With roots in antiquity and significance lasting through to modern-day, gold coins have played a significant and storied role in economies around the world. Read more about international gold coins here.
While traditionally minted for circulation and everyday transactional use, gold coins experienced a period of transition in the early 20th century as the world began to move away from the gold standard and toward the modern systems of fiat currency we see today. As such, production of these gold coins shifted into bullion investment and commemorative pieces rather than standard use currency, marking a significant pivot point in the way our national and global economies operated.
The United States Gold Bureau offers a varied selection of gold coins from around the globe to build out your own investment holding. Through our services, you can own coveted and historical gold bullion coins such as South Africa’s Krugerrand and Switzerland’s 20 Franc coin, other international favorites such as Canada’s Maple Leaf coin and Australia’s Kangaroo coin, or gold bullion pieces that enshrine and celebrate legendary pop culture stories, such as the gold Stormtrooper round from New Zealand.
While most gold coins today are still struck as legal tender in countries around the world, the values of their precious metal contents typically exceed that of their nominal face values, rendering them virtually unuseful in day-to-day monetary exchanges and transactions. Despite this fact however, the coins’ face values are often still minted on the bullion pieces in order for the coins to achieve legal tender status. Having this status typically makes importing and exporting the coins across national borders easier, while also creating a swifter and more standardized process for hedging against counterfeits.
There are many variables that contribute to a gold coin’s value, including rarity, age, condition and the number originally minted. The British HM Revenue and Customs authority generally defines investment coins as those minted after year 1800, having a purity of at least 900 thousandths, or being legal tender at some point in their country of origin. In the United States, “coins” that don’t meet this last requirement of legal tender are not classified as coins at all, and but rather, as “rounds,” and therefore, must be advertised and sold as such. The New Zealand 1oz Gold Stormtrooper piece sold by the United States Gold Bureau, for example, is a round.
Gold bullion coins are typically struck in 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz sizes, with a 1/10oz coin being about the same size as a United States dime, and a 1oz coin being about the size of a United States half dollar.
The designs of these gold bullion coins vary from country to country, and often, but not always, from year to year. Designs can range in subject matter from personified depictions of nations – such as lady Helvetia for Switzerland – to portrayals of royal rulers – such as Queen Elizabeth II for the United Kingdom – to images plucked from pop culture and history – such as the legendary Star Wars Stormtrooper character used in the design of New Zealand’s gold Stormtrooper round.
Whatever the case, these unique and interesting pieces hold a highly regarded and fiercely steadfast status in the world of numismatics and investments, making them desirable and solid additions to any precious metals portfolio.
When it was introduced in 1979, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin was the only gold bullion coin alternative to the South African Krugerrand, making it highly popular with, and sought after by gold coin investors. Further adding to its desirability, the coin is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, a facility that enjoys a stellar reputation thanks in no small part to its development of highly sophisticated coin designing and minting capabilities.
The Gold Maple Leaf coin is legal tender in Canada and boasts a face value of $50 CAD. Each piece contains one troy ounce of .999 or .9999 pure gold and is eligible for placement in self-directed IRAs. The obverse of the coin portrays a right-facing profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse depicts an image of the maple leaf, a widely recognized symbol of Canada.
The Gold Philharmonic Coin from Austria is a stunningly intricate, elaborate and ornate gold bullion piece that commemorates an important cultural and historical part of Austria’s story – the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra.
With the reverse of the coin portraying Vienna’s famed Musikverein’s Golden Hall, and a collection of orchestral instruments on the obverse, this coin is a stunning addition to precious metals investment portfolios and musical coin collections alike. Encircling the Hall’s portrayal on the coin’s reverse are the words “REPUBLIK OSTERREICH” – or “The Republic of Austria” – to the top, and the coin’s face value to the bottom. Coins struck from its introductory year of 1989 through 2001 have a face value of 2,000 Schilling, and coins struck from 2002 on, have a face value of 100 Euros. The reverse also displays the coin’s gold weight and purity of .9999 fine gold, in addition to the date of mintage.The Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin is guaranteed by the Austrian Mint.
Originally struck by the South African Mint in 1967, the gold bullion Krugerrand coin quickly catapulted to the top of the global gold coin market, becoming the number one choice for investors around the world. By 1980, the coin made up 90% of its market, despite it being an illegal import in many Western countries due to diplomatic retaliation against South Africa’s government-enforced apartheid practices.
Nevertheless, thanks to the coin’s success and desirability across global markets, the Krugerrand inspired many other gold-making nations to begin producing gold bullion coins of their own, many of which can be purchased through the United States Gold Bureau.
The name, “Krugerrand,” combines the surname Kruger, belonging to the former South African president Paul Kruger, and the word, “rand,” the country’s unit of currency. The coin’s design consists of an image of a springbok, one of South Africa’s national symbols, on the reverse, and a left-facing profile portrait of Paul Kruger on the obverse. The coins are 32.77mm in diameter, 2.84mm thick and contain one troy ounce of gold. It also includes .09 troy ounces of copper, making it more resistant to denting and scratching than alternative gold bullion coins.
The Australian Gold Kangaroo is a gold bullion coin minted beginning in 1986 by the Gold Corporation, or more commonly, the Perth Mint in Australia. While issued in various sizes, the United States Gold Bureau offers the coin in one-ounce iterations, which measure 32.6mm in diameter, contain .9999 fine 24 Karat gold, weigh one troy ounce or 31.1 grams, and hold a face value of $100 AUD. The coins are legal tender in Australia and guaranteed by the Perth Mint. In addition, they are eligible for inclusion in self-directed IRAs.
The Gold Kangaroo was originally struck with a reverse design that depicted various Australian gold nuggets, and was therefore known as the Australian Gold Nugget coin. In 1989, the design changed to feature the more widely recognizable national symbol, the kangaroo, which has been used in varying iterations ever since. The obverse of the coin features a right-facing profile image of Queen Elizabeth II, in addition to the words, “ELIZABETH II,” “AUSTRALIA,” and the coin’s face value.
The coin boasts two unique features that were unusual for a standard bullion coin: a two-tone “frosted” design effect, and encapsulation of each individual coin in hard plastic. The Gold Kangaroo is one of the few legal tender gold bullion coins that is issued with a different design each year. This fact, coupled with the coin’s limited annual production numbers, may raise the numismatic value over the value of its gold contents. As such, this piece is quite unique and enjoys many features that set it apart from its gold bullion coin counterparts.
The Swiss Gold Franc coin, or the “Swiss Miss,” as it is colloquially known, is minted by the Swissmint at Bern, and was originally produced from 1897 until 1936, and then again in 1947 and 1949. The piece boasts a face value of 20 francs, and measures 21mm in diameter, 1.25mm in thickness, and contains .1866 troy ounces of .900 fine gold.
The obverse design of the coin depicts the female personification of Switzerland, Helvetia, in left-facing profile, set against a backdrop of glorious mountains. The reverse displays the Swiss shield bearing the country’s emblematic cross, set atop an oak branch. The coin’s face value flanks either side of the shield, with “20” appearing on the left, and “FR” appearing on the right. The mint year lines the bottom edge of the coin, along with a small “B,” indicating the strike city of Bern, slightly offset to the right of the year.