Whether you buy gold for investment or collection, you have probably wondered what the best gold coins to buy are. In fact, you have probably wondered what the best gold coins to buy even means? Are we talking about the most efficient gold investment vehicles, or the gold coins with the highest numismatic value? Maybe, instead we are talking about which mints are the least likely to have fakes rolling around?
We see the question of what are the best gold coins to buy as a combination of these questions and more. So we went ahead and did some research focusing on the best selling gold coins from government mints around the world. Before you continue down this list make sure you understand the basic gold coin valuation concepts. From a strictly precious metals side these include spot price, premium over spot, and melt value. More generally, they can include collectible features, grade, mint marks, rarity, and year. For example, special releases of otherwise common coins may fetch a higher premium from astute collectors.
Your last piece of homework should be the histories of various coins producing countries and mints. Be sure to check the our list of the best gold coins to buy against your own gauge of the coins’ value. Hint: start with countries like Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, and the United States. All of these have a strong minting tradition and large collector communities that may pay more than the price of gold.
Here is our list of the 10 gold coins we think any collector or investor should own. We have curated this to match to various market segments. Don’t forget best gold coins to buy for you may be different from the best gold coins to buy for your neighbour.
The best gold coins to buy for their classic bullion design:
The below coins are arranged in alphabetical order. Each is minted of 99.99% + fine gold and IRA as well as TFSA, and RRSP eligible due to COMEX and LBMA certification.
1. Australia: Perth Mint – 1 oz. Gold Kangaroo
The Perth Mint has produced this coin since 1986 and revised the classic design in 1989. The coin has extensive global recognition and the Mint’s legendary Gold Kangaroo coins are some of the best coins to buy. The coin is available in regular and high relief, and is worth AUD $100. On the reverse is the Kangaroo – a national symbol – and the obverse depicts Queen Elizabeth II.
2. Austria: Austrian Mint – 1 oz. Gold Philharmonic Coin
Since 1989, the Austrian mint has produced Gold Philharmonics. This classic entry on the list of best gold coins to buy features the Great Organ of Vienna’s Concert Hall (the Musikverein) on the obverse and an assortment of orchestral instrument on the reverse. Originally denominated with 100 Austrian Schillings, they became one of the first Euro (€ 100) Gold Coins in 2002.
3. Canada: Royal Canadian Mint – 1 oz. Gold Maple Leaf Coin
The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is one of the most widely purchased bullion coins on the market; it has been since 1979 when the first were minted.
The timeless design has been consistently made using the finest minting technology. Beyond that the reverse-side Maple Leaf has remained unchanged. The Queen’s effigy, however, has been updated along with other Canadian coins.
As of 2017, the face value of the Gold maple has been CAD $50.
4. United States: United States Mint – 1 oz. Gold Buffalo Coin
The 1 oz. Gold Buffalo Coin further popularized James E. Fraser’s Buffalo Nickel design first minted in 1913. Memorializing the Native American communities that lived on the land before Columbus, the American Buffalo is one of the most politically significant of the best gold coins to buy. The 2017 Buffalo comes in tubes of 20 and has a face value of USD $50. Be careful not to confuse this coin with the gold-clad (plated) replica version National Collector’s Mint.
5. United Kingdom: Royal Mint – 1 oz. Gold Britannia
A relatively recent addition to our list of the best gold coins to buy in 99.99% +, the British government had produced various sizes of the Gold Britannia coins since 1987. However, these were stuck from 22k (91.67% gold) until 2013, when the composition of the coins was changed to fine 99.99% + gold. The obverse features Queen Elizabeth II, and the reverse depicts Philip Nathan’s lady Britain standing guard against the seas.
The best gold coins to buy that are also collectible:
6. Canada: Royal Canadian Mint – 1 oz. Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins (99.999% +)
Since 2007, the “five nine” RCM coin series has been a hallmark of quality for bullion dealers and collectors alike. Despite a rather hefty premium over spot, these coins represent the finest commercially available gold known to the world. This coin carries a CAD $200 face value, four times as much as the “four nine” equivalent. You will normally find this coin with a unique design, rather than the standard maple leafs design, e.g. the 2017 Gold Elk. Each coin is individually sealed in an Assay card.
7. United Kingdom: Royal Mint – 1 oz. Queens Beasts Gold Coins, e.g. Unicorn of Scotland
The first gold unicorns appeared with a value of 18 Shillings on Scottish coins from 1484 through 1525 under King James III. In late 2017, the UK’s Royal Mint brought in the Unicorn of Scotland coin as the fourth of the Queen’s Beasts bullion coins. Minted of fine 99.99% + gold, these coins mimic their namesake beasts in representing a line of the Queen’s Royal ancestry.
The best gold coins to buy under 99.9% fine gold:
Note: some countries such as Canada do not consider these coins sales-tax exempt investments.
8. United States: United States Mint – Eagle 1-Ounce Gold Coin (91.67%)
By far the most popular of the best gold coins to buy in the USA. Since their first minting in 1986, they have been produced from exclusively US mined gold. The coin’s lowest and rarest mintage is 2007. As of 2017, they have a face value of USD $50, and are more durable than the Gold Buffalo coins.
9. South Africa: Rand Refinery – 1 oz. Gold Kruggerand Coin (91.67%)
Since its first minting in 1967, the Gold Kruggerand quickly became one of the best gold coins to buy in the world. So what happened? Starting in the 1970s many countries forbade their import to protest Apartheid. More recently, sales have recovered but not to pre-sanction level. One such reason is that the Kruggerand is subject to taxation above-and-beyond other 1 oz. gold coins due to its impurity. Interestingly, the copper-gold alloy it is manufactured from makes it significantly more durable than any coin on this list expect the 1 oz. Gold Eagle above.
The best fractional gold coins to buy:
10. Canada: Maple Leaf, e.g. the ¼ oz. Gold Coin
Minted from the same out 24 karat gold as the 1 oz. Gold Maples, fractional Gold Maple Leaf coins are consistently some of the best-selling gold coins.
Much of this can be attributed to marketplace satisfaction and trust in authenticity. They strike a delicate balance between the higher premiums of government minted coins and gold value.
Having looked at the foundations of the best gold coins to buy, remember to ask which you would rather own for the long term. While cut and finishing quality have immense impact on the short-term premium of the coin, commodity value takes precedence in the long run.
So regardless of whether you are buying a Christmas gift or an investment, be sure to understand why you are buying a coin. Quite frankly, if you are just looking at the best gold coins to buy for their gold value, you might want to have a look at low premium over spot fine gold bar.
These are the questions you need to ask your bullion dealer to make an informed purchase and make sure that precious metals are working for you.