troy oz coin, but it did not remain as a singular option for long. In 1980, the Gold Krugerrand was so popular that it accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market. In response to its popularity, the South African Mint expanded the collection to feature three fractional-weight coins: 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. To this day, all four versions remain in production with 22-karat (91.67%) gold content.
You’ll also find limited-issue proof Gold Krugerrands struck by the South African Mint. As mentioned earlier, the major design difference between the two comes in the form of the number of serrations noticeable on the coin’s obverse and reverse sides.
Mexican Gold Coins
When it comes to rising stars in the world of precious metals, the official gold bullion coin of Mexico is one of the hottest products out there. Investors and collectors across North America are paying more attention to the Mexican Gold Libertad, a result of the coin’s impressive design and purity level. A wide selection of Mexican Gold Libertads is currently available on USA Mint today.
Origin of the Mexican Gold Libertad
The Libertad is struck in both silver and gold and serves as the official bullion coin of the Mexican government. Although the modern coin was first released in 1981 in gold and produced intermittently throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the coin is the successor to the gold Centenario coin.
In 1921, the Mexican Mint unveiled a gold Centenario coin to commemorate the nation’s centennial celebration of its independence from Spain. The nation launched a number of celebratory events to commemorate the anniversary, including the construction of a statue in Mexico City to honor the Winged Victory, otherwise known as the angel of independence.
This original Centenario had a face value of 50 Pesos, but was not considered legal tender by the Mexican government or Banco de Mexico. The obverse side of that coin featured a replica of Winged Victory, with the Mexican coat of arms shown on the reverse side. Although the designs have changed on the modern Mexican Gold Libertad, the design motif remains the same.
Meet the Mexican Gold Libertad
The first Mexican Gold Libertad was struck in 1981 in a 1 oz, ½ oz, and ¼ oz weight. Minting in that particular year was relatively high, with a total of almost 1 million coins struck across the three weights. However, it would be another 10 years before the Mexican Gold Libertad was struck again. In 1991, the Mexican Mint brought back the Gold Libertad in the original three weights, with two additional fractional-weight coins: the 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz.
Production continued for four years this time, with 1 oz coin strikes produced to meet demand, and strict limits set on the fractional weight coins in three of the four years. Yet another halt to production occurred from 1995 to 2000. The coins were again struck in 2000, but just a total of 15,530 coins were minted across the five weights.
As of 2002, the Mexican Gold Libertad has enjoyed consistent production by the Mexican Mint, with increasing popularity helping push production numbers higher. To date, the Mexican Mint continues to produce the Mexican Gold Libertad in all five weights, with limited numbers of coins produced each year.
In addition to this bullion coin, the Mexican Mint produces a Mexican Gold Libertad in a proof version. The proof version first appeared in 1989 in a ½ oz weight for a one-year production run, reappeared in 2004 with just a ¼ oz proof, and entered regular production in 2005 in all five weights the bullion coin features.
Design History of the Mexican Gold Libertad
When the Mexican Gold Libertad was first unveiled in 1981 as a bullion coin, it featured the original design sets from the gold Centenario coin. On the obverse side of the coin was the front-facing image of Winged Victory. She was featured striding forward with a wreath held aloft in her right hand, and broken chains in her left. The face value was engraved on the left, the metal content and mint mark on the right, and the coin’s weight and year of minting are below.
This original depiction of the angel of independence was an accurate reproduction of her original image. The wreath in her right hand and the broken chains of colonialism represent the push for freedom by Mexican people. In the background, the twin volcanic peaks of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl rise to meet the horizon and are named for a pair of ancient Aztec lovers.
On the reverse side of the original Mexican Gold Libertad is the coat of arms for Mexico. The golden eagle is the national symbol of Mexico and is featured in the coat of arms locked in battle with a rattlesnake. The phrase “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” is engraved above the seal.
