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Gold coins, gold bullion, silver coins, and silver bullion are the best investments for gold and silver investors. The best gold bullion coins and silver bullion coins are summarized on this page. For more information on gold and silver bullion and coins, visit other pages on this Web site.
"Precious metals have had value in all civilizations, have survived all financial crises, and can be expected to do the same in the future. However, it is to all investors' interests that they know what they are doing before investing in
precious metals."


Bill Haynes
President
CMI Gold & Silver, Inc.

Does your gold have to be reported?

NO!

Gold purchases do not have to be reported. This myth is so pervasive that CMI feels obligated to clarify this misunderstanding repeatedly.

See Myths, Misunderstandings, and Outright Lies to learn about the pitfalls of investing in precious metals.
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Modern Gold Bullion Coins

On December 31, 1974, Congress restored Americans' right to own gold in bullion form. Previously, Americans could own only numismatic coins whose prices were determined more by the coins' condition, dates, mint marks, and rarity than by the value of their gold content. Such coins normally sell at prices many times the value of their gold content.

The restoration launched a new era in precious metals investing. Trading in restrikes of the Mexican 50 Peso and Austrian 100 Coronas bullion coins became quite popular. The introduction of South African Krugerrands to the U.S. however, laid the foundation for today's modern gold bullion coin market.

Now, American Gold Eagles are the best selling gold bullion coins in the United States. Canadian Maple Leafs are a distant second. Krugerrands remain popular, and a good market exists for them. Mexican 50 Pesos and Austrian 100 Coronas bring up the rear.

Gold Eagles, Maple Leafs, and Krugerrands carry greater appeal than 50 Pesos and 100 Coronas for several reasons. First, they contain one ounce of gold. By contrast, the 50 Peso contains 37.5 grams (1.2057 ounce) and the 100 Corona .9802 ounce. Americans are more comfortable with ounces than with grams or fractional ounces.

Second, Gold Eagles, Maple Leafs, and Krugerrands have their gold contents stamped on them in English. In contrast, 50 Pesos have "37.5 Gms ORO PURO" stamped on them and the 100 Coronas do not have their gold content on them.

Other gold bullion coins include Australian Nuggets, Chinese Pandas, British Sovereigns, Austrian Philharmonics, and Hungarian 100 Koronas (sister coins to the Austrian 100 Coronas). Additionally, there are still more gold bullion coins, but they should be avoided.

The average investor should go with Gold Eagles, Maple Leafs, or Krugerrands. They are easier both to buy and to sell. Additionally, they have narrow spreads between their buying prices and their selling prices.

(For a discussion as to why you should buy gold and silver, click here.)


American Eagles

Gold Eagles are minted at West Point, New York, and come in four sizes: 1-ounce, 1/2- ounce, 1/4-ounce, and 1/10-ounce. The 1-oz coin is by far the most popular and sells at a small premium over the value of its gold content. The smaller coins sell at higher premiums. (See American Gold Eagle Specifications below.) All four coins carry the same design. Gold Eagles minted 1986-1991 are dated with Roman numerals. In 1992, the U.S. Mint switched to Arabic numbers for dating Gold Eagles.

Gold Eagles are 22 karat gold, which means they contain 91.6% gold and 8.4% of a copper-silver alloy. Because Gold Eagles are 22 karat, many investors incorrectly believe that Gold Eagles have less than an ounce of gold. This is not so. A 1-oz Gold Eagle contains exactly one ounce of gold, and the smaller coins contain the gold content stamped on them. The copper-silver alloy causes the coins to weigh slightly more than their gold contents. Gold Eagles are legal tender coins, but their face values are symbolic.

Note: The troy ounce is the unit of weight for precious metals. One troy ounce equals 1.09711 regular (avoirdupois) ounces. Where ounce and ounces are used in this Web site, they mean troy ounce or ounces.

American Gold Eagle Specifications

Coin Gold Content Gross Weight Face Value Premiums
1 oz. 1.0 oz. (31.15 gms) 1.0 oz. (31.15 gms) $50 4.5% - 8%
1/2 oz. 0.5 oz. (15.584 gms) 0.5 oz. (15.584 gms) $20 7% - 11%
1/4 oz. 0.25 oz. (7.7797 gms) 0.25 oz. (7.7797 gms) $10 9% - 13%
1/10 oz. 0.10 oz. (3.131 gms) 0.10 oz. (3.131 gms) $5 11% - 15%

Gold Eagles do not sell at their legal tender values. They sell at prices that reflect the value of their gold content plus a small premium for being coins. One-ounce Gold Eagles come in tubes of twenty from the U.S. Mint but can be bought in smaller quantities. Call 1-800-528-1380 for up-to-the-minute delivered prices.


