Types of Gold Coins

Gold breached the $1,900 per ounce mark, surpassing platinum on September 3, 2011. Despite the skyrocketing prices, the Indian festive season being round the corner seems to be setting a strong backstage for various types of gold investments.

“Increased global risk, U.S. dollar weakness, growing inflationary fears, the U.S. debt downgrade and continuing sovereign debt risks in Europe have increased investor appetite for gold, triggering recent price strength," Citigroup said in a research note to investors.

The leading investment banks have issued their latest forecasts, which exhibit upward movement in gold prices. Some of these projections show gold prices reaching as high as $2,500 per ounce by the end of 2011. United Bank of Switzerland (UBS) has forecasted gold prices to surpass $2,000 by yearend, while Societe Generale has predicted gold prices at $1,950. According to Goldman Sachs, the year would end with prices at $1,900. JP Morgan Stanley has a more aggressive estimate of $2,500 by yearend. In fact, Standard Chartered Bank has predicted that the demand for gold would be higher than the supply of the yellow metal for the next five years, by which time, gold prices would surge to an astonishing $5,000 per ounce.

Types of Gold Coins

Gold bullion: The two main forms of gold bullion are bars and coins. Their price depends largely on their weight, which may vary from 1 gram to 400 ounces for bars, and from 1/20 ounce to 1 kilogram. However, the one ounce gold coin is the most popular among gold investors. Among the most sought after gold coins are:

American Eagles coins were first minted in 1986 and are the official bullion gold coin of the United States. Liberty, depicted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens graced the obverse of the coins. Congressionally authorized American Eagle bullion coins provide buyers a way to add a small amount of physical gold to their portfolio.

Canadian Maple Leaf is the official bullion gold coin of Canada, and is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. Incepted by Walter Ott and designed by Arnold Machin, the observe features a bust of Queen Elisabeth II. Coins minted in the years 1979-1989 show the Queen at age 39. Since 1990, the Queen is shown at age 64. The words "ELIZABETH II" form an arc across the top whereas the bottom has the denomination and mint date doing the same. A number of special issues have been made. These include a 99.999% gold coin, a colorized Gold Maple Leaf coin, a holographic Gold Maple Leaf coin, and a one million dollar denominated coin weighing 100 kilograms.

Chinese Panda is a series of gold bullion coins issued by China. The official mint of the People’s Republic of China introduced the Panda gold bullion coins in 1982. The obverse bears a depiction of the Temple of Heaven with Chinese characters saying "Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo" meaning People’s Republic of China and the year of issue at the bottom. The theme is marked here in case of a commemorative issue.

Certified gold coins: These coins typically sell for much higher than the value of their gold content. This is because they have a rarity premium, as they are of great value to collectors. Moreover, certified gold Coins have not been confiscated by the government during past bullion confiscations. Among the most popular certified gold coins are:

$20 St. Gaudens, after President Franklin Roosevelt commanded a halt on the circulation of these coins, the 1933 coin suddenly gained prominence. Since these coins were part of national bullion confiscation that was enacted in 1933, anyone found to be in possession of a 1933 Saint Gaudens gold coin would be breaking United States law.

A specimen, which was owned by Egyptian King Farouk years earlier, came in to the possession of a British coin dealer, and after much legal dispute was auctioned for $ 7.59 million, plus $20 to the Treasury Dept, for the face value of the coin. The proceeds from the auction were split between the U.S. government and the British dealer.

$20 Liberty, due to the less desirable art work, this coin is not considered to be as beautiful as the $20 St. Gauden. However $20 Liberty coins are more rare and tend to be more valuable as a whole than St. Gaudens coins.