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The Benefits and Differences Between Pre-1933 & 1 Oz Bullion Gold Coins

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The Benefits and Differences Between Pre-1933 & 1 Oz Bullion Gold Coins


Most coin collectors and investors know that one gold coin is not necessarily the same as another. A rare numismatic coin is obviously completely different from a modern 1 oz gold bullion coin. However, what about semi-numismatic coins, such as common date pre-1933 gold coins? How do they compare to 1 oz bullion gold coins, which should you choose, and what do you stand to gain?

Here’s a brief rundown of the two types of coins, some differences, and insight to help you determine which of the two coins might be best for you.

Differences Between Pre-1933 US Gold Coins and 1 oz Bullion Gold Coins


Pre-1933 gold coins are indeed different from bullion coins in many ways. Making an informed decision about which to own requires understanding as much about both types of coins as possible. Consider these facts before you buy or sell.pre1933 Gold Coins

Coin History


These two types of coins have different histories. Pre-1933 gold coins are coins that were produced by the U.S. Mint before the government made owning gold illegal in 1933. In the depths of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, requiring U.S. citizens to turn in all their gold, including gold bars and coins. The Executive Order included an exception for collectible or numismatic coins.

If a government action like Executive Order 6102 is ever put in place in the future, owners of numismatic coins may be safe from confiscation. Today, pre-1933 U.S. gold coins are considered collectible coins, so in theory, these coins would be exempt from confiscation. Thankfully, not all US Presidents were against a gold standard!Executive Order 6102

As for 1 oz bullion coins, their history is much more straightforward in most cases. Most bullion coins have a rather uninspiring history in which a government decided to produce bullion for public consumption. The 1 oz bullion coins investors buy today are usually relatively new and have less history behind them other than their inception and design. As an example, the first modern government issued gold bullion coin was produced by the South African Mint in 1967.

Knowledge Required


Much less knowledge or expertise is needed to trade bullion gold coins versus buying or selling semi-numismatic coins, such as pre-1933 gold coins. Because some of these coins have additional value, it’s important to know this before proceeding with a transaction. Some of the factors that determine their value include condition, rarity, year, mintmark, provenance and even eye appeal.

The value of 1 oz bullion coins is much easier to understand. All you have to know is the purity, the melt value, and the weight. The general rule to remember is that bullion coins do not have any numismatic value. Some gold experts refer to bullion as a “pure investment” since its value is based primarily on the value of the precious metal.

That being said, generally speaking, U.S. gold coins, even bullion coins, tend to trade at slightly higher rates than foreign gold coins.

Which Coins Have the Greatest Benefits?


Semi-numismatic coins are not for everyone. Neither are 1 oz bullion coins. It all depends on your purpose in owning gold. Let’s look at which type of coins is best in each of the following categories.

Purchase Price

Bullion coins have the lowest purchase price of these two types. This is because they were produced primarily for investment purposes as opposed to coins produced for collectors. The minting process is more streamlined and more coins can be produced in a relatively short period of time, which involves less labor, wear and tear on the minting plates and machine usage.

However, it might surprise you that common date pre-1933 coins can be purchased at reasonable rates. Plus, they have historical significance, and in theory, are not subject to confiscation. That’s because these coins are a combination of the precious metal value and the numismatic value.

Therefore, they tend to fall somewhere between the cost for purely numismatic coins and the cost for bullion.

Investment Value


All 1 oz gold bullion coins have significant investment value, if for no other reason, than for their underlying gold value. They can be added to precious metals IRAs and taken out at retirement if desired. They never lose value because of ebbing popularity, as numismatic coins sometimes do. You buy them, wait, and they will go up or down in value based on the spot price of gold.

Thus, bullion is a stable and reliable investment.

Pre-1933 gold coins, on the other hand, may increase or decrease in value according to the whims of the coin collecting market. Yet because they are semi-numismatic and have the value of their precious metal, they tend to retain their value better than some strictly numismatic coins.

Therefore, they are also relatively safe investments.

Numismatic Value


Numismatic coins have value above the spot price of gold. That includes semi-numismatic coins like pre-1933 coins. Beyond that, collectors enjoy the time they spend researching, finding, and examining these coins. It is more than a hobby. It is an intellectual pursuit.

Many 1 oz bullion gold coins are beautiful. Consider American Gold Eagle coins, which have an

1933 $20 St Gaudens Gold Coin
$20 Double Eagle

obverse based on the world-renowned and beloved design by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The Austrian Philharmonic also has an intriguing design that depicts a magnificent pipe organ and musical instruments. These coins are interesting to view, but they do not have numismatic value.