As of 2000, the Mexican Gold Libertad features a new, updated design. The statue of Winged Victory is now featured in a side-profile relief, with the angel of independence reaching her right arm out in front of her to hold aloft the wreath, as the chains of colonialism remain clutched in her left hand behind her. The engravings have been shifted to feature the face value, metal content, year of minting, and purity above her image, with the mint mark on the right. The volcanic peaks remain in the background.
On the reverse side, the modern coat of arms for Mexico is featured in the middle, with the phrase “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” above and a wreath below. Surrounding the image, you’ll now see 10 historic versions of the coat of arms used by the government since the nation gained independence.
Canadian Gold Coins
Gold coins are perhaps the most valuable asset in the portfolio of any investor, and collectors look for this coveted yellow metal when searching for the best pieces to add to their personal collections. Gold is quite literally the standard upon which the precious metals industry operates. Countless mints around the globe, both sovereign and private, produce gold bullion options for numismatists and collectors alike.
Few of those gold coin programs are more prominent and sought after than the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin from the Royal Canadian Mint. Today, the Royal Canadian Mint strikes more than 1 billion coins annually. In addition to its popular Canadian Maple Leaf series of gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins, the mint also strikes currency for as many as a dozen other countries.
About Canadian Maple Leaf Coins
The official bullion coin series of the Royal Canadian Mint and the Canadian nation, the Canadian Maple Leaf is one of the world’s most popular coin programs. Introduced for the first time in 1979 as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, these were the first coins in the world to rival the South African Krugerrand in terms of gold bullion demand. No other gold coin, aside from the Krugerrand, had ever been offered strictly for investment purposes.
The obverse of all Canadian Maple Leafs, whether struck in silver, gold, platinum, or palladium feature the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. On the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, three different incarnations of Her Majesty’s profile have appeared. These include the following used to date:
- 1979 to 1989 – The image of a 39-year-old Queen Elizabeth II.
- 1990 to 2004 – A depiction of Queen Elizabeth II at 64 years of age.
- 2005 to Present – Susanna Blunt’s depiction of Her Majesty at the age of 79.
The reverse of all Canadian Maple Leaf coins features the image of the sugar maple leaf. Used on the reverse since the introduction of the gold version in 1979, this image has never changed. The only additions have been security measures, notably radial lines and a microscopic maple leaf privy.
History of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins debuted with .999 pure gold content but were enhanced beginning in November 1982 to include .9999 pure gold. At times, the Royal Canadian Mint has even achieved .99999 pure gold content in its Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins. Each Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin is available in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz, and now 1 Gram. The coins have face values according to their fractional weight, based upon the $50 (CAD) value of the 1 oz. coin.
The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is so popular that the Royal Canadian Mint has launched numerous variants of the coin, including but not limited to:
- 10th Anniversary coin in 1989.
- 125th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mint in 1997.
- 20th Anniversary coin in 1999.
- 25th Anniversary coin in 2004.
- Hologram Gold Maple Leaf coins in 1999, 2001, and 2009.
- Colorized Gold Maple Leaf in 1999 (20th-anniversary edition) and 2010 to celebrate the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
- Numerous 99.999% Gold Maple Leafs (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, etc.)
History of the Royal Canadian Mint
Originally founded in 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint has today grown to become one of the world’s preeminent sovereign mints. The Canadian currency was originally from 1858 until 1908, struck by the Royal Mint in London. The growth of Canada as a nation in its own right, combined with the discovery of gold and other precious metals in the Yukon Territories, eventually facilitated the need for the nation to have its own mint.
The Royal Canadian Mint operated for nearly 70 years with only its original Ottawa coining facility. In 1976, a secondary mint location opened in Winnipeg, nearly 16 years after the government was advised of a need to expand capacity. At one point in time, the Royal Canadian Mint had to turn to the United States Mint to produce circulation currency for the nation.
British Gold Bullion Coins
Gold is the most coveted investment metal for those looking to protect their hard-earned wealth. You can purchase gold products from various mints around the globe, and in different forms. There are gold coins and bars available from private and sovereign facilities alike, and the Royal Mint is among the most popular producers of gold products.
