How to Buy Gold Coins

buy gold coins

Buying gold coins online is the easiest, fastest and often cheapest way to buy bullion.

Online retailers usually have prices close to spot available.

Here we look at some of the best places to buy gold coins online as well as the best coins to buy.

  • EXCHANGE
  • GoldSilver.com
    • Wide range of bullion, gold coins and collectibles
    • Transparent pricing
    • Ethical business philosophy
  • iTrustCapital
    • Best for USA customers
    • Lowest fees for gold IRAs
    • Also offers ability for Bitcoin & crypto IRA
  • Money Metals
    • Also has a wide variety of silver, platinum and palladium bullion/coins
    • Also offers ability for precious metals IRA

GoldSilver

buy gold coins

GoldSilver has an excellent selection of gold coins that makes buying for even the most novice investor an easy task.

All leading forms of gold coins such as Buffalo and American Eagle coins are advertised on the site in various denominations for your budget.

New investors will love GoldSilver for the amount of written info they supply visitors to their gold coin website pages. The writing is below the inventory stock pages, and it details the following key points:

GoldSilver values are educating clients before they purchase to ensure satisfaction. Storage through GoldSilver is secure and confidential through private non-vault banks that are consistently monitored.

Visit GoldSilver.com

ITrust Capital

itrust logo

ITrust Capital is an IRA custodian offering gold IRAs. That means you can use your existing and future 401k savings to acquire gold coins over time and in a tax advantaged account.

The wonderful thing about ITrust is that it is the only Gold IRA that offers 24/7 trading via their online platform.

As with all Gold IRA’s, you will not be doing the custody. In the case of ITrust Capital, custody of your gold coins is handled through the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa and Winnipeg.

ITrust's home page

The minimum account size for ITrust is $1,000, so you need to make sure you have that much ready to invest into your IRA before you can open an account with them.

With ITrust you can count on low fees (only $50 above spot per ounce and a mere $29.99 flat-fee to pay for platform, storage, and reporting) as well as transparent pricing.

Visit ITrust Capital

Money Metals

buy gold coins

Not only does Money Metals outline the best gold coins to buy through an organized catalog and paragraphs of writing to educate buyers, but the website also advises which coins not to buy.

Money Metals advises investors to be wary of buying rare coins as they are not the best choice to invest in for a secure future. Rare coins are more meant for hobbyists, collectors, and speculators.

Expect to pay higher premiums when purchasing rare coins. Gold coins linked to their melt value are more secure investments.


When browsing coins on the Money Metals website, individual coins will have a seal advertised over their coin image, which reflects different coins that are IRA approved. Other category labels on the Money Metals website include:

You can track the live spot price of gold alongside GoldSilver’s gold coin inventory to keep yourself updated while you browse.

Visit moneymetals.com

BGASC


BGASC separates its online gold coin catalog between the following main indexes:

Foreign gold coin options include:

BGASC gives you a wide selection of coins that are available at competitive prices. You can order online or by phone, receive fast, insured shipping, and receive prompt customer service whenever needed.

Orders over $5,000 receive free shipping. Minnesota is the only state BGASC doesn’t ship to.

Visit BGASC.com

Why Buy Gold Coins Online?

Many gold buying websites help facilitate the process of buying gold coins, so even a beginning gold investor can make the right purchase.

Half of the trouble of investing in gold, and more specifically, gold coins, is starting the process. With all the options available on the market, new investors can feel overwhelmed.

Visiting a website such as APMEX helps potential gold coin investors narrow down selection choices to suit their portfolio needs adequately.

apmex


Gold coin selections are categorized on APMEX’s website by some of the following categories:

Here are a few examples of some of the things you can do after selecting a coin type online:

Finalizing coin purchases is made simple when shopping for gold online. For most reputable gold websites, the following payment options are:

Gold Coin Prices

When buying gold coins online, one of the most important factors in determining a good price is the current spot price of gold.

Gold spot price via Kitco

In most cases, gold coin prices are based on the spot price plus a premium added by the dealer. Gold coin prices fluctuate with the gold spot price. That’s why the prices in the price-comparison tables update continuously.

