Sunday, February 26, 2006

Islamic Gold Coins

Not very well known in the west is the Islamic Gold and Silver coins available for collecting, saving and trading.

The history of Islamic coins and the laws relating to them may be found at Islamic Gold Coins and it is a very interesting piece of history not generally known in the west.

According to Islamic Gold Coins.
"In the beginning the Muslims used gold and silver by weight and the dinar and dirhams that they used were made by the Persians."

"The first dated coins that can be assigned to the Muslims are copies of silver dirhams of the Sassanian Yezdigird III, struck during the Khalifate of Uthman, radiy'allahu anhu. These coins differ from the original ones in that an Arabic inscription is found in the obverse margins, normally reading "in the Name of Allah". Since then the writing in Arabic of the Name of Allah and parts of Qur'an on the coins became a custom in all mintings made by Muslims."

"Under what was known as the coin standard of the Khalif Umar Ibn al-Khattab, the weight of 10 dirhams was equivalent to 7 dinars (mithqals)"

These would perhaps be some of the oldest minted coins in existence and, it is said, are still being minted today.

Strict Islamic Law does not permit the use of a promise of payment as a medium of exchange therefore does not permit, within its circle, paper money but only gold and silver.

It is considered that gold and silver are the most stable currency the world has ever seen. From the beginning of Islam until today, the value of the Islamic bimetallic currency has remained surprisingly stable in relation to basic consumable goods:

A chicken 1400 years ago, cost one dirham (a silver coin). Today, it still costs approximately one dirham. The inflation in terms of the value of silver therefore has been zero unlike the paper currencies prevalent today. The same applies to gold.

Gold cannot be inflated by printing more of it. It cannot be devalued by government decree. Unlike paper currency it is an asset which does not depend upon anybody's promise to pay.

Portability and anonymity of gold are both important, but the most significant fact is that gold is an asset that is no-one else’s liability.

All forms of paper assets: bonds, shares, and even bank deposits, are promises to repay money borrowed. Their value is dependent upon the investor's belief that the promise to repay will be fulfilled. As junk bonds and the Mexican peso have illustrated, a questionable promise soon loses value.

Gold is not like this. A piece of gold is independent of the financial system, and it's worth is underwritten by 5,000 years of human experience.

The Islamic Dinar is a specific weight of 22k gold (917.) equivalent to 4.25 grams and the Islamic Dirham is a specific weight of pure silver equivalent to 3.0 grams.

The coins are used principally for savings as they are considered wealth in themselves. They are also used to pay for dowry and used to buy and sell or trade as a legitimate medium of exchange.

These coins are very hard to come buy. There is a lot of speculation going on with Dinar paper money from Iraq but that is more concerned with cashing in on war and human suffering than promoting the value of gold coins.

If you ever come across any genuine Islamic gold coins such as the gold Dinar, buy them, they are worth more than their weight in gold!

Australian Lunar Gold Coin Series

The Perth Mint in Australia, has been striking an excellent theme series of purse gold coins called the Australian Lunar Gold Coin Series.

These solid gold coins celebrate the Chinese year and years covered so far include:
2004 Year of the Monkey
2005 Year of the Dog
2005 Year of the Rooster
2006 Year of the Dog Proof Issue
Past issues include:
Year of the Dragon
Year of the Goat
Year of the Horse
Year of the Mouse
Year of the Ox
Year of the Rabbit
Year of the Snake
Year of the Tiger
Most of these coins are one tenth and one twentieth of a troy ounce with some half and quarter and one fill ounce coin also. All gold coins are 99.99% pure gold and are classed as Australian Legal Tender and feature polished design elements on a frosted background. this makes them an esy buy for someone one a budget.

The quality of the Australian Lunar Gold Coin Series is excellent and the coins are very beautiful. In addition, unlike the Canadian Maple, these coins are somewhat more durable and less likely to be damaged if treated properly.

All coins come sealed in their own protective plastic pouch and should not be removed under any circumstances to retain the quality of the coin and the value. If you buy any of these coins and the packaging is broken return them immediately from whence you bought them.

As well as individual coins they also come attractively displayed in boxed sets with certificates of authenticity.

This entire coin series, unlike the American eagle which is virtually unlimited, comes in limited mintage and this increases their collectability.