British Gold Britannia Coins
Without question, the gold bullion program that anchors the Royal Mint numismatic offerings is the British Gold Britannia coin. The official gold bullion coin of the United Kingdom was introduced in 1987 with a gold content of .917 fine gold. Since 2013, the coins have been struck as 24-karat pure gold coins with .9999 fine gold content. Like its silver counterpart, the British Gold Britannia coins are celebrating a milestone in 2017 having reached their 30th anniversary of release. Highlights of the modern Gold Britannia include:
- Ships in an individual plastic capsule, a mint tube of 10 coins, or box of 100.
- Contains 1 Troy oz. of .9999 pure gold in BU condition.
- The face value of 100 (GBP) is fully backed by Britain’s government.
As the Gold Britannia is from the same program as the Silver Britannia and was in fact the design basis for the latter, the gold coins in this collection have the same design concepts as the silver coins and have also only seen changes in the design of the obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II over time. Details include:
- On the reverse of the 2017 British Gold Britannia Coin, you’ll find the image of Britannia, which has featured on the coins unchanged for the last 30 years. Britannia originally featured on sovereign coins in the early 18th century at the formation of the United Kingdom between England and Scotland.
- The obverse of all British Gold Britannia Coins includes the new fifth-generation depiction of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s effigy was last updated in 1998 by Ian Rank-Broadley, but in 2015 the Royal Mint unveiled a new image of the Queen from 33-year-old Jody Clark, the youngest engraver and artist ever to complete her portrait.
Unique Britannia Coins
Like other coin programs, there are occasionally opportunities for investors and collectors to nab the Gold Britannia or Silver Britannia with unique design finishes that increase the collectible value of the original product.
On the reverse face of the coin is the image of Britannia, fabled guardian of the United Kingdom. She is featured wearing a Corinthian helmet, holding a trident in her right hand to control the seas, and a shield with the Union Jack emblazoned on it in her left hand. Along the milled edge of these Gold Britannias, you’ll find a privy mark honoring the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The first privy mark on the milled edge of a Britannia occurred in 2013 on the silver variant and came to the Gold Britannia in 2014 for the Year of the Horse, which makes this the third version for the gold coin.
More recently, the Royal Mint launched the 30th anniversary British Gold Britannia coin to mark the original release of these special gold bullion products. The Royal Mint is celebrating two anniversaries for the Britannia program in 2017. The Gold Britannia leads the way in this stunning series with its 30th anniversary, but the Silver Britannia coin marks its 20th anniversary this year with a celebratory release of its own.
Included on the reverse side of both versions of the coin in 2017 is a mint mark that honors the anniversary of the individual programs. Located to the bottom-left of Britannia’s image you’ll find the head of a trident with a “3” and “0” between the spikes, commemorating the 30th anniversary of this famous coin.
Each 2017 1 oz British Gold Britannia Coin is initially available from the mint in BU condition. Coins in BU condition have no signs of wear and tear, though you may notice minor flaws ranging from breaks in the luster and spotted surfaces to contact marks from the production process at the mint.
For the 30th anniversary of the gold coins, the Royal Mint has increased the security of the coins with new protection features. You’ll notice a new high-security radial sunburst emanating from the background field that helps better deter counterfeiting efforts.
Background on the Royal Mint
Originally founded as the London Mint in 886, the British Royal Mint is one of the oldest operating facilities in the world. Throughout its history, the Royal Mint has produced some of the most widely used coins in the world, due in large part to the size and scope of the former British Empire. Coins from the Royal Mint were once used from North America to Europe, Australia, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Today, the Royal Mint remains one of the foremost facilities in the world. The most popular product from the mint is the sovereign Britannia coin. On the reverse facet of each coin is the image of the mythical Britannia, a goddess from Roman times who was believed to have watched over the nation. She is featured on each Silver Britannia coin with a trident in one hand and a shield bearing the Union Jack flag of the United Kingdom, her eyes constantly fixed on the English Channel separating the British Isles from mainland Europe.