Characteristics of Good Gold Coins

Investment grade gold coins should have certain characteristics that must be met if they are to be considered wise purchases.

turkish gold coin

Gold coin purity should be at least 22k

The higher the purity of the gold coin in question, the less ‘junk’ alloys it has in the form of copper or even silver. High grade coins end up costing less in terms of pure gold content because of the associated premiums involved with minting each coin. While 24k gold coins are preferred by some investors, having some copper in the coin gives it a more tough property and is less likely to get ‘damaged’ if it changes hands constantly.

turkish gold coin

Coin should be in wide circulation (high supply)

Obscure gold coins that aren’t widely available end up turning into numismatic coins that don’t have a specific market. If we are to think of gold coins as a form of money, then they need to be easily recopgnizable to a large amount of people - just like your dollars are.

turkish gold coin

Gold coin brand should be established

One of the original intents and reasons behind minting gold coins was to establish some trust and consistency to gold. Gold coins turn a perfectly homogeneous commodity into something having a reputation, legitimacy, and a level of expectation. Much like brands in the real world, the best gold coin brands assure the buyer that the purity, weight, and quality of the gold coin in question is up to par with what is promised.

turkish gold coin

Gold coin demand should be high

If a particular gold coin has relatively low demand, then it will be hard to find a buyer if/when you decide to sell it. Being able to buy and sell on the secondary market for a fair price is not only a sign of a good car but also applies to gold coins. People need to know what the coin is in order to reduce friction at the point of sale.

turkish gold coin

Gold coin should be aesthetically pleasing

Even though gold coins derive all of their value from the gold contents that it holds, we live in a world where aesthetics is always a factor regardless of how much of a difference it makes. For example gold coins with Arabic writing will likely not draw the interest from Western gold coin investors but Chinese gold coins sporting the Panda on the other hand show aesthetics can transcend borders and create demand where you wouldn’t expect.

What are The Top Gold Coins? 

Each one of the coins mentioned in this list satisfy the gold coin requirements for investment mentioned above. Personal tastes and geographical location will be the determining factors in making the final decision from this point on. Notable distinctions, history and advantages are listed for each coin to fill you on their backgrounds.

We’ve compiled the sales figures from the past decade for the most popular gold coins, to give you a general feeling of the availability of these coins.

Turkish Republic Gold Coins

turkish gold coin

This might be surprising for some, but Turkey has by far produced more gold coins than any other nation in the past decade. Turkish gold coins are referred to as ‘Republic’ coins after the word ‘Cumhuriyet’ in Turkish, and two sub-types exist in Meskuk (standard) and Ziynet (decorative) coins. It is the Ziynet coins that are particularly popular as citizens are accustomed to buying them frequently as gifts necessary for practically every special occasion. Turkey also has fully embraced the other use of gold, as a store of value to fight inflation, following the country’s massive inflation at the turn of the century.


25 year inflation index for Turkey

The one downside for foreign gold investors, besides the reduced availability of these coins in international markets, might be the unorthodox weight of these Turkish gold bullion coins. Whereas most modern coins in the world today are denominations of a troy ounce, the Turkish coins (which have 22K purity or 91.7%) are denominations of 7.216 grams of brute weight and 6.615 grams of pure gold content.

There are 5 total sizes for Turkish gold coins (applicable to both the standard and decorative coins):

The quarter and full Ziynet (decorative coins) and the full Meskuk (standard coin) are the most popular of the bunch.

South African Krugerrand Gold Coin

South African Krugerrand gold coin

By 1970, South Africa controlled most of the global gold supply. They saw the end of the Gold standard coming, so they focused on creating gold coins that consumers would want to buy (as opposed to gold bars bought by governments).

So in 1968 the first modern 1 troy ounce gold bullion coins were manufactured, and in 1970 started going into general circulation. During the 70s, South Africa were the only ones making these coins in the uniform 1 ounce unit that we recognize today. Eventually other countries saw the success of these coins, and starting minting their own.