The Australian Lunar Gold Coin Series makes an excellent gold coin theme and would be a very valuable and attractive addition to any coin enthusiast's collection.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Buy Gold and Silver Coins

Many a coin collector buy either gold or silver coins, but some smart collectors buy gold and silver coins.

When it comes to investment, these collectors are taking advantage of a number of points about collecting coins.

They are diversifying their collection. By not specializing, they are able to take advantage of any sudden surge in value of a particular metal, coin or range of coins.

Gold and silver coins are easy to buy, store, transport and sell. The silver coins have a lesser value per coin than the gold, generally speaking. Of course certain antique or rare coins may be the exception but, by the same token, these are coins you would not ordinarily buy and sell frequently and they tend to have a more specialized collector.

At the time of writing, a one ounce silver coin is worth around ten US dollars whereas a one ounce gold coin would be around 550 US dollars. Carrying around some 5000 dollars worth of gold coins would be easier than 5000 of silver coins but also would be harder to sell on a one coin basis and one may not want to cash in so much at one time. Having both gives one the choice so that you can cash in a minimal amount using the silver coins or a larger amount using the gold depending on choice and circumstances

In both types of coins the best coins to buy, retaining their value best and being easier to sell, would be the American gold and silver Eagles, the Canadian gold and silver Maple Leaf, the gold Krugerrand and the Australian gold and silver Kookaburra. The British also have the gold and silver Sovereign and of course the Chinese gold and silver Panda coins.

All these are fairly common, recognisable and easy to purchase. They are all available in the one ounce with 99.9 percent fine gold or silver. All retain their value, if not increase it, and all are aesthetically appealing coins to have and admire.

Always ensure you buy proof or brilliant uncirculated coins and always buy from a reputable dealer.

It is a smart move to have a diversity of coins in your portfolio and buying both gold and silver coins will help to ensure you are not caught with your pants down!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gold ETFs or Gold Coins?

The extraordinary and popular expansion of gold ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) in the gold market has prompted the question 'Are gold ETFs taking over the gold money market?' It has even been said that the increase purchase of gold by ETF funds has partially driven the current bull market.

The apparency that gold ETFs give the smaller investor a better spread on their investment is somewhat outweighed by other factors.

The buy in and sell out cost on gold EFTs is smaller than on purchasing actual bullion. With bullion you have the dealer mark ups on the buy and a reduced below actual gold cost per ounce on the sell. Bullion is somewhat of a longer term market but with gold being a bull market currently, the concept of being able to buy gold and even sell it for a nominal broker's fee seems very attractive for the small investor.

What is often over looked however is that gold ETFs are considered an investment activity and therefore subject, in many countries, to a capital gains tax or income tax. Accumulating or buying and selling gold coins however are usually not as they are actual legal currency.

There are some exceptions however as in some US states it seems a capital gains tax may be charged if one sells gold bullion coins. So in all situations when it comes to any investments or the buying or selling of gold in any form, and potential tax considerations, one should always consult with ones own financial advisors.

In addition, regardless of being backed by gold, other influences affect the gold ETF which is in reality a just a share backed by gold rather than the gold itself. This is demonstrated by the fact that you cannot take delivery of solid gold if you cash or trade in your ETFs. You will only be paid in cash..

There is a vast difference between owning actual gold and owning a certificate or piece of paper that says you own shares in a gold pool.

If that gold is not in your possession it is subject to the influences, such as governmental and bank regulation, in whatever country and bank it is deposited.

It is subject to the short term frame of mind where investors buy in to make a quick buck and sell out. This does nothing to increase the stability of the precious metal.

Of course there is nothing wrong with gold EFTs. They have wriggled themselves into a niche in today’s gold market by providing a platform for investors to invest in gold who ordinarily would not, without exerting too much effort.

It is probably too soon to say if they have found their level playing field. Hard gold bullion is still the favorite of die hard gold investors, especially for the long term. Eventually a balance will be found as those that want to 'play' investment will be satiated and the gold 'nuggets' of the industry will still be around buying and selling actual gold coins and bars.

So in the game of gold EFTs vs Gold Coins, it is unlikely that gold ETFs are taking over the gold money market. Just providing a lazy way for investors to jump on the gold band wagon.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fake Gold Coins

When buying gold coins it is vitally important that you ensure you are not buying fake gold coins.