The Gold Philharmonics of the Austrian Mint
Investors have a lot of choices when it comes to buying gold, with options ranging from cast gold bars to gold bullion coins from sovereign mints. One of the more popular gold coins in the world is the Austrian Gold Philharmonic. Introduced in 1989 by the Austrian Mint, only a handful of gold coins have been available longer than the Gold Philharmonic.
The Austrian Mint first issued the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins in 1989. Every mint takes a unique approach to the release of its coinage, and the Austrian Mint is no different. When it debuted, the Gold Philharmonic was available only in 1 oz gold and 1/4 oz gold options. Over the course of time, the Austrian Mint expanded the collection to include the following options (debut year):
- 1/10 Troy oz (1991)
- 1/2 Troy oz (1994)
- 1/25 Troy oz (2014)
The focus of the designs in the Austrian Gold Philharmonic series is on the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the finest orchestras in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic was officially formed in 1842. However, informal orchestral performances were commonplace in the Austrian capital city of Vienna as early as the early 1830s.
Designs of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin
The Austrian Mint turned to Chief Engraver Thomas Pesendorfer for the design of its official gold bullion coin. In 1989, Mr. Pesendorfer came up with a design that reflected the cultural pride Austrians have in their beloved orchestra. The following details highlight the designs of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin:
- On the obverse of all Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins is the image of the Musikverein pipe organ. Found inside of the Golden Hall in the Innere Stadt neighborhood of Vienna, the pipe organ is often used in performances by the Vienna Philharmonic. This side of the coin includes German engravings, the native tongue of Austria, which read “Republik Oesterreich,” “Unze Gold 9999,” and the coin’s weight, face value, and year of issue.
- The reverse side of Gold Philharmonic coins includes a variety of musical instruments used by members of the Vienna Philharmonic. These include a large cello in the center with two violins on either side. In the background, you’ll notice a harp, horn, and bassoon. Engravings on this face are also in German and read “Weiner Philharmoniker.”
Like the American Gold Eagle and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, the designs of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic never change. The Austrian Mint has continued with these designs since 1989, and each has become so popular that the mint maintains its use on the Austrian Silver Philharmonic (2008) and Austrian Platinum Philharmonic (2016).
Details of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin
All coins in the Austrian Gold Philharmonic series feature .9999 pure gold content. The face value of the coins when originally introduced in 1989 was marked in Austrian Shillings, the nation’s official currency until 2002. Coins issued from 1989 to 2001 had the following face values:
- 1 oz: 2,000 Shillings
- 1/2 oz: 1,000 Shillings
- 1/4 oz: 500 Shillings
- 1/10 oz: 200 Shillings
The 1/25 oz coin was never issued during the era of Austrian Shillings. As of 2002, the Austrian Mint has issued the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins with a face value in Euros following the adoption of the European Union’s common currency. The new face values included the following:
- 1 oz: €100
- 1/2 oz: €50
- 1/4 oz: €25
- 1/10 oz: €10
- 1/25 oz: €4
Australian Gold Coins
Gold coins are arguably the most valuable assets that investors and collectors look for when purchasing precious metals. Gold is, literally, the standard of the industry. Countless mints around the globe, both sovereign and private, produce gold bullion options for numismatists and collectors alike. Listed on USA Mint today are some of the most prominent and popular gold coin programs from the Perth Mint, Australia’s oldest operating mint facility. You’ll find each one available for purchase today online from USA Mint.
About Perth Mint
The nation of Australia has two major minting facilities that produce gold coins for investors and collectors. The state-owned Perth Mint has a greater international profile courtesy of its popular annual-release bullion coins, and the sought-after Lunar Series coins. In addition to the ground-breaking collection of Lunar Series designs in gold, you’ll find the popular annual-release coins of the Australian Gold Kangaroo, Australian Gold Kookaburra, and Australian Gold Koala available for purchase as well.