In present day, it’s still the most common modern gold coin in circulation, constituting roughly 1/5 of all the coins produced since 1970. It is most recognizable for its depioction of the Springbok antelope on the back.

The Springbok, the inspiration for the coin

From 1970 to 1979 only the 1 oz coin was made, but since 1980 3 other sizes have been introduced, representing 20% of the near 60 million Krugerrand’s in existence today:

Krugerrand gold bullion coins are all 22K.

Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coin

Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin

The Canadians were the first outsiders to recognize the huge popularity of the Krugerrands back in the 70s and got in on the act themselves in 1979 in a big way. When the Royal Canadian Mint introduced the Maple Leaf gold bullion coin, it was the first ever 24K bullion coin of the modern era (99.9% purity), with the gold content even further increased in 1982 to 99.99% and 99.999% in 1998.

The Royal Canadian Mint

It stands as the most popular 24K gold coin in the world with nearly 40 million Maple Leaves expected to be in circulation.

While the 99.99% 1 oz variant is the most popular Maple Leaf coin,

You can also find 99.999% Maple Leaf coins in the following sizes as well:

Chinese Panda Gold Coin

Chinese Panda Gold Coin

China entered into modern gold bullion coin production in 1982, with the China Gold Coin Incorporation (CGCI) introducing the 24K (99.9% purity) gold Panda bullion coin in 4 sizes and expanded their offerings to include 2 more in 1983, making it the first to offer the following sizes available today:

Perhaps the biggest novelty however, was the decision to a have new design on its reverse each single year. This turned the Panda coin into a collectible and bullion coin at the same time, becoming the first such coin of its kind.

A Chinese Panda, the inspiration for the coin

China’s gold reserves aren’t officially reported but they are rumored to rival the United States’ reported holdings of 8,133 tons. If China is indeed hoping to establish itself as a reserve currency candidate with gold as its backer, the Chinese Panda coin’s significance could potentially grow further.

American Eagle Gold Coin

American Eagle gold coin

The American Eagle gold coin was launched in 1986, in four different sizes at 22K purity:

A American Eagle, the inspiration for the coin

The US gold coin market is among the biggest in the world and the United States has the largest officially reported gold holdings in the world, making the American Eagle a popular choice even outside its geographic borders.

The United States Mint also recently celebrated its 30-year mark of producing Gold and Silver Eagle coins in 2016.

The overall weight of 1oz Gold Eagles is 33.931 grams. The diameter of these coins is 32.7 mm, while the thickness is 2.87 mm.

Australian Kangaroo Gold Coin

Australia Kangaroo gold coin

Australia started producing modern gold bullion coins in 1987 through the Perth Mint. The 24K coins boasted a purity of 99.99% and were initially labeled the Australian Nugget coin.

Until 1990, each coin sported a different nugget design in each one of its 4 sizes (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz). Since 1990 the Australian gold coins have featured a Kangaroo on its backside, although the name changed to the Australian Kangaroo coin only in 2008.

An Australian Kangaroo, the inspiration for the coin

Since 1996, the Perth Mint have issue a brand of gold coins known as Australian Lunar series whereby a new design is present each year depending on the Zodiac calendar. Other notable disctinctions of these Lunar gold coins is that they are issued in more sizes (9) than any other gold bullion coin around and the mintage quantity is limited to a specific number to further increase its collectability.

Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin

Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin

First minted in 1989, Austria’s Vienna Philharmonic coin was perhaps late to the party but it more than made up for that with its brand of creativity. Boasting Vienna’s heritage as a land of music and serving as an ode to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the coin design portrays a variety of instruments and is considered among the most beautiful coins in existence.

The Austrian Philharmonic, the inspiration for the coin

The coins are all 24K (99.99% purity), and you can acquire Austrian Philharmonic Coins in the following sizes today:

American Buffalo 

american buffalo gold coin

Also known as ‘Gold Buffalos’, American Buffalos are a 24-karat bullion coin that was first offered for sale by the United States Mint on June 22, 2006. The coin design is similar to the design of the Indian Head nickel and has got its name from the American Bison on the reverse side of the coin. This gold buffalo was the first time that the United States Government minted pure (.9999) 24-karat gold coins for the public.