Fakes gold coins do exist, just as they do with silver and even other coins such as ancient or rare coins.

How can you tell the difference between a fake gold coin and a genuine one?

Sometimes the difference is obvious, especially when you have a fake and a genuine coin side by side.

Some of the indications of fake coins are quality of the coin, it can look dull and not shiny and sometimes look *too* shiny. There are often imperfections and the coin looks like it has been cast not pressed. (which it usually has been).

Also the sound. When dropped or hit with another coin does it have that ring a real coin has.

You might recall the only traditional method of biting the coin, often favored in movies about pirates. Well biting the coin can tell the softness of the coin and fake coins are usually much softer than the real McCoy. Biting the coin is not recommended as it may damage it not to mention your teeth!

Probably the best way to check if a coin is fake is to take it to a reputable dealer and get them to check. They will be able to tell you.

And what if you are thinking of buying a coin and not sure if it is a fake or not.

Well firstly don’t buy unless the dealer offers you a guarantee the coin is genuine. If it is rare it should come with a certificate of authenticity.

There are some famous fakes and some people even collect fakes due possibly to the notoriety attached to them.

Some of the sovereign dates which appear in high quality fakes include 1822, 1827, 1832, 1887, 1916-C (Ottawa Mint, Canada), and 1917. These are all London mint coins (no mintmark), except where specified. Most of these dates are scarce or rare. The 1917 London, for example, catalogues at £2750 in EF condition, and the 1916-C at £7000.

It has also been pointed out that a blind person is more able to detect a fake coin from the real than a sighted person. Possibly due to the fact that a blind person uses his other senses more.

Fake Gold Coins has a lot of information that is useful to know in this field.

Fake gold coins, however, will not be a problem for the collector who uses due diligence when buying gold coins.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Best Buy for Gold Bullion Coins

Definitely one of the best buys for gold bullion coins is the 99.99 percent one ounce gold coins.

The most popular of these are the American Gold Eagle, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and the South African Krugerrand.

All these coins contain 1 ounce of gold and are over 90.00 percent fine.

It should be noted that, whereas the Gold Maple Leaf is 24 karat gold, the gold eagle and the Krugerrand are only 22 karat gold. This means it is alloyed with another metal, usually silver and or copper, to increase it’s hardness and durability. Despite this the popularity of the gold eagle and Krugerrand have never waned.

For new coin collectors and investors, these coins make a great start to a collection.

All these coins are easily transported, stored and can be sold quickly if required. They are accepted in all countries and are all legal forms of currency in their own country.

Current prices for these gold coins are in the 600 to 620 US dollar range but the price will vary as the price of gold varies.

When you buy such coins you will always find the dealer has added his own mark up to the price as well as shipping and, if requested, insurance.

Always ensure that when you buy gold coins from a dealer that you select a reputable dealer and that the coins come appropriately sealed and with a certificate.

For a new collector, the best buy for gold bullion coins is the top three, American Gold Eagles, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and South African Krugerrands, and these will give hours of enjoyment and pleasure to young and old alike.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Buy Gold Coins Online

One of the best ways to buy gold coins these days is online. What should you know about buying gold coins online?

Reputable dealers all have comprehensive web sites that are designed to assist the buyer make the right purchase. Dealers make money, not on the one-off sale, but on the repeat business coin collectors will bring. Therefore they are keen to do as much as possible to retain your custom including providing lots of information and an easy interface to work with.

You should also look for a dealer who would be happy to buy back from you at some future date.

Here are some criteria to keep in mind when you pick an online dealer to buy and sell from.

Select an established dealer who has been around for five or even better, ten years or more. New companies spring up at the drop of a hat and when the gold market rises a flurry of new 'businesses' will emerge only to sink again when or if the market drops. You want a company that will be there regardless of the fluctuations of the market place and will continue to serve you in the years to come. An established dealer that has thousands of clients is not about to disappear for the sake of a few dollars when they have a multimillion dollar turnover.

Pick an established established gold dealer that has a fixed address displayed on their website.

What sort of associations is the dealer registered with? Better Business Bureau, Coin Associations, etc. In short, what credentials can the dealer offer to substantiate their worthiness?

