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How to Buy Gold Bullion Coins

Posted on March 30, 2022

Gold bullion coins are a popular way to acquire physical gold for bullion investors and collectors alike. If you are considering buying gold bullion coins and don’t know where to start, we can help! We’ve introduced hundreds of everyday folks to the world of physical gold buying, and we probably have the answers to all your questions (and maybe a little more). 

So let’s get started!

What are your options for buying gold coins?

There are many ways you can purchase gold bullion coins. But first, let's cover what gold coins are. 

What exactly are gold bullion coins?

There are three parts to gold bullion coins.

  • Gold: self-explanatory, we hope. Though it’s important to note that not all gold coins are made of the same gold, modern bullion coins mostly use 0.999+ pure gold. The exceptions are American eagles and Krugerrands.
  • Bullion: this simply means that the value of the coin is in its weight of metal. Other types of coins, like proof coins, cost more and are generally valued more because of their rarity and/or beauty. Bullion coins are mostly priced and traded based on their weight of gold. 
  • Coins: in other words, official legal tender of some nation. If something is shaped like a coin but not official legal tender, we call it a “round.” 

Gold coins are made by government mints and are valued for their gold content but also possess a face value as legal currency. Though you can technically use gold coins like ordinary money, the face value of these coins is minimal, though it is guaranteed by the government regardless of the trading price of gold. 

The idea of an explicit government guarantee of value also comes with an implicit government guarantee of quality and purity. You might not be too keen on buying gold from Greedy Johnny’s Pawn Shop. Buying coins that come straight from the U.S. Mint or the world-renowned Royal Canadian Mint? Those institutions have earned trust over decades. 

Round-up of most popular gold bullion coins

There are hundreds of different options for buying gold coins, though most buyers favor well-known coins that are easy to identify. The most common weight is 1 oz, although there are lighter coins (called “fractionals,” as in “fraction of an ounce”) and a few that are heavier. 

Some of the more popular gold coins include: 

American Eagles 

1 oz gold american eagle coinAmerican eagle gold coins come in four sizes: 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz, with face values between $5 and $50 each. The American eagle coin is made of a durable 22-karat gold (0.9167 fine) alloy and is consistently among the most sought-after gold coins globally. The eagle, symbolic of freedom in the United States, is pictured on these gold coins as a fearsome and determined defender. 

You might think since gold American eagle coins are not “pure gold,” a 1 oz weight would contain less than 1 oz of gold. But that is not the case. See, 1 oz gold American eagles have an actual weight of 1.0909 oz– 1 oz of gold and 0.0909 oz of alloys. In terms of gold bullion, “1 oz” always refers to the amount of gold in the coin

Yes, this is confusing, probably one of the top questions people ask.

Canadian Maple Leaf

gold Canadian maple leaf coinThe Royal Canadian Mint’s gold maple leaf is another gold bullion coin prized by investors and collectors. Though the gold maple leaf comes in an unusually wide variety of sizes, its standard is 1 troy oz; less common sizes include 1 g, 1/25 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/2 oz. 

Unlike American eagles, maple leaf coins contain 0.9999 fine gold. This has made them very popular worldwide. However, it also means they’re incredibly soft, prone to scuffing and damage unless handled with care. 

The maple leaf coin is representative of Canada’s prized maple trees, which are treasured for their sweet sap and the beautiful colors they turn in autumn. Canadians really love their trees. 

gold Krugerrand coinSouth African Krugerrand

The Krugerrand was the first of the modern gold bullion coins. Named after former South African President Paul Kruger, the South African Krugerrand, like the American eagles, comes in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz. The Krugerrand is also made of 22k gold, alloyed with copper, which gives the Krugerrand a distinct rose-gold hue. 

Although Krugerrands aren’t marked with a face value (like virtually every other official gold coin), they’re still legal tender in South Africa. Decades of production and a vast, worldwide market have made Krugerrands among the top gold bullion coins for over 60 years.

