Best Type of Gold to Buy | New Investor Guide

Posted - February 28, 2024
best type of gold to buy

The best type of gold to buy depends on your personal investment objectives and preferences. If your goal is to find the cheapest gold possible, gold bars are a great choice. Gold coins also have a place in most investment portfolios, especially for collectors who love the look and feel of collectibles. 

Choosing between gold coins and bars can be difficult for new investors. Even seasoned investors might struggle to find the best type of gold to buy for their growing portfolios. In this Bullion Academy guide, we’re comparing gold coins to gold bars to find out the best way to invest in gold. 

The Basics: Gold Bars Versus Coins 

Gold bars and coins are the two main gold products that investors are able to choose from. Both forms of gold have advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, investors tend to opt for gold bars if their goal is to get the most gold possible for their cash. Because of the low premiums attached to most gold bars, these products are excellent for budget investors. 

Gold coins also come with several major upsides. Notably, the beauty and rarity of a genuine gold coin can be a great way to build numismatic value into a portfolio. 

To give investors a better idea of the best type of gold to buy, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each popular gold investing option. 

Gold Bars – Pros and Cons

As one of the oldest forms of gold on the planet, gold bars have been popular for thousands of years. While gold bars do offer low premiums, classic designs, and high liquidity, they’re often saddled by diminished numismatic value and uninteresting artwork. 

Pros to Investing in Gold Bars

The three main pros to investing in gold bars include their low premiums over spot price, minimalist, classic designs, and high liquidity. 

Low Premiums Over Spot Price

Gold bars are cheap. Cheap may be a bit of an overstatement. Of course, investing in gold is never genuinely inexpensive. A 1 oz gold bar will always cost at least the current spot price of gold, which can often be $2,000 or more. 

When gold dealers refer to a type of gold as “cheap,” they actually mean that the product is sold at a low premium over spot price. Investors pay premiums on every gold product they buy, including both gold bars and coins. That doesn’t mean that gold stackers need to pay an arm and a leg in premiums just for the privilege of buying bullion. 

Gold bars are one of the cheapest types of gold to buy because of their low premiums. Low premiums are common with gold bars because these products don’t come with the intricate, detailed designs we find on most gold coins. 

Minimalist, Classic Designs 

The main reason gold bars are sold at low premiums over spot price is that they lack detailed, beautiful designs. Although simpler artwork turns some investors away from gold bars, other collectors actually appreciate the classic, minimalist look of most gold bullion bars. 

A major advantage of investing in gold bars is that they’re a certified classic. For thousands of years, the richest people in the world have collected gold bars as a way to store wealth and display status. 

By buying gold bars, investors get the sense that they’ve bought into one of the oldest traditions in human history. Not all gold stackers feel the same way. Depending on an investor’s preferences and investment objectives, the classic beauty of a gold bar can either be a blessing or a curse. 

High Liquidity

Another major benefit to buying gold bars is their high liquidity. Gold bars aren’t often valued for numismatic or collectability reasons, so they’re usually sold for very little more than their melt value in pure gold bullion. This makes them easier to sell compared to many gold coins, as investors who buy gold bars are only often looking for gold

Gold coins are sometimes harder to sell than gold bars because, unlike bars, bullion coins are resold at a premium that depends on their popularity and investor demand. By contrast, gold bars are always valued for their gold content and offer very little numismatic value variance over time. 

Investors who prefer to be able to quickly liquidate their portfolios should focus on buying gold bullion bars. Because gold bars are so easy to resell in the future, collectors won’t have any trouble finding a buyer willing to pay melt value whenever they they’re ready to sell. 

Cons of Buying Gold Bullion Bars

There are also two main downsides to investing in gold bullion bars. Gold bars offer lower numismatic demand and value, as well as relatively uninteresting designs and artwork compared to gold bullion coins. 

These two cons should make sense to investors who have been paying close attention to the advantages of buying gold bars. The affordability of investing in gold bars comes at a cost – and that cost should be factored into any investor’s decision-making process. 

PAMP Fortuna 1 oz Gold Bar
PAMP Fortuna 1 oz Gold Bar

Lower Numismatic Demand and Value 

Low numismatic value is a major downside to investing exclusively in gold bars. Gold bars are usually minted in large numbers and feature less beautiful artwork than gold coins. For investors, this means lower demand from collectors. 

The diminished numismatic value of gold bars isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Investors who are focused on securing affordable, low premium gold might be willing to compromise on non-collectable investments like gold bars. 

Some gold bars are also numismatically valuable. This is rare, but it does happen. Certain gold bullion bars are minted in limited numbers and equipped with beautiful, intricate designs. Investors who want to combine affordability with mass numismatic appeal should consider looking for some of the beautiful and rare gold bars on the market. 

Uninteresting Designs/Artwork 

Another downside of relying on gold bars is their lack of beautiful designs. Like we mentioned above, some gold bars are the exception to this rule. For the most part, gold bars revel in classic, no-frills artwork. 