Is it easy to contact the dealer? Do you have to spend hours on the phone only to talk to a machine? If so it is better to find a dealer with whom you can actually have a conversation and, importantly, make you feel you are important to their business and not a brush off. Find a dealer who listens in other words.

Pick a dealer that knows what they are talking about. Can the dealer tell you which are the best coins to buy? Can they make any suggestions? Do they just try to sell you anything or would they be selective with a view to assisting you build up a portfolio of gold coins that suit you?

Do price comparisons between the dealers. You would be surprised at the variations when comparing apples with apples.

If you can, find out some of the dealer's customers and ask them their thoughts. Ask around at gold forums for other people's thoughts on the best dealers to buy from. Referral is invaluable when it comes to first hand experience.

You are looking for a dealer that you work with and build an association with long term so it is important that you make the right selection. There are plenty of online companies or dealers out there.

With some serious research on the dealers and companies out there you will certainly find the best one for you when you are ready to buy gold coins online.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Should I buy Gold?

'Should I buy gold?' is a very important question. The short answer is yes, but it is important to understand why and to look at what form of gold you want to buy.

Traditionally the wealthy aristocrats would keep a large portion of their wealth in gold, usually in gold coins, bars and jewelry. Gold has always had a fascination for man and seems to invoke a desire to possess it. It is not the rarest of materials, platinum is rarer and so are diamonds. But it is gold that holds that magical undefined quality, that desire to be owned, which other precious metals and stones do not all seem to have.

If, like the aristocrats, you want to preserve some of your assets in gold, or you are keen just to have some gold bullion in the form of gold coins as a hobby there are various types of gold to suit any purpose.

Stocks and derivatives are popular with business people who do not want to spend the time searching for that appropriate gold coin or bar and are not interested in storage or even aesthetic appeal. One does not see one's gold but only bits of paper that represent one's gold assets. May be profitable but not quite so much fun.

Gold held in trust, such as in is useful for using gold as a transactional medium or for short term gains perhaps.

Gold Bullion in the form of gold coins and bars is popular with collectors and investors alike. The advantage with coins and small bars is that they are easy to transport and store, the value is retained and even increases over time and they are easy to sell. Gold coins, being a medium of exchange and legal tender in their country of production, rather than a investment vehicle, attract less tax problems as well.

It is also important that you work out how much or what proportion of your assets you want to diversify into gold. Of course you can split the funds you are committing to gold between different gold types as well. Not putting all your eggs into one basket is always a sound policy.

The answer to the question, 'should I buy gold?' of course is yes and provided you know what mix you are going to buy and how much you are going to spend, any investment you make in gold is sure to result in a bright golden future!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Buy Gold Coins

Even though "buy gold coins!" is not the cry you will hear from an investment advisor or your accountant perhaps it is, never the less, a good strategy to follow.

Gold coins continue to maintain their value regardless of the economic climate and even improve their value over the long term.

Some gold coins have a value over and above the value of the gold content due to the coins rarity.

When you are buying gold coins these are the things to look for:

Type of coin - Eagle, Sovereign etc.
Size of coin - These can vary also. Sometimes measured in value and sometimes in weight.
Face Value - 1 dollar or five dollar or even 10 dollar (for US or Canadian coins) for example.
Weight - Usually measured in troy ounces or part of an ounce but grams have also become a popular weight measurement recently.
Fineness - (999% fine) Amount of gold compared to other metals, such as silver. Gold bars are usually measured as 999 parts per 1000. Most gold coins are usually 917 parts per 1000. Other metal is added to make them easier to mint. Most gold coin producing mints and nations now produce 99.9 percent pure gold coins.
Gold Content in Grams - The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in grams.
Gold Content in troy Ounces - The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in ounces.
Price - How much you would be expected to pay for the gold coin advertised. This would include any margin added by the seller and any tax that might be applicable.

The above information should be clearly displayed along with, ideally, a picture of the coin. Sometimes the date it was minted and the condition is included also if it not a mint coin (new, never been used, Mint Issue). Proof coins should also have a certificate authenticating their condition.

Some old coins can have a value far beyond the face value or gold value. Rarity, limited issue and aesthetic appeal can add value to a coin. Such coins are worth keeping as they will only continue to increase in value over the years.

Browsing the coins available will give you a good understanding of what coins to collect and how much to pay for them.