American Buffalo, the inspiration for the coin

The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 mandated the production of a one-ounce 24-karat gold bullion coin with a face value of $50 and a mintage limit of up to 300,000 coins.

One American Buffalo Gold coin that weighs one ounce is $1860 through the U.S. Mint Website.

All American Buffalo gold coins are 24-karat and can be acquired in the following sizes:

Conclusion 

If you’re looking to invest in gold coins, look toward standard gold coins instead of collectibles.

Buying gold coins online is a better overall strategy compared to buying from a local store that will charge higher prices with a smaller inventory.

Evaluate current gold prices as you buy and look toward investing in universally in-demand coins such as American Eagles or Canadian Maple Leafs. 

FAQ

What’s The Difference Between Normal Gold Coins and Collector Gold Coins?

Normal gold coins are common government-issued coins such as the American Gold Eagle that are produced annually in sizable numbers. Collector gold coins are specific types of historical coinage that are not produced in modern times and are valued for their rarity over the content.  

Here are a few common collector gold coins:

Many European coins minted before World War 1 have a value that slightly exceeds modern gold coins. Another name for rarer collectible gold coins is numismatic coins. Modern gold coins are viewed as a better overall investment as their value is always associated with current gold spot prices.

What’s the difference between American Eagle Coins vs. Buffalo Coins? 

buffalo coin


While both of these coins are minted in the U.S., there are some differences.

American Eagles:

Buffalo:

If you want to purchase either of these coins, you won’t be able to buy directly from them from the U.S. Mint. The U.S. Mint sells American Eagle and Buffalo coins to authorized dealers that meet a strict level of criteria.

American Eagle gold coins were designed for circulation purposes while Buffalo coins were intended to compete with other 24-carat gold coins such as the Canadian Maple Leaf.

Higher carat gold coins such as Buffalo coins are softer than their American Eagle counterparts and should be handled gently to preserve the quality of the currency.

Is a 1-Ounce Coin The Best Sized Coin to Buy?

1-ounce gold coins are one of, if not the best, sized gold coin to buy due to their prevalence on the worldwide market.

Prevalence is critical in a market as it makes the coin easier to trade. You’ll have a hard time finding someone who won’t take you up on buying or trading for a coin such as a 1-ounce American Eagle.

You’ll find that many common 1-ounce coins, such as the Gold Maple Leafs, apply to IRA accounts.

1-ounce gold coins provide you the most overall value.

Can you Buy Gold Coins from a Bank? 

There are several banks nowadays that sell gold coins. Chances are you’ll have to call up a bank to see if they sell gold coins. Many banks won’t openly advertise that they sell gold coins for safety measures.

What are the Red Spots on a Gold Coin?

Anybody who has been collecting gold coins for a while now is familiar with the dreaded “red spot.” The topic is quite popular because many believe red spots on “pure gold coins” to mean that the coin is counterfeit. In most cases this is not the cause at all. Let us explain why.

buffalo coin


Red spots are not a new phenomenon, they occur on coins from the early 1900’s to even today’s modern coins. Because the red spots are ultimately caused by tarnishing/oxidation, and pure gold does not tarnish, a popular myth amongst coin forums is that the coin must be fake or fraudulent. That is usually not the case.

Most gold coins are not 100% pure gold. Modern coins such as 22-karat  American Gold Eagles and Krugerrands as well as older coins such as French Francs and English Sovereigns contain a percentage of metal alloy that is not gold. This is usually in the form of silver, copper and other harder metals that lend themselves to durability.

During the alloy process of these metals (where it is a combination of gold, silver, copper and other metals) the molten metal cools and crystallizes at different rates. There is a slight tendency for the metals with a higher melting point to crystalize first which can lead to small localized pockets of metal with a higher or lower concentration of elements. It is around these small pockets that red spots can sometimes appear.

gold eagle


Pure 24-karat gold coins such as American Gold Buffalos and Canadian Gold Maple Leafs on the other hand are very soft. Simple handling can easily cause scuff marks and dents. Because these coins are .999 fine they technically should not rust or tarnish. However, the majority of red spots come from surface contamination.