Australian Kangaroo

Featuring the famed marsupial, the nation’s official symbol, the Australian kangaroo coin is made in the same four weights as the American eagle and Krugerrand gold coins. 

The exact kangaroo design varies by year, but they always showcase Australia’s most-recognizable large mammal, the kangaroo. (When this coin series was first released, it was called the “nugget,” so you might find some older mintages of kangaroos called nuggets instead.)

Austrian Philharmonic

A tribute to the Vienna Philharmonic, the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin is all about music. Eight instruments are on the front of the coin – a visual delight for anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and music. 

The obverse of this coin depicts an enormous pipe organ that lives in Vienna’s Golden Hall. (Yes, it looks like a building – it’s a really big pipe organ!) This 99.99% pure gold coin is available in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz. It’s also one of the only gold bullion coins you’ll find with a face value in euro.

Gold Britannia

The British gold Britannia coin is made in the same four sizes as several other coins but is easily distinguished by the feminine figure it portrays. 

Lady Britannia represents British strength and pride expressed in the form of a female warrior, possessing a history dating back thousands of years to the Roman Empire. 

Options to buy gold bullion coins

Buying gold coins is easy to do both online and in person. The traditional means of purchasing gold coins involves going to coin shows, coin-stores, or pawn shops, where you will likely find a random assortment of bullion products. 

Some people like the idea of buying in person, but one of the significant drawbacks is the limited inventory of a brick-and-mortar coin shop. Online, investors can purchase gold coins on coin auction sites like eBay, though there is always the risk of buying low-quality, misrepresented, or counterfeit coins. 

Shopping for gold coins from reputable online dealers is the best way to buy gold coins, offering several benefits. First, online dealers will usually have hundreds of reviews, giving you the comfort of dealing with a trusted seller. Second, online dealers have a much wider variety of options in stock and ship them to you for your convenience. Lastly, online dealers will often have better pricing for the simple fact that they have lower overhead than a local coin shop. Online precious metals sellers like BullionMax also have high turnover, so there’s always something new in stock.

What else should you consider?

Before buying gold coins from anywhere, you likely want to consider a couple of key questions, like how your coins are shipped. Are they being packaged properly to prevent damage or theft? How much are you being charged for shipping? Another question to ask yourself is how reliable the seller is and whether there is a serious risk of fraud.

In preparation for receiving your physical gold, you should also purchase insurance for your investment, whether through a precious metals depository or a bullion-specific insurance policy. 

What coin do you want to add to your collection?

With so many great gold coin options, you have the luxury of choice. Each of the aforementioned gold coins has some wonderful qualities that make it special. If you are not sure where to start, most people begin their search by checking both the availability and the cost of the coins they are interested in. 

And you don’t have to be a “collector” to start a collection. If choosing a variety of gold coin designs from nations around the world makes you happy, it’s pretty easy to pick an assortment of coins rather than buying duplicates of the same coin. 

On the other hand, some gold bullion buyers prefer to stack up several identical coins. This choice might make future liquidation easier. Ultimately, you have the freedom to buy the gold bullion coins that appeal to you. You can always change your strategy so long as you keep your goals in mind.

That’s about it. Today, we have the luxury of shopping for gold coins worldwide quickly and easily online. You can pick your favorites and have them delivered to your door. 

If you’re absolutely stuck and can’t make up your mind, here is BullionMax’s list of top-selling gold bullion coins:

  1. 1 oz Canadian maple leaf gold coin
  2. 1 oz American eagle
  3. 1 oz Krugerrand gold coin
  4. 1 oz American buffalo
  5. 1 oz Australian kangaroo
  6. 1/10 oz American eagle
  7. 1/4 oz American eagle
  8. 2020 1/4 oz Australian striped marlin
  9. 1 oz British Britannia gold coin
  10. 1/2 oz Canadian maple leaf