To buy gold coins is a fascinating and often financially rewarding activity for any coin collector!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Buy Gold Stock

Why buy gold stock now when gold has already risen 27 percent since 2001 one might ask?

Every year 2500 metric tones of gold are dug out of the Earth. Despite this the demand for gold still exceeds the supply as evidenced by the growing global gold demand. Estimates today are that four to five thousand metric tones of gold are sold each year so the demand for gold is exceeding the supply by at least sixty percent and even up to one hundred percent in some areas such as India and China where the demand for gold is reaching astronomical heights.

And this is despite a massive sell off of gold by western governments anxious, over the past few years, to gain more control over their paper money by removing the gold standard. That sell off was, in fact, sufficient to make up the short fall between demand and price for a short time, but now that supply is exhausting itself as the gold is flowing mostly to the Asia markets and disappearing into its bowles. Eventually a new balance will emerge between the price of gold and the demand but this is likely to be quite a ways off yet. Demand is quite likely to exceed supply for some time yet.

So unless there is a massive sell-off by the owners of the world's gold reserves, reducing the deficit in available gold, we will quite likely see a continuing rise for some time.

So what does this mean for us gold enthusiasts in the street?

It means that, regardless of the buying and selling of gold between governments and large institutions, the value of gold will remain the same if not continue to increase. Especially as more paper money is printed and the value of the dollar and other currencies drops with inflation.

We will still be able to buy relatively as much, if not more, today and in the future, with an ounce of pure gold as we could 20 years ago.

There are many ways to invest in gold. One can invest in stock, derivatives or buy actual gold and if you want to take advantage of the current bullish trend one should first consider how much of one’s portfolio one wants to commit to this enterprise.

Then it is a question of how is might affect a gold company's performance and public perception for example such as management practices, speculation in the markets and so forth. There are also tax considerations to be taken into account. Investing in actual gold however tends to carry less risk as you always have the gold in your hand and, particularly when in the form of gold coins, carries no tax implications at all.

When you want to buy gold stock then, it is probably more prudent to buy actual gold coins and bars and 'stock' them away, rather than paper certificates that can give endless problems and possible unwanted tax issues.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Where to Buy Gold

There are many places to buy gold and the question is not so much really where to buy gold but what gold to buy.

One can buy gold practically anywhere, from the jeweler down the road, a gold dealer or to the mint or foundry which produces it.

A lot depends on the type of gold you want and why you want it.

If you are collecting simply as a hobby then gold coins and medals collected for aesthetic reasons will likely appeal to you most.

If you want to have gold as an investment or even just to feel more secure in these uncertain economic times then good quality proof gold coins and gold bars can be an excellent buy.

Where to buy gold?

The easiest and probably the safest place is at a reputable dealer online. Buying gold coins and bars online is very easy. There is a vast amount to choose from and you can browse in the comfort of your own home without going to a dealer and feeling that you have to rush your decision.

One can also buy gold coins and bars through auctions. Sometimes one can get an excellent deal through auctions. By the same token one can get a very poor deal so there is a risk involved. The risk lessens as you become more experienced in buying from auctions and more educated in the subject of gold collecting. However, buying from auctions is not for the faint hearted!

Buying from mints is also possible. Many mints will sell direct to the public now and you do have a guarantee that you will get what you are buying. many mints are government owned or controlled so must conform to certain standards. Their products are always well presented and you know that no one has been fiddling with the coins or bars as they come straight from the mint.

In any purchase of gold coins and gold bars, make a note of the gold content in that gold coin or bar and compare with the current value of gold. You can always find out the current value of gold by checking the top of this page where the daily charts are placed or view your local currency gold price.

The most important thing to keep in mind when buying gold coins or bars is to know exactly what you want. Then it becomes relatively easy to know where to buy gold.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sell Gold and Silver

More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that they can buy and sell gold and silver.

The drop in confidence by people in fical currency, as governments print more paper money to solve the problem of inflation and debt caused by the printing of more paper money, also inspires them to seek 'hard' currency and asset storage in the form of solid gold and silver.

In times of economic crisis or heavy government control, people gravitate towards something they feel has a solidity and a stability proven over many years and that is usually precious metals and jewelry.