Some investors love this about gold bullion bars. The classic look of a gold bar is tough to beat, even if it may not be quite as beautiful as the American Gold Eagle or British Gold Britannia. As always, the visual appeal of a gold bar depends on each investor’s personal tastes. 

Investors interested in taking advantage of the low premiums associated with gold bars should take a look at the appearance of some of Hero Bullion’s most popular gold bullion bars. 

Pros and Cons to Buying Gold Coins 

Like gold bars, gold coins come with both pros and cons. As a general rule, gold coins are characterized by high investor demand, collectable and numismatic value, and unparalleled beauty. On the flips side, gold coins come with some of the highest premiums of any type of gold. 

Pros of Gold Coins 

The three main pros of buying gold coins include high investor demand, collectable and numismatic value, and extreme beauty. 

There’s a reason gold coins are considered the best type of gold to buy by many investors. These gold products are classic, popular, and genuinely beautiful. 

High Investor Demand 

Demand for gold coins like the American Gold Eagle is consistently high. High investor demand is one reason why gold coins are considered the best type of gold to buy. Each year, thousands of investors around the planet flock to stock up on the world’s most popular gold coins – and it isn’t hard to understand why. 

2024 1 oz Austria Gold Philharmonic Coin
2024 1 oz Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin

Investor demand is an important factor that helps investors decide the best type of gold to buy. Collectors never want to be in a position where they can’t find a buyer once they’re ready to sell their gold coins or bars. 

Because gold coins are beautiful and coveted by collectors, the most popular gold coins are extraordinarily easy to sell on the secondary market. High investor demand increases the liquidity of gold coins, making them one of the best types of gold for new investors to buy. 

Collectable and Numismatic Value 

Another advantage to buying gold coins is the high numismatic value that many coins offer. Numismatic gold investments are assets that have value beyond their precious metal content. Think of numismatics as another word for collectability. 

Since most gold coins are minted in small batches and are very beautiful, these products are valuable for far more than just the high purity silver they contain. Numismatically valuable gold coins can be a great way for investors to diversify their portfolios. If the spot price of gold decreases, investors who bet big on gold bars will see their collections quickly lose value. 

Gold coins are a bit different. Investors that put some money into numismatically valuable gold coins might see their investment grow in value – even as the price of gold decreases. This isn’t always the case, but it’s common for rare coins to be sold at higher and higher premiums over spot price as the years go on. 

Extremely Beautiful 

Gold coins are sometimes considered the best type of gold to buy because of their beauty. The beauty of a collectable investment helps to quantify investor demand – and liquidity. Even outside of the world of investing, there’s nothing quite like holding a beautiful gold bullion coin in your hands. 

The most popular gold coins have established reputations for themselves as more than just investments. Coins like the American Gold Eagle are so intricately designed that they’re more like artwork than investments. 

This beauty remains one of the biggest advantages to investing in gold coins. Gold bullion coins look great in any home safe or depository box. The vast number of storage options available for gold coins helps bring out the natural beauty of a genuine gold coin, making them more than just a simple investment. 

Cons to Buying Gold Coins 

There’s also one major downside to buying gold coins: high premiums. For some investors, the price of admission is well worth it if it means getting their hands on beautiful gold bullion coins for their portfolios. 

2024 1 oz American Gold Buffalo Coin
2024 1 oz American Gold Buffalo Coin

Let’s take a closer look at how high premiums over spot price impact the investment value of gold coins. 

High Premiums Over Spot Price

Gold coins are sold at high premiums over spot price, which is a major con to buying this type of gold. Unlike gold bars, gold coins are both beautiful and extremely popular among collectors. The numismatic value associated with gold coins is a major advantage to buying this form of gold bullion. 

However, high premiums over spot price can make it harder for new investors to break into the gold market. Gold is already expensive and sometimes trades at $2,000 or more per troy ounce. Gold premiums can quickly add up for investors who buy several ounces (or kilos) of gold over time. 

Investors who want to cut down on gold coin premiums should look for some of the less popular coins on the market. Because of their popularity, gold coins like the American Eagle and Canadian Maple are notoriously expensive when it comes to premiums. 

Which is Better: Gold Coins or Bars? 

What’s the better investment: gold coins or bars? It’s tough to answer this question objectively. The truth is that gold coins and bars both come with advantages and disadvantages that new gold stackers need to understand. 

We recommend gold bars for budget investors whose main goal is to cut down on costs when buying precious metals. While gold bars aren’t quite as beautiful as coins, these products do offer an exceptional discount compared to the circular coins so many investors have come to love. 

But for collectors who love beautiful numismatic investments, there’s no beating gold coins. This type of gold is characterized by high premiums, but many stackers find the  liquidity and beauty of a gold coin well worth the added fee. 

Final Thoughts: Best Type of Gold to Buy 

The best type of gold to buy depends on an investor’s budget and preferences. Gold coins are fantastic for the investor who appreciates diverse, beautiful, and numismatically valuable investments. Gold bars, however, remain the premier investment choice for collectors on a budget. 

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About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.