During British colonial rule of Australia, vast resources of gold and silver were discovered on the continent, particularly in the Outback and western stretches of the continent. In order to profit from this discovery and export the precious metals around the globe, the Royal Mint of London established a mint system in the country to process, refine, and distribute the gold and silver throughout the empire.
The Sydney Mint was the first facility in the system to open, in 1855, and the first to close in 1926. The Melbourne Mint was the second to open, in 1872, and closed in 1967. The Perth Mint was the third and final Royal Mint facility to open in Australia, commencing operations in 1899. Today it enjoys status as the oldest operating facility in Australia and the South Pacific.
Australia’s Perth Mint has quickly established itself as one of the world’s finest precious metal refiners and coin producers. The mint was first founded in 1899, just two years before Australia’s federation as a commonwealth of independent states in 1901. The Perth Mint joined the Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint, both of which are now closed, in the Royal Mint system governed by the British Empire.
All three mints combined to refine gold and silver discovered on the continent dating back to the mid-19th century. The Perth Mint alone produced 106 million gold sovereign coins and 735,000 half-sovereign coins for use as currency across the British Empire between 1901 and 1936.
Among its many feats, as of 2000, the Perth Mint has refined and produced 3.25% of mankind’s total gold production. As of 1970, the facility is a state-owned entity of the government in Western Australia. While it is not affiliated with the Royal Australian Mint, the federal government’s official facility, its coins are considered legal tender under the Currency Act of 1965.
Perth Mint Gold Koala Coins
The Perth Mint first introduced a koala coin in 2007 with the release of a Silver Koala coin. The gold and silver programs share a few common traits. First and foremost, the design motif always focuses on the koala and its primary dietary source, the eucalyptus leaf. However, the specific design used each year changes to add value to and interest in the coin program. Although the design sets change each year, you can always expect to see either a single koala or an adult and youth, along with eucalyptus.
Perth Mint Gold Koala coins were introduced a year later in 2008, and the gold coins are only struck in proof versions, unlike the silver program which features both a bullion and proof version. The Gold Koala is also available in fewer weights. While the Silver Koala is struck in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, and larger 10 oz and 1 Kilo coins, the Gold Koala is only produced in 2 oz, 1 oz high-relief proof, 1/10 oz, and 1/25 oz by the Perth Mint.
As alluded to above, the Perth Mint alters the design elements featured on the reverse of its Gold Koala coins with each passing year. The design is shared with that of the silver versions of the coin and always focuses on depicting the koala in its native environment. For example, the 2016 Gold Koalas depicted an adult koala as it walked on all fours along the branch of a eucalyptus tree. Steadily moving along, the koala puts one foot in front of the other in a linear path as it walks along. Engravings on this side always include the name of the coin series, the “P” mint mark, and the coin’s date mark, weight, purity, and metal content.
Engravings on the reverse side of the coin always feature the phrase “Australian Koala” above the design field, with the year of minting, weight, purity, and metal content engraved below. On the obverse side of all coins in the program, regardless of year of minting, is the image of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.
The face value of Perth Mint Gold Koala coins is based upon the weight of the individual coin in question.
All coins are struck using .9999 pure gold, and the face value for each weight is as follows:
- 1/25 oz: $4 (AUD)
- 1/10 oz: $15 (AUD)
- ¼ oz: $25 (AUD)
- ½ oz: $50 (AUD)
- 1 oz: $100 (AUD)
- 2 oz: $200 (AUD)
Each of the coins has a face value that is representative of the fractional weight of the coin itself, with only the 1/10 oz coin lacking a direct correlation to the weight.
Like many of the other popular coin programs from the Perth Mint, the Gold Koala coins are subject to a maximum mintage policy. This means that the Perth Mint establishes a maximum mintage for each coin program and coin within a series, and once that maximum is met no more coins will be produced in that given year.