When the value of printed currency fluctuates wildly, the value of gold and silver still holds it’s own and an ounce of gold or silver still purchases the same, if not more, than an ounce of gold or silver did 10 or 20 years ago. Many people than accumulate gold and silver in the form of coins and small bars.

The question then arises, when should one sell gold or silver? Of course when the value is at its highest. This will most likely not happen for some time. Both metals are rising steadily as governments violate the most basic of economics resulting in increased debt and inflation. If one can get by without selling gold and silver, then one gets to retain one’s assets and most likely, even increase them as the value of gold and silver increases against the value of the printed dollar.

Gold and silver hold their value, regardless of the economic climate. An ounce of gold will always be an ounce of gold. It will always purchase what an ounce of gold purchases. The same with silver. Accumulating gold and silver coins and bars is an excellent way to store one's assets for the future.

Don Stott at Sell Gold and Silver gives a good rendition of the importance of when not to sell gold and silver.

The point then is, if you want to sell gold or silver, don’t, unless you absolutely have to do so to survive.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

How to Buy Gold Cheaply

How to buy gold cheaply is a question many new collectors often ask.

Actually it is not the right question. The question is 'Where to buy gold cheaply!' In fact cheap is a relative term and really you will never buy gold at less than the current value of the gold at the time you buy it plus a premium depending on the quanitity of gold purchased..

The most popular sources of gold for collectors are mints, dealers, auctions, post offices, shops etc, and how much you pay for the gold depends very much on the following four factors:
  • What type of gold you buy
  • Where you buy it
  • From whom you buy it
  • How much you buy
The best way to buy gold cheaply of course is to buy before the value increases. Then you have bought your gold cheaply. As gold is currently on a rising trend now would be a likely time to buy gold.

Here are some points to be aware of when buying gold.

If you buy from Post Offices, shops and small dealers and you buy small coins with little value of gold but look fanciful and come in expensive looking presentation cases, you are probably buying the most expensive gold around. The cost of mark up as the coin goes from the mint through to wholesalers and then the shop plus the shipping, cost of the presentation case, often more than the value of the gold, will almost certainly guarantee you have paid top dollar for your gold. It will take a long time for you to recoup the value of your gold this way.

But if you buy solid gold coins and large bars with little presentation, just a hermetically sealed plastic transparent case, from a mint or established dealer, you will, in all likelyhood get more gold for your dollar in that you are paying for gold and not plastic, wood or whatever the presentation is made of.

The premium or mark up you pay for bullion bars is usually less than coins also. A once ounce bullion bar will attract less mark up than a one ounce gold coin. The Perth Mint, for example, sells bullion bars of gold by the gram. From one gram up to 10 grams. Guess which is the cheapest per gram to buy? The 19 gram bar of course. Buying half a kilo or one kilo is better although you have to outlay more money initially of course.

In other words. the larger amount of gold you buy at one time, proportionately, the smaller the mark up by the seller. This means laying out thousands instead if hundreds of dollars, but if it is done for investment purposes rather than just a hobby then it is a worthwhile investment.

Also always buy in at the top end of your budget.

But if you like gold coins, buying established and popular 'in demand coins'. These command a better resale price and so keep, and can even increase, their value over time.

Buying gold cheaply involves browsing the various dealers and mints, becoming acquainted with who the best dealers and mints are and what the best coins and bars to buy are. Doing the due diligence, in other words.

Following the above will certainly give you a grounding in how to buy gold cheaply and give you also the best chance of building a nice, satisfactory collection of gold bullion in the form of gold coins and gold bars.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Buying Gold Coins for Beginners

For beginners as well as experienced collectors, buying gold coins can be an exciting hobby as well as a worthwhile investment.

There are many gold coins to chose from and, for the new person starting out, it might look a bit confusing.

If you stick to a few basic principles when buying gold coins however, then you will not go wrong.

Firstly, you need to decide what sort of gold coins you would like to collect. This would depend upon your taste perhaps as well as your economic ability. What do you like and how much can you afford in other words.

The internet is a good place to browse and see what is available in gold coins. Simply placing the term 'gold coins' in will give you a wealth of information on gold coins around the world from the ever popular American Gold Eagles to the Austrian Orchestra sets and from the Australian Kookaburra to the Euro coins produced by the Dutch Mint. In short there are over 45 mints around the world currently producing gold coins and this is on top of the previously minted coins that abound.

