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5 Things You Need to Know About Gold Coins

By    |   Tuesday, 30 June 2015 10:04 PM

Investing in gold can take many forms, from taking ownership of gold bullion to investing in companies that mine and process the precious metal. Gold coins are among the most common gold investments.

Here are five things you need to know about gold coins.

1. Long History
The first gold coins are believed to have been minted about 2,500 years ago in the long-vanished kingdom of Lydia, along the River Pactolus, which is now part of modern-day Turkey.

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The British Museum displays what may be one of civilization's earliest gold coins — more oblong than circular, and imprinted with the image of a lion and a bull. The museum speculates that the coin may have been struck during the reign of Croesus, the Lydian king whose name became synonymous with riches.

As the BBC notes, "Lydian gold came from the river in which King Midas supposedly washed away his ability to turn all he touched into gold."

2. Use as Currency
Gold coins served as currency in countries the world over until the 20th Century, when "circulating gold coinage fell victim to modern economic pressures and was discontinued," Arlyn Sieber and Mitchell A. Battino wrote in "Gold Rush: How to Collect, Invest and Profit With Gold Coins." But gold coins remain a popular collectible and investment, and many countries — and even some U.S. states — produce them. "Great Britain, for example, still issues gold sovereigns in traditional weights and specifications as bullion coins and commemoratives," Sieber and Battino wrote.

3. American Gold Eagle
One of the most popular of all gold bullion coins is the American Gold Eagle. A one-ounce Eagle weighs just under 34 grams and has a legal-tender value of U.S. $50, based in the statutory book value of U.S.-held gold — $42.22 — set by Congress in 1934. (Its value as a collectible is higher. ) "What truly sets American Eagles apart is that they are the only bullion coins whose weight, content and purity are guaranteed by the United States Government," according to the U.S. Mint.

4. Kangaroo
The heaviest gold bullion coin is the Kangaroo, an Australian creation weighing more than 2 pounds. "This monster size coin contains more gold than any other round, legal tender chunk of gold," OnlyGold reported.

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5. Not Meant for Trading
If you're buying gold coins as an investment, hang on to them for a minimum of three years, Paul Mladjenovic, author of "Precious Metals Investing For Dummies," told Bankrate. "Gold coins aren't meant for trading."

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Investing in gold can take many forms, from taking ownership of gold bullion to investing in companies that mine and process the precious metal. Gold coins are among the most common gold investments.
gold, coins, things to know
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2015-04-30
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 10:04 PM
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