What is a Gold Coin?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 03 February 2020
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A gold coin is a coin made primarily or entirely out of gold, a dense but very malleable precious metal. Gold coins are normally round, shiny, and minted with an influential person or place or other design significant to the jurisdiction it is minted for. In the early 21st century, gold coins were primarily used as collectors items and investment coins. Historically, however, these coins were used for both gifts and payment for goods in many countries. A true gold coin should not be confused with a gold-colored coin, a form of money that became popular in some currencies at the beginning of the 21st century.

Though older coins may closely resemble a square or other unusual shape for a coin, they nearly always have rounded edges. Gold coins, no matter when they were minted, usually have a detailed design and date on them. Depending on how pure the gold is, the coin is usually the color gold, a dark bronze, or pale yellow.


This type of coin is rarely used as actual money in modern times, with many people preferring to use them as collector items. In fact, some governments regularly issue gold coins specifically for collecting. The value of a gold collector coin depends on many factors, including how many were originally minted, its condition, and size. Interesting designs can also raise the value of a gold coin, such as having a well-known leader or animal frequently associated with the country. Many collectors collect coins for fun rather than profit, opting to hunt for gold coins of a certain subject, value, or period that interests them.

Investment coins are usually called bullion coins, and are typically made of very pure gold, silver, or platinum. People normally invest in these gold coins hoping the price will go up, or that they will be able to financially recover if their local currency loses its value. Investors in gold coins are usually primarily interested in the potential resale value.

The first known use of the gold coin is by Egyptian rulers who commissioned its creation around 2,700 BC to give as gifts. More than 2000 years later, an Iron Age kingdom in Asia issued the first gold coins to be used as money. The coins became standard in many places, though the level of purity and size, and therefore value, varied. Gold coins were widely used around the world as payment for goods until many years later, around the beginning of the 20th century.



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