You should also check out the dealers online to see what is available and what sort of prices are being charged. As the value of gold and silver rises so the cost of the coins will rise. It is good to get in fairly quickly and also to purchase sets as these end up being worth more per coin than single coins.

It is better, especially when you first start, to collect only proof sets with certificates of authenticity as these are sure to retain their value and will be genuine coins. Later as you become more experienced, you can start to collect the rarer coins. One has to be careful of counterfeit coins, especially when buying from auctions as there is often no certificate or guarantees of genuineness.

Check out the dealer's terms and conditions so that if you are unhappy with your purchase, the dealer will accept the coins back.

By sticking to the established and reputable dealers and mints you can be assured that buying gold coins for beginners will be a pleasurable and lasting hobby.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Indian Head Gold Coins

Indian Head gold coins can command a very high price due to their rarity provided they are in fgood condition. They were only minted from 1907 to 1933 and the total minted was less than a single year's mintage of the Morgan Silver Dollar so there is not that many of them.

President 'Teddy' Roosevelt wanted to create a new gold coin for the US and contracted the famous sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create the Indian Head gold coin. Saint-Gaudens basically sketched the design for the coin on a napkin and passed the design to German-born Adolph A. Weinman, better known to collectors today for his 'Mercury' Dime and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

The great sculptor used the 'Miss Libert' profile, adding a feathered Indian headdress and stars to represent the States. On the reverse of the ten dollar gold coin was an eagle perched on a collection of arrows.

This coin is now much sought after for its rarity, unusual design and history by collectors.

The coin weight is 16.718 grams with .900 fine gold. It has raised stars and the net weight of pure gold is .48375 troy ounce.

Rare dates to look for are: 1920-S, 1930-S, and 1933. Scarce dates to watch out for are: 1908-S, 1911-D, 1911-S, 1913-S

In 1908 Roosevelt commissioned a new five dollar Indian Head gold coin and this was a most unusual coin in that the designer, Bela Lyon Pratt, designed the coin with the head incuse, which is to say, the sculptured head is not raised above the surface, as with most coins, but sunken below it. Again, very few of these coins were minted from 1908 to 1915 when production ceased for ten years before resuming again. In 1929 the stock market crash, bringing the depression, halted production of the five dollars coin forever and there has been no further production since.

This makes the five dollar Indian Head gold coin one of the rarest and most sought after coins ever made.

The five dollar Indian Head gold coin contains half the gold content of a ten dollar gold piece.

As well as being an absorbing pastime if somewhat expensive, collecting Indian Head gold coins are an excellent investment and the rewards will inevitably outweigh the costs in the long term.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Where to Sell Gold Coins

Sometimes we have a need to liquidate some assets and where to sell gold coins can be an important issue if one is to get the best value for one’s gold coins.

Hopefully we have kept our gold coins in the condition in which we purchased them and have looked after them carefully, kept all the paperwork and any certificates and presentation cases the coins came in.

The next step is to decide the coins we wish to sell by searching coin dealers and auction houses to find out what the current prices are being asked for the coins we have. This will give an idea of their current value. Then we can ensure we get the best possible price.

The next step is to find the right outlet to sell our gold coins.

There are some alternatives and each has their advantages and disadvantages.

Firstly one can advertise in the local paper for collectors. Although you might find a collector willing to pay top dollar for your coins this is a rather hit and miss method.

One can use an auction house. Online you have eBay and several others and, again, this is hit and miss as you have a limited time and if the person who wants your coins is not watching, the bidding may be low. One does not always get top dollar at auctions.

The other alternative is to sell to a reputable dealer. Possibly the dealer you purchased the coins from which is usually fairly easy as there will be a record of the coins and, provided there is no change in the condition, the dealer will be happy to buy them back at an agreed upon price.

The dealer will usually give you a fair price, not top dollar obviously as he has to resell the coins again and is in business to make money and the transaction will be smooth. Dealers are usually happy to repurchase coins, creating turn over and giving them stock to sell.

If you cannot or do not wish to sell back to the dealer you purchased from, browse around and study the prices, dealers and auctions, you are sure to find where to sell gold coins and get a satisfactory price as well!

Why