For example, in 2015 the Perth Mint set the mintage levels for the 1/10 oz Australian Gold Koala Proof coin at just 1,500 coins. The previous year, 2014 ¼ oz Australian Gold Koala Proof coins were capped at just 1,000 coins.
Perth Mint Gold Kangaroo Coins
The Gold Kangaroo coin actually has its roots in a coin known as the Australian Gold Nugget. First released in 1987, these gold coins featured the image of a gold nugget on the reverse side. In 1989, this coin’s reverse design was altered to represent the continent’s beloved kangaroo. Following adoption of the kangaroo motif on this coin program, the Perth Mint began following another popular rule used in its other bullion coin programs: rotating designs.
Each year, the Perth Mint releases a gold bullion Australian Kangaroo coin in .9999 pure gold with an all-new design on the reverse side of the coin. The motif always remains the same, capturing the kangaroo in its natural habitat. However, the specific design changes from year to year, with different artists and Perth Mint engravers contributing to the design sets used on the coins.
As with other Perth Mint animal-themed coins, the reverse side of these coins changes on a yearly basis. The reverse always features the same motif, that of the kangaroo in the Outback, but the specific features are added to keep collectors on their toes with each new release of the Australian Gold Kangaroo.
The reverse of the 2017 Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin, for example, includes the image of a kangaroo as it hops along the Outback. Kangaroos have a unique motion, but their movement is flawed in some ways. For example, kangaroos are not capable of moving backward with any degree of ease.
On the obverse of each coin you’ll find the image of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s effigy is featured on the obverse of Australian coinage each year, with a right-profile design preferred in those portraits. The design used on these coins comes from Ian Rank-Broadley, and was created in 1998.
Perth Mint Gold Kookaburra Coins
Without question, the Kookaburra Series is the longest-running silver coin from the Perth Mint, which is also available each year in a gold bullion option, as well. A unique bird species native to the continent of Australia, the kookaburra has appeared on a proof silver coin since 1990. The collector’s value of the Australian Gold Kookaburra coin comes from its changing design. Each year, the Perth Mint selects a new design for the coin, always highlighting the kookaburra in its natural habitat.
On the reverse side of each coin is the image of the kookaburra, surrounded by engravings that include “Australian Kookaburra” and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content. The obverse always features Queen Elizabeth II’s right-profile portrait, along with her name, the nation of issue, and face value of the coin in AUD.
Perth Mint Gold Lunar Series Coins
Regardless of the series that your Perth Mint Gold Lunar Coin comes from, there are a number of similarities that exist across the versions and series. First and foremost, all coins are struck using .9999 pure gold and carry status as legal tender coins in the nation of Australia. When it comes to the bullion version of these coins, the Perth Mint has always struck the Lunar Series I and Lunar Series II in the following weights:
- 1 oz
- ½ oz
- ¼ oz
- 1/10 oz
- 1/20 oz
On occasion, the Perth Mint has struck higher weight coins in 2 oz, 10 oz, and 1 Kilogram. Generally speaking though, this is reserved for special-edition coins and/or proof coins. Production of these higher weight coins does not take place regularly.
The face value of each of the coins is listed in Australian Dollars (AUD), and starts at $100 for the 1 oz coin. Each of the fractional-weight coins has a face value representative of its fractional value. As such, the values for the fractional weights are $50 (½ oz), $25 (¼ oz), $10 (1/10 oz), and $5 (1/20 oz).
The Perth Mint Gold Lunar coins in proof were restricted in production to a much greater degree than the bullion version. Beginning with the Lunar Series II, the mint expanded the program to include proof coins. The proof coins are only struck in 1 oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights. Mintage was typically limited on the proof coins in each year to 3,000 1 oz coins, 5,000 ¼ oz coins, and 5,000 1/10 oz coins. An additional 1,000 coins were struck in each weight for use in a 3-coin set released only in proof.