On the other hand, the pre-1933 American Double Eagles, which bore the Saint-Gaudens design before the one-ounce American Eagle bullion gold coins, have considerable value for those wanting to add to their coin collections.

Easy-to-Buy 1 oz Gold Coins

Whether you choose to own semi-numismatic coins or bullion coins, you can find many options to purchase or sell. Here are some of the most popular gold coins, and they are coins we typically have in our inventory at Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers.

1 oz. Bullion Gold Coins


1 oz bullion coins are produced by government mints around the world. They are the official bullion coin of the respective governments and are generally viewed as legal tender.

However, their precious metals’ value is above their face value.

These governments take pride in producing beautiful bullion coins, so many investors prefer them over comparatively plain gold bars.

Here are some of the most famous ones:

2021 Proof American Gold Eagles (Type 2) Gold Coin


  • Gold American Eagles – 1 troy ounce of gold composed of 91.67% pure gold, 3% silver, and the remaining in copper – with the beautiful Saint-Gaudens design, made by the U.S. Mint from 1986 to the present. This coin has a $50 face value. Find out more about the American Gold Eagle coins.

American Buffalo 24k Gold Coin

  • American Buffalo – 1 troy ounce – 99.9% pure gold – produced by U.S. Mint from 2006 to the present. This is the only U.S. issued 24k gold coin produced for investment purposes and has been a competitor to the Canadian gold maple leaf since its introduction. Like the gold eagle, it bears a face value of $50.

2022 Canadian Maple Leaf 24k Gold Coin

  • Canadian Gold Maple Leaf – minimum of 1 troy ounce gold and 0.9999 fineness – among the purest 1 oz bullion coins made. This $50 face value coin has been produced by the Royal Canadian Mint from 1979 to the present.


  • South African Gold Krugerrand – similar to the gold eagle, this coin is composed of 1 ounce of gold, but is 22k2021 South African Gold Krugerrand and contains copper as a base alloy for durability purposes. As we discussed above, the South African Mint began producing these coins in 1967. This was one of the most popular gold bullion coins until sanctions against South Africa halted gold imports to western countries in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, it is one of the more popular investment options. This is one of the few 1 oz coins that doesn’t have a stated face value.
    2022 Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin


  • Austrian Gold Philharmonic – 1 troy ounce at 0.9999 purity, made by the Austrian Mint from 1989 to the present. It is the only bullion gold coin in the Euro system and has a face value of 100 Euros.


Australian Kangaroo 24k Gold Coin

  • Australian Gold Kangaroo – This $100 face value coin is composed of 99.99% pure gold. It has been produced by the Perth Mint since 1986 and depicts new and different designs yearly.


You should be aware that most governments that produce 1 oz bullion gold coins guarantee their content and purity. Bullion coins tend to be a safe investment because of this as well as the relative stability of gold prices. Furthermore, since gold tends to perform differently than most traditional investments, it can help to reduce the risk of a diversified portfolio.

Pre-1933 Gold Coins


1909 $5 Indian Head
1909 $5 Indian Head

On our blog, we have assembled the Ultimate Guide to Buying and Selling Pre-1933 U.S. Gold Coins. There, you can find a complete list of these coins, along with links for more detailed information about the individual coins. These coins have many fascinating designs, including the Indian Head Gold Coin with a Native American chief on the obverse and the Liberty Head gold coin featuring Lady Liberty.

Pre-1933 coins are 90% pure and range in face value from $1 to $20. As semi-numismatic coins, they appeal to both investors and collectors. They were minted by the United States Mint between 1795 to 1933. The largest is the Gold Double Eagle, at 0.9675 oz, while the smallest is the $1 Liberty Head at .0484 ounces. Typically, the smaller the coin, the higher the price per ounce.

While they do have collector value, many of them can still be purchased at rates not significantly above their bullion counterparts.

Buying or Selling Gold Coins


When buying or selling gold bullion and coins, one of the best things you can do is to consult with a coin expert. At Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, our coin specialists can appraise your coins and determine their value.

What’s more, we can provide insight as to if certification may be a good option for you.

We buy and sell 1 oz bullion gold coins as well as pre-1933 coins. If you prefer other metals, our inventory includes silver coins and other metals as well.

We offer competitive rates and operate with transparency, so you can be sure you get the best price, whether you buy or sell. Contact us today for online orders and appraisals or to set an appointment for a visit at our Johns Creek location in the metro Atlanta area.

We welcome inquiries and look forward to helping you achieve your investing and collecting goals!

Call today at: 678-264-6421 

Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers

Picture of Tony Davis
Tony Davis
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 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

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