Traditionally up to about the s , gold coins have been circulation coins , including coin-like bracteates and dinars. Since recent decades, however, gold coins are mainly produced as bullion coins to investors and as commemorative coins to collectors. While modern gold coins are also legal tender , they are not observed in everyday financial transactions , as the metal value normally exceeds the nominal value. The gold reserves of central banks are dominated by gold bars , but gold coins may occasionally contribute.
Gold has been used as money for many reasons. It is fungible , with a low spread between the prices to buy and sell.
Gold is also easily transportable, as it has a high value-to-weight ratio, compared to other commodities , such as silver. Gold can be re-coined, divided into smaller units, or re-melted into larger units such as gold bars, without destroying its metal value. The density of gold is higher than most other metals, making it difficult to pass counterfeits. Additionally, gold is extremely unreactive, hence it does not tarnish or corrode over time.
Gold was used in commerce beside other precious metals in the Ancient Near East since the Bronze Age , but coins proper originated much later, during the 6th century BC, in Anatolia. The name of king Croesus of Lydia remains associated with the invention although the Parian Chronicle mentions Pheidon of Argos as a contender. In BC, Croesus was captured by the Persians , who adopted gold as the main metal for their coins. The most valuable of all Persian minted coinage still remains the gold drams, minted in 1 AD as a gift by the Persian King Vonones Matthew 2.
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The Ying yuan is an early gold coin minted in ancient China. The oldest ones known are from about the 5th or 6th century BC. Gold coins then had a very long period as a primary form of money , only falling into disuse in the early 20th century. Most of the world stopped making gold coins as currency by , as countries switched from the gold standard due to hoarding during the worldwide economic crisis of the Great Depression.
In the United States, 's Executive Order forbade the hoarding of gold and was followed by a devaluation of the dollar relative to gold, although the United States did not completely uncouple the dollar from the value of gold until Gold-colored coins have made a comeback in many currencies. However, "gold coin" in numismatic terminology always refers to a coin that is more or less made of gold, and does not include coins made of manganese brass or other alloys. Furthermore, many countries continue to make legal tender gold coins, but these are primarily meant for collectors and investment purposes and are not meant for circulation.
Many factors determine the value of a gold coin, such as its rarity, age, condition and the number originally minted. Most gold coins minted since the late 19th century are worth slightly more than spot price, but many are worth significantly more. Gold coins coveted by collectors include the Aureus , Solidus and Spur Ryal. In early , more than , Double Eagle coins were struck by the U. Mint , but most of these were surrendered and melted down following Executive Order Only a few coins survived.
As of May 3, , there were five orders. In the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world first gold coin with a 0. Portuguese Gold Coin , sixteenth century. United States Double Eagle. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion, and are traded on commodity markets.
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Bullion metals may be cast into ingots, or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money. While obsolete gold coins are primarily collected for their numismatic value, gold bullion coins today derive their value from the metal gold content — and as such are viewed by some investors as a " hedge " against inflation or a store of value.
Many nations mint bullion coins. The European Commission publishes annually a list of gold coins which must be treated as investment gold coins in all EU Member States. The list has legal force and supplements the law. This second list does not have legal force. South Africa introduced the Krugerrand in to cater to this market; this was the reason for its convenient and memorable gold content — exactly one troy ounce. It was the first modern, low-premium i. Bullion coins are also produced in fractions of an ounce — typically half ounce, quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce.
Bullion coins sometimes carry a face value as legal tender. The face value is minted on the coin, and it is done so in order to bestow legal tender status on a coin, which generally makes it easier to import or export across national borders, as well as subject to laws against counterfeiting. However, their real value is measured as dictated by their troy weight , the current market price of the precious metal contained, and the prevailing premium that market wishes to pay for those particular bullion coins.
The face value is always significantly less than the bullion value of the coin. Legal tender bullion coins are a separate entity to bullion gold. One enjoys legal tender status, the latter is merely a raw commodity. See All - filter options. Sponsored Listings. Make an Offer. Mint Bombay.
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