When these pure (soft) gold coins are minted they are struck in facilities that handle other coins and metals. Any type of metallic dust that lands on these coins can cause red spots. Especially if the coin is struck and then enclosed in plastic so the contaminant cannot escape. This is why you see red spots more on Chinese Gold Pandas and Gold Buffaloes because both of those coins are struck and then enclosed in air tight plastic.

What is Paper Gold?

If you’re new to precious metals, you might have read about paper gold and wondered what it is. Paper gold is not physical gold. Paper gold is a piece of paper, or digits on a computer, acting as a substitute for physical gold. Paper gold is usually traded in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or futures markets.

In a futures market, speculators bet on the direction of the gold price. They do not produce gold or use it. They cannot deliver gold to a buyer, nor do they take delivery of the gold. They merely try to profit from a change in the gold price. This mechanism can provide price stability for producers and buyers, but the problem is that there is more paper gold than physical gold in existence.

gold etf

In fact, it is believed for every ounce of physical gold, there are 200 ounces of paper gold. What happens if consumers try to take delivery on more gold than there is in paper existence? Pop goes the weasel!

How do I Spot a fake Buffalo Gold Coin?

There is a version of the Buffalo Gold Coin offered for sale on TV, minted by a company called the National Collector’s Mint. Such coins are advertised as “a recreated gold clad proof of the $50 Gold Buffalo coin” and are generally sold for $19.95. These coins are actually thinly gold plated. Cladding has historically been used to describe the bonding of different metals together, as is done with the US dime, quarter, and half dollar, which have a copper layer that is clad between two silver-colored layers of copper/nickel. The imitation buffaloes are not the same diameter as genuine US Mint coins.

They are not legal tender in the United States, as they are issued by a private company, not an official US Government mint. These recreations do not have any currency denomination on the reverse face, unlike the official version which has the words “$50” and “1 OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD” on the reverse face. On the obverse face there is the word “COPY” printed where the Indian head’s hair is braided.

gold etf
what an NCM buffalo looks like

Another variation produced by American Coin Treasures for 2010 subtly alters the wording on the reverse face to “$50” and “10MILS .999 FINE GOLD” with “COPY” printed above.

Where do I Check Gold Coin Prices?

Before browsing gold coin prices online, it’s essential to check the current overall rate of gold. Now that you’ve evaluated where gold is priced at browse multiple websites such as the ones we discuss later in the article to compare prices on coins.

You’ll find that most gold coin prices on reputable websites such as GoldSilver or Money Metals are pretty comparable.

Prices on gold coins will vary based on the weight of the coins, as well as how many coins you are purchasing. 1-ounce American Gold Eagle coins, for example, are sold in the following standard sets:

A full tube quantity is 20 coins.

Size quantities for gold coins tend to be the following:

Gold prices from online websites such as GoldSilver tend to be more honest and transparent compared to local prices. Shops tend to charge higher rates due to smaller inventory amounts.

Where to Buy Gold Coins Near Me

The best way to sell gold coins will always be online, because that is where you will find the best prices for your coins and it requires the least amount of effort.

However, if you are sure you want to sell your coins near to your home, then doing a search on google or yelp to find precious metals dealers near you is the best way. You can read reviews and make sure you are dealing with someone who is reputable and will give you a fair price.

DO NOT buy on craigslist, since it will be hard for you to know if the Gold is real or not, as the seller will have no repuation to go off of.

Where to Sell Gold Coins

Many websites make selling gold coins just as easy as buying them. Sites such as Money Metals have straightforward programs that make sure the seller is walking away, having benefited from the transaction.

Money Metals not only buys back precious metals purchased from their inventory, but they also buyback metals bought from competitors.

Similar to buying gold coins, it is recommended that you sell online as opposed to selling to a local coin shop. The size of local coin shops dictates the fact that they rarely can offer a high buyback price. Expect reputable online websites to repurchase your gold at the current spot market price or above.

The general steps toward selling gold online tend to include the following: