2380.04
0.93
28.46
-0.13
1001.33
10.93
1094.57
19.96

Gold Coin Size Comparison

Posted on November 04, 2021

Gold bullion coins come in a variety of sizes. Even those coins which have the same weight and purity may have different dimensions. These differences are often so small that it’s difficult to distinguish them with the naked eye. Here, we will take a look at coin dimensions for some of the most well-known gold coins. But first, let’s review the most common, and most familiar, U.S. coinage for comparison purposes.

Size of circulating U.S. coinage

You can find these commonly used circulating coins between seat cushions, on roadsides, and in cupholders. Circulating U.S. coinage varies in size and weight. Mostly these coins hold very little value in the eyes of collectors and investors alike.

Most people are familiar with the size and feel of regular pocket change but are not familiar with gold bullion coins. As such, comparing gold bullion coins to everyday coins will help you better visualize their size before you invest in gold bullion. 

 

A note on bullion coin sizes

stack of 1 oz gold coins imageThe three most popular gold bullion coins — the American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and South African Krugerrand — are all highly regarded for their quality and enjoy great demand. And yet, you might think that all gold bullion coins weigh the same, but this actually isn’t the case. 

The weight of gold bullion coins is measured in their gold composition. For instance, a 1 oz gold bullion coins contain 1 oz of gold, regardless of purity. The coin may contain small amounts of alloy (other metals), which increases the coin’s weight to more than 1 oz in total. 

An alloy is a mixture of metals. Gold alloys are used in coins to make them stronger and more durable (or make the minting process easier). Pure gold coins are just too malleable to weather the rigors of daily use, which is why the old U.S. circulation coins, like the double eagle $20, were made of gold-copper alloy.

Alloys, depending on their metallic makeup, can also lead to different colorations on coinage. Krugerrands, for example, use a copper-gold alloy which gives them a distinctly reddish or rose gold hue compared to the American eagle’s silver-copper-gold alloy.

While most gold bullion coins contain alloys, the Royal Canadian Mint found a method of producing gold coins so pure that no alloy was necessary. Therefore the maple leaf is virtually pure gold (well, 99.99% is close enough to “pure”).  On the other hand, the American eagle and the Krugerrand are 91.67% pure gold. They still have 1 oz total of gold but also include 0.09 oz of other metals, making their total weight 1.09 oz. 

And that is why some 1 oz gold coins weigh more than 1 oz!

1 oz gold bullion coins compared

gold american eagle 2021 type 2 reverse imageGenerally, 1 oz gold bullion coins are as thick as two dimes stacked together and weigh about as much as a stack of six quarters (remember, gold is dense!)

They’re about 60% thicker and 5/16-inches wider in diameter than a quarter. 

1/2 oz gold bullion

1/2 oz gold coins have a diameter very close to the size of a quarter (just slightly wider), but they are noticeably thicker– even thicker than the nickel. A half-ounce gold coin weighs around the same as three quarters, 7 dimes, 3 nickels, or 6 pennies. 

1/4 oz gold bullion

They’re about the same diameter as the nickel; the 1/4 oz eagle and Krugerrand are a hair wider, while the twin maple leaf is a hair smaller (closer to the diameter of a penny). All three of these 1/4 oz gold coins are slightly thinner than the nickel but thicker than the penny. 

A 1/4-ounce gold coin weighs about 1.5 times more than a quarter, 3 dimes, 1.5 nickels, or 3 pennies. 

 

1/10 oz gold bullion

The smallest standard gold bullion coins, 1/10 oz coins, are just slightly smaller in diameter and thickness than a dime. 

Two 1/10-ounce gold coins weigh about the same as a quarter, and one 1/10-oz gold coin weighs about 50% more than a dime, between the weight of the nickel and penny. 

Gold bullion oddities

Fun coin size facts

  • Not all 1 oz gold coins weigh the same! This is super confusing for novice collectors; see the explanation above. 
  • A 1 oz American eagle weighs about the same as six U.S. quarters
  • Canadian Maple Leaf coins are of higher purity (99.99% gold) than gold eagles and Krugerrands (91.67% gold)
  • Krugerrands are larger in diameter than maple leaf and eagle coins
  • The U.S. nickel and penny do not have reeded edges, unlike most major gold bullion coins
  • It would take almost 12 U.S. dimes stacked on top of one another to reach the thickness of a 1 kg Australian Gold Nugget