The World's Best-Selling Gold Bullion Coins - Bullion Shark

The World’s Best-Selling Gold Bullion Coins – Bullion Shark

Like their silver counterparts, modern, legal tender gold
bullion coins offer buyers a convenient way to invest in physical gold that are
issued by several of the world’s major mints and backed by the governments of
those countries. With time they also became collectible coins, and today many people around the world are putting together sets of gold

Though there is an ever-increasing and wide range of different coins to
choose from, these are the five best-selling gold bullion coins that constitute
a dominant share of the market for such pieces.

In the 1960s investors became interested in purchasing
physical gold in the form of coins sold at a relatively low premium over their
melt value, but they did not have many options.

Typically, buyers gravitated towards British gold sovereigns
– some of which are of course valuable as collectibles but with many others
that are quite common that trade as bullion, or coins like the old Austrian
gold Ducats that have been restruck for over a century since they were first

In 1967 – amid growing fears of inflation and increasing pressure
on the U.S. dollar as the Bretton Woods system of stable exchange rates set up
after World War II was starting to come apart – the South African Chamber of Mines
devised the idea of issuing legal tender gold bullion coins. These coins, which
were called Krugerrands, were aimed at investors looking to protect their wealth
against currency debasement with hard assets and were sold with no export duties
since they were legal tender issues.

Krugerrands have always been struck in .9167 fine gold
because they are alloyed with other metals like copper to make them harder.
They were initially struck only as 1-ounce gold coins but later were issued in
fractional sizes and in Proof versions for collectors.

They were a huge hit around the world accounting for 90% of
the world gold bullion market by 1980, but as concerns grew in the mid-1980s
about the country’s policy of racial segregation of its own black people,
President Reagan signed an executive order banning their importation into the

In this environment, other mints around the world began
exploring the idea of issuing their own gold bullion coins. Soon mining
companies in Canada, which like South Africa has large gold deposits, began
lobbying for Canadian gold bullion coins, leading in 1979 to the debut of the
Royal Canadian Mint’s Gold Maple Leaf.

This coin was also initially issued only as 1-ounce piece
but unlike Krugerrands and other gold coins of the time, they were made of .9999
fine gold, which in recent years was further increased to .99999 fine. In
addition, these coins are arguable the world’s most secure gold bullion issues
with special, enhanced security features.

In 1982 the China Gold Corporation launched gold coins with
a .999 purity in four sizes that features a depiction of a cuddly Panda bear that is closely associated with the Asian nation. But
these coins were different from any gold bullion coins that came before them
because they almost every year have featured a different depiction of one of
more Pandas, which helped spur them to become widely sought as collectible
coins too.

By 1986, Maple Leafs accounted for two-thirds of the market,
which helped spur the United States to introduce its own program of legal
tender bullion coinage that year that by law had to be made from gold mined in
the U.S. if it was available. But the coins – American Gold Eagles — which in
many ways were intended as an alternative to the Krugerrand, were also alloyed
with copper and had the same .917 fineness.

From the beginning they were issued in four sizes (1 oz, ½ oz,
¼ oz and 1/10th oz) in both mint state and Proof versions with
special anniversary issues with different finishes introduced later, as well as
coins struck on specially burnished planchets at the West Point Mint starting
in 2006 that carry a “W” mint mark.

In the first couple years they were issued, Gold Eagles were
the best-selling coins, but as spot prices declined in the 1980s, investor
interest in gold waned, and those who did want gold bullion often preferred pure
gold coins, which led to the Maple Leaf regaining its status as top dog in this

In addition, these changing sentiments from investors, also
led world mints to begin marketing gold bullion coins as numismatic issues with
low mintages, often struck in Proof – a trend that has only continued to grow
in the years since then.

1987 saw the addition of the two other major world gold
bullion coin programs – the Britannia from the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom
and the Kangaroo from the Perth Mint in Western Australia.

Initially, gold Britannia coins were issued with that same .9167
fineness as American Gold Eagles and Krugerrands. But the reason for that is they were struck in what is known as crown gold, or 22 karat gold, which is what sovereigns
have been struck from for centuries. Fractional sized coins were also added the
same year the coins debuted, and in 2013 the purity was upped to .9999 fine to
follow the world standard popular with investors.

Australia – another country with major precious metal deposits
that has not one but two major mints, the Perth Mint and the Royal Australian Mint – has also been a key player in the modern
gold bullion market with the Perth Mint launching its gold nugget program in
1986 with the world’s first .9999 Proof gold coins.

In 1989 the nugget designed was replaced with a depiction of
a kangaroo, and each year these coins – issued in the usual four sizes – features
a different design of that iconic Aussie animal.

The same mint also launched in 1996 gold coins that each
year depict one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Lunar calendar, which are now
in their third cycle (made possible because two series were issued at the same
time in certain years), which are also issued in .9999 fine gold in four sizes
as well as in Proof. All are popular with gold buyers and collectors of gold

One other major gold bullion coin is the Austrian Philharmonic introduced in 1989 and sold in the same four sizes as its competitors plus a fifth version with 1/25th of an ounce of gold. These are the only major gold bullion coins denominated in Euros although some individual countries in Europe also issue their own gold bullion coins.

This content was originally published here.


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