Gold coins are a popular way to invest in precious metals. They have more to them than bullion, however. Coinage also has a form of value called numismatic value. This is the monetary value of the coin itself, beyond the value of its bullion. When you buy coins made of any precious metal, you’ll pay the market rate for the bullion, plus a premium added to make up for the additional numismatic value of the coin. Assessing this numismatic value is something that has to be done by an expert and that has to be certified before you sell the coin off.
Assessing the bullion value of gold coins is easy. The bullion will be of a particular fineness. In coins, this is usually less than the fineness value of straight bullion. Bullion that is sold in ingots—meaning any solid shape—is usually .999 fine, or 99.9% pure gold. For coins, the gold is usually alloyed to lend it strength and to allow for the creation of unique colorations for the coin. Most coins are around 90 percent gold, with some of them being slightly more than that. The bullion value will be affected by the purity of the metal.
When experts assess the numismatic value of gold coins, there are numerous factors that come into play. The most significant, however, are scarcity and condition. Generally, rarer coins are worth more money. Rare coins that are in excellent condition are worth the most money of all, in most cases. This is part of the reason that investors tend to hang onto their gold coinage for a long time. As time goes on, the stores of any given coin are depleted and, hopefully, the value of the coin the collector has in their possession increases as a result of that.
Gold coins are one of the most easily verified types of bullion. By accurately identifying a coin, a buyer or seller can quickly ascertain how much bullion it contains and what the purity of that bullion happens to be. The numismatic value, however, requires that a process called certification be taken care of before the coin is sold. Numismatic value requires a great deal of expertise to accurately assess, as does the authenticity of any rare coin. This can be taken care of by third-party organizations and the certification information needs to be kept with the coin at all times.