Most Popular Gold Coins

Posted - June 20, 2023
Most popular gold coins

There are thousands of quality gold coins available on the bullion market. Whether you’re a brand new collector or a seasoned veteran of precious metals investment, it can be difficult to get a genuine estimate of which items are the most popular gold coins in the world. While some mints release their sales numbers each year, many do not. 

Still, it’s important that intelligent investors understand market demand for certain coins. Today, we’re going to be discussing the most popular gold coins available to investors. For each coin on our list, we’ll explain its design, numismatic value, and price appreciation history. Feel free to come back to this guide whenever you need an in-depth look at the most popular gold coins in the world of bullion.

Understanding the Value of Gold Coins

Before we get into the most popular gold coins, investors should understand what makes a gold coin valuable in the first place. Some new collectors mistakenly believe that gold coins are valued exclusively for their gold content. This is partially true; gold coin values fluctuate based on the spot price of the precious metal it contains. But there’s actually a lot more that goes into the prices of the most popular gold coins – we’ll discuss these factors below. 

Historical Significance and Lasting Value

In addition to the value of gold, the historical significance of a coin plays a role in its popularity and value. This valuation method is particularly important in numismatic historical coins, which are popular more for their rarity than their melt gold or silver value.

American Gold Eagle coins
Gold Eagle Coins

A coin is occasionally worth far more than its silver, gold, or platinum content because of its historical significance. A good example of this trend can be found in the silver wartime nickel, an American coin minted with pure silver bullion during WWII. The most popular gold coins are sometimes coins minted during fascinating or important times in United States or world history. Investors may pay a premium for historical significance, which tends to only increase over time.

Factors Influencing Gold Coin Prices

Aside from historical significance, several factors contribute to the total prices of the world’s most popular gold coins. A gold coin’s gold melt value, general market demand, and investor interest are all important elements of properly pricing a popular gold coin. If a coin is exceptionally popular, it might sell for a higher premium over spot than other coins with similar gold content – this is the power of ever-changing investor demand. 

Most Popular Gold Coins on the Market

This is the part of the guide you’ve been waiting for. Below, you’ll find in-depth explanations of some of the most popular gold coins you can buy for your money. 

American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagle is indisputably one of the most popular gold coins available. This piece invokes a strong sense of American culture and occupies a special place in the history of American coinage. As one of our most popular gold coins, we understand intimately the importance of the American Gold Eagle to the global gold investment market. 

History, Design, and Specifications

American Gold Eagles were first released by the United States Mint in 1986 and have become a staple of the mint’s sales ever since. As of 2022, total sales for the American Gold Eagle total up to over 19 million, making it one of the most popular gold coins in the history of bullion coinage.

2020 American Gold Eagle 1 oz Coin
1 oz American Gold Eagle

Gold Eagles are minted with .9167 pure gold bullion. This isn’t quite the purity offered by other popular gold coins. Still, some investors prefer the American Gold Eagle because of the coin’s superior tactile strength. Simply put, it might be harder to damage a Gold Eagle than another purer gold coin. 

Appeal to Collectors and Investors

Part of the mass appeal offered by the American Eagle comes from its design. The obverse of this coin has remained static since the 1987 advent of the piece. On it, investors will note Lady Liberty as imagined by artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. She carries an olive branch and a torch and marches forward in her flowing gown. A rising sun is behind her, as is the U.S. Congress building. 

Availability and Demand 

Availability isn’t as much of an issue for the American Gold Eagle as it is for the U.S. Mint’s Silver Eagle, which is frequently sold at a high premium because of exceptionally high investor demand. The American Gold Eagle is still very popular, however, and has become a staple of many investors’ portfolios. 

Canadian Gold Maple Leaf

Another coin from North America, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf has long been one of the most popular gold coins in the world. Like the American Gold Eagle, the piece’s unique design helps represent the culture and history of its mint country. This coin is minted with .9999 pure gold – a step up from the purity of the Gold Eagle. 

On its obverse, you’ll note Queen Elizabeth II’s bust. She wears pearl earrings and a pearl necklace, and her design changes throughout the minting history of the Royal Canadian Mint’s most popular gold bullion coin. In fact, investors can track the age of Britain’s monarch using different variations of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. Its reverse is where the coin gets its name; a highly detailed and exceptionally intricate depiction of the Canadian Maple Leaf decorates this side of the bullion piece.

Origin, Reputation, and Design Features

Canadian Gold Maple 1 oz Coin
1 oz Canadian Gold Maple

This coin was first designed and minted in 1979 and given a redesign in 2015. Its face value is $50 CAD, providing the coin with evidence of its government backing – a good sign for investors who like the support of sovereign governments behind their bullion pieces. The initial fineness of the coin was .999; the Canadian Gold Maple became .9999 pure gold bullion in 1982 and has remained at that purity level ever since.

The reputation of the Canadian Gold Maple is extremely positive. Investors consider it one of the world’s most popular gold coins for a reason. 

Advantages and Market Popularity

As one of North America’s most popular gold coins, the Canadian Gold Maple has endured for over three decades as a prime way to invest in gold bullion. The high purity of the coin, the exceptional beauty of its design, and its cultural history all contribute to its clear place on our list of the most popular gold coins. 

South African Krugerrand 

Departing from North American bullion, we’ll turn our attention now to South Africa’s top seller on the list of most popular gold coins. The South African Krugerrand offers perhaps the most interesting history of any gold coin we’re discussing today. Imagine a coin with a beautiful historical design – and a series of embargos and controversies throughout its mintage run. This is the South African Krugerrand

Historical Context and Characteristics 

South African Gold Krugerrand 1 oz Coin
1 oz Gold Krugerrand

The Krugerrand is based on a portrait of South African politician Paul Kruger. Kruger himself is a controversial figure; his association with the Apartheid government of South Africa caused considerable dissent, and countries like the United States actually banned the coin during the 1980s.

Proposed bans on the Krugerrand only served to cement the coin’s place as one of the most popular gold coins globally, however. The coin is certainly the most popular gold coin to come from an African country. On the obverse, we see Paul Kruger’s profile. The coin’s reverse emphasizes another important South African cultural image – the Springbok Antelope. The coin’s image is rendered in exceptional detail and adds an additional cultural dimension to the coin’s storied history. 

Significance and Global Demand 

There aren’t many coins popular enough to withstand several years of embargos from the world’s most powerful government. The Krugerrand has succeeded in accomplishing this feat, ensuring that it is likely to remain one of the most popular coins on the market for decades to come. 

Chinese Gold Panda

Invoking imagery of one of the most adorable species on planet Earth, the Chinese Gold Panda is China’s best-selling gold coin. The design of this gold piece actually changes each year, which helps make it one of the most popular coins for collectors who value beautiful, unique designs on their gold bullion coins. 

Introduction, Unique Design, and Specifications 

We tend to view the Chinese Gold Panda as a unique coin. Its design changes yearly, which is not particularly common among the most popular gold coins. Additionally, the Chinese Gold Panda doesn’t come with mint marks; multiple mints in the PRC create these coins. The coins are minted with .999 fine gold bullion, striking a balance between the purity of the American Gold Eagle and the Canadian Gold Maple. 

Chinese Gold Pandas retain a static obverse design, adding a layer of consistency to the otherwise constantly changing gold coin. This side of the Gold Panda features an intricately detailed depiction of the Temple of Heaven, one of China’s most important historical landmarks. 

Cultural Appeal and Availability 

1 oz Chinese Gold Panda Coin- Random Year, Sealed
1 oz Chinese Gold Panda

The cultural appeal of the Chinese Gold Panda isn’t tough to gauge. Pandas are native to central China and have become the most recognizable animal the country has to offer. As animals, they boast tremendous power but instead live peaceful lives.

Both the changing panda on its reverse and the Temple of Heaven on the obverse invoke a strong sense of China’s unique culture and history. We tend to appreciate the symbolism that these combined designs provide. On one hand, you have an homage to the country’s unchanged history and preserved culture. On the other, a shifting and malleable depiction of a wild animal reminds us of the power of change in China’s country and culture. 

Australian Gold Kangaroo

Australia’s Perth Mint itself offers a unique and fascinating history. Initially a subsidiary of Great Britain’s Royal Mint, the mint only actually became independent and owned by the Australian government in 1970. This makes it one of the last colonial branches of the British Royal Mint to gain its independence from the monarchy. 