Canadian Maple Leafs

Canadian Maple Leafs come in five sizes: 1-, 1/2-, 1/4-, 1/10-, and 1/20-ounce. The 1-oz coin is the most popular. All coins carry the same design. The 1-oz Maple Leaf comes in tubes of ten; the fractional-ounce coins are individually sealed in plastic.

Maple Leafs are pure gold, 24 karat, and are easily scratched. Scratched or dropped Maple Leafs with rim nicks can be discounted as much as $10 a coin when resold. Like the Gold Eagles, Maple Leafs are legal tender coins but sell at prices that reflect the value of their gold content plus a small premium because they are coins.







Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Specifications

Coin Gold Content Gross Weight Face Value Premiums
1 oz. 1.0 oz. (31.15 gms) 1.0 oz. (31.15 gms) $50 4.5% - 8%
1/2 oz. 0.5 oz. (15.584 gms) 0.5 oz. (15.584 gms) $20 7% - 11%
1/4 oz. 0.25 oz. (7.7797 gms) 0.25 oz. (7.7797 gms) $10 9% - 13%
1/10 oz. 0.10 oz. (3.131 gms) 0.10 oz. (3.131 gms) $5 11% - 15%
1/20 oz. 0.05 oz. (1.5813 gms) 0.05 oz. (1.5813 gms) $1 30% - 50%

Retail premiums column shows Maple Leaf markups over spot price of gold. Actual markups depend on quantity, gold price volatility, and availability. Call 1-800-528-1380 for up-to- the-minute delivered prices. (See Doing Business with Certified Mint, Inc.)


South African Krugerrands

Uncirculated Krugerrands have been minted at South Africa's Pretoria Mint since 1967. They were first marketed in the U.S. after Americans regained the right own gold on December 31, 1974. In 1985, during the heat of the anti-apartheid movement, Congress banned the importation of Krugerrands. By then, an estimated 22 million Krugerrands had already been imported, and an active market continued for "Rands," as they are often called.

In 1994, Congress lifted the importation ban, and Krugerrands were again offered for sale in the U.S. By then, however, Gold Eagles and Maple Leafs had captured the gold bullion coin market in the U.S., and South Africa ceased promoting Krugerrands. Today, Rands sell at prices a few dollars below Gold Eagle and Maple Leaf prices.

Just like Gold Eagles, Krugerrands come in four sizes: 1-ounce, 1/2-ounce, 1/4-ounce, and 1/10-ounce. All four coins carry the same design. The 1-oz coin is by far the most popular but cannot always be found in large quantities. The fractional ounce coins are sometimes difficult to find in small quantities

Krugerrands are 22 karat gold, being alloyed with copper. They are legal tender coins in South Africa.

Krugerrand Specifications

Coin Gold Content Gross Weight Face Value Premiums Current Year Coins Premiums Common Date Coins
1 oz. 1.0005 oz. (31.12 gms) 1.0909 oz. (33.931 gms) NONE 4.5% - 8% 1% - 5%
1/2 oz. 0.5003 oz. (15.56 gms) 0.5003 oz. (15.56 gms) NONE 7% - 11% 1% - 6%
1/4 oz. 0.2501 oz. (7.78 gms) 0.273 oz. (8.483 gms) NONE 9% - 13% 2% - 8%
1/10 oz. 0.10005 oz. (3.112 gms) 0.10005 oz. (3.112 gms) NONE 11% - 15% 5% - 11%

Retail premiums column shows Krugerrand markups over spot price of gold. Actual markups depend on quantity, gold price volatility, and availability. Krugerrands dated Year 2000 sell at higher premiums than do common date ones. Current year Krugerrands sell at higher premiums than do common date ones.

Call CMI at 1-800-528-1380 for answers to any questions or clarifications. Our hours are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Mondays through Fridays. Our offices are in the middle of the Phoenix, Arizona financial district. CMI has had the same bank account since its inception in 1973. References available on request
 

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