Five of the Most Popular Gold Coins in the United States

Getting started with coin investing can sometimes seem intimidating when we consider the fact that there are so many classic coins that can be used as a basis for starting or growing a precious metals collection. However, there are many tried-and-true collectibles that have managed to stand the test of time and maintain attractive value under a wide variety of market conditions. In this article, we will look at some of the most popular gold coins and highlight their value as an example of the longstanding wealth creation that can come as a result of investment in precious metals.

United States $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle

For many gold coin analysts, the Saint Gaudens Double Eagle ranks as one of the most beautiful gold coins ever produced. But even as the coin’s popularity has increased in recent years, its place in history appears secure due to its elegant design and widespread name recognition amongst those in the precious metals investor community.

Specifically, the Saint Gaudens Double Eagle’s obverse features a majestic presentation of Lady Liberty holding her torch in a triumphant manner before a cascading field of sunlight. On the reverse side of the coin, an eagle is portrayed against the backdrop of a rising sun symbolizing strength and a brighter future ahead. Without any doubt, the coin’s magnificent design has held the fascination of gold coin collectors for many decades, and investors from all over the world continue to seek-out the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle whenever possible.  

Recently, gold markets have seen an influx of Saint Gaudens Double Eagle coins coming from various regions in Europe. As a result of these trends, an increase in the supply of these coins has led to a mitigation of numismatic premiums on specimens that are most commonly found in the gold coin market. For these reasons, coin investors are able to purchase lower-grade coins at rates that are often much closer to spot value. For gold coin investors that are building their portfolio on a budget, these trends have been a boon and opened the door to finding classic coin specimens without excessive costs.

United States American Gold Eagle

In 1986, the United States American Gold Eagle first entered circulation and this bullion coin has become one of the world’s most sought-after gold pieces in the years that have followed. Precious metals collectors might know that the United States American Gold Eagle can be found in four different sizes: 1/10 oz ($5 face value), 1/4 oz ($10 face value), 1/2 oz ($25 face value) and the 1 oz coin ($50 face value). 

Broadly speaking, this diversification of value can help to improve the liquidity of the United States American Gold Eagle within the broader precious metals market. One-ounce versions of the United States American Gold Eagle also carry additional tax advantages because they are exempt from IRS form 1099-B and they are approved for investment using IRAs. Ultimately, these are additional factors that have helped the United States American Gold Eagle achieve a high level of prominence and popularity over the years. In most cases, each of these versions of the United States American Gold Eagle will generally be offered in bullion proof finishes. 

The United States American Gold Eagle’s obverse offers a display of Lady Liberty (somewhat similar to the obverse of the Saint Gaudens Double Eagle). A family of eagles is displayed on the reverse side of the United States American Gold Eagle, and recent updates were made to the design of this coin (in 2021) which now place more of the viewer’s focus toward the face of one of the eagles within the group. With its 22 carat alloy, the United States American Gold Eagle contains 5.33% copper and 3% silver (which helps to improve durability).  However, the coin still contains one troy ounce of fine gold.  The additional alloys increase the overall weight of the coin from 31.1 grams to 33.93 grams.

Canadian Gold Maple Leaf

Looking above our borders, it can be noted that one of the first gold coins to achieve widespread circulation within the Americas was the Canada Gold Maple Leaf. The coin’s obverse displays a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II while an image of a Canadian maple leaf is displayed on the reverse side.  In 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint began to mint the first Canada Gold Maple Leafs as 1 oz coins. However, precious metals investors can now find Canadian Gold Maple Leafs that come in a wide variety of choices with coins that range in size down to single-gram pieces.

Overall, the Canada Gold Maple Leaf is broadly considered to be one of the purest gold bullion coins in the world because it was the first gold coin with five 9 purity (also notated as 999.99) to operate in precious metals markets as a regularly-issued piece. Many Canada Gold Maple Leafs are limited edition or proof coins (commonly referred to as numismatic), so there is broad interest from collectors for a number of different reasons given its high standards of quality.

United States $10 Indian Head Gold Eagle

The United States Indian Head Eagle is another beautiful gold coin specimen that was designed by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. From 1907 to 1933, the vintage $10 Indian Head gold coin was struck and this limited period of time helps to explain why the piece is currently so scarce. As a twist on a familiar format, the coin’s obverse shows Lady Liberty wearing a headdress while the reverse offers a display of an eagle. The Indian Head gold coin is also available in $2.50 and $5 denomination sizes.

South African Krugerrand

For many precious metals investors, the South African Krugerrand is considered to be a model for gold bullion coins in the modern age. Ever since the coin was first introduced (1967), its use has been the subject of controversy due to the fact that many gold coin collectors were initially unable to buy South African Krugerrands because economic sanctions in the region prevented purchases until Apartheid was lifted during the mid-1990s. Since then, the worldwide popularity of the South African Krugerrand has increased dramatically and the coin is now one of the most heavily traded gold coins in international markets. 

In fact, over time, the South African Krugerrand has become widely recognized and now has more international sales than any other gold bullion coin.  Globally, the South African Krugerrand is available for investors that want to purchase fractional ounces (with coins struck in half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and one-tenth ounce denominations) and its 22 carat alloy (with a copper weighting of 8.33%) indicates that the South African Krugerrand is more resistant when compared to the fine gold coins (such as the Canada Maple Leaf).  As is the case with the American gold eagle, the Krugerrand contains one troy ounce of fine gold.

The above are but just a few of the many popular gold coins available in the marketplace.  As gold coin experts, we can help to answer your questions whether you’re in the market for investment gold coins or numismatic gold coins. If you’re interested in selling, we pay among the top rates in the industry for gold coins.  We’re available to meet in person at our Johns Creek/Duluth location or online through our mail coins program. To schedule an appointment with us, call (404) 236-9744 or complete our online form.

Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at http://atlantagoldandcoin.com to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at sales@atlantagoldandcoin.com or at 404-236-9744. Be sure to "like" Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers on Facebook , follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their RSS feed to receive the latest news, tips and expert advice on old, rare, collectible and bullion coins.

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