The Gold Kangaroo/Nugget is one of the most popular gold coins distributed by the Australian Mint system. We’ll cover its history, market demand, and design below. 

History, Design, and Specifications 

2022 1 oz Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin
1 oz Australian Gold Kangaroo

The first Australian Gold Kangaroo was released in 1987 at the request of Prime Minister Bob Hawke. The coin was an instant and resounding success, selling over 155,000 troy ounces in just a day. The Mint has continued to profit tremendously from the coins, which have become the most popular gold coin ever produced by the Australian minting infrastructure.

Each Gold Kangaroo’s obverse pays respect to the Perth Mint’s history with the monarchy. It depicts Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in her crown, pearl earrings, and pearl necklace. 

Flipping the coin over to the reverse, onlookers can catch a glimpse of Australia’s most recognizable native animal, the kangaroo. The design for this side of the coin changes frequently, which adds a new dimension of collectability to Australia’s Gold Kangaroo Coin. 

Market Demand and Special Editions

Market demand for the Australian Gold Kangaroo is always relatively high. After all, it became one of the most popular gold coins in Australia almost immediately after its 1987 release. Sales in just one day outpaced the mint’s goals for the month, and popularity has been sustained ever since. 

Factors to Consider When Buying Gold Coins

Before you invest in any of the most popular gold coins on the market, there are a few things that smart investors should consider. 

Purity, Weight, and Authentication 

The preferred purity, weight, and authenticity of your coin are important factors when you decide on which most popular gold coins to buy. Coins come with different purity levels. Some coins, such as the American Gold Eagle, offer lower purities than other gold coins. If you’re aiming to secure as much pure gold bullion as possible, search for coins with high purity. 

The size of a product also factors into the overall gold content and melt value of a gold coin. Gold collectors have different opinions on the best weight gold coin to buy. You can potentially cut down on gold bullion premiums by buying larger pieces. Some investors prefer the opposite strategy. After all, fractional coins allow collectors a higher degree of liquidity when it comes time to sell their bullion. 

You should also always be prepared to take concrete steps to ensure the authenticity of their coins. Using a professional coin grading service is one way to make sure you have an authentic version of one of the most popular gold coins on your hands. But this isn’t the only method. Smart, seasoned investors develop their own grading skills before purchasing one of the most popular gold coins for their own collections.

Pricing, Premiums, and Resale Value

Premiums can quickly cut down on your investment profits if you’re not careful. All bullion products come with some degree of premium over spot price, but some items offer substantial discounts on premium over spot. Bullion collectors who prefer as much gold as possible for their cash should consider gold bars, which offer a much lower total cost than the most popular gold coins require. 

To calculate total cost for your coins, add the premium over spot to the melt value of your gold piece. When it’s time to sell your gold coin, total cost is an important price consideration. Once you jump into the market to sell your most popular gold coins, the goal is to secure profit. And profit is only maximized when investors buy low and sell high. 


Storage and Security Options

You should have a clear plan for storing your gold coins before making a purchase. Whether you’re buying a niche gold product or several of the most popular gold coins in the world, the value of your product will go down if you fail to properly secure it. Many insurance plans don’t cover the high value of a large gold collection, so smart investors might consider purchasing additional insurance add-ons to keep their investment protected. 

Always store coins in a cool, dry place. Larger collections should be secured in advanced security systems. It’s also possible to store your coin at the vault of a bank or bullion dealer. This is a good choice for investors who have quite a lot of gold. It’s not a great move to keep tens of thousands of dollars in bullion within your home. However you choose to store your most popular gold coins, make sure you keep them clean and free of damage. There’s nothing worse than losing your investment value because of wear and tear over time. 

Final Thoughts: Most Popular Gold Coins

The most popular gold coins in the world offer both bullion and numismatic value. Collectors should consider coins all over the world before making their choice. Many investors tend to stick with the world’s most popular gold coins, such as the American Gold Eagle and the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. 

But there are many hidden gems on the bullion market, and buying popular gold coins from Chinese, Australian, or South African Mints can offer diversity and cultural value to your growing gold portfolio. 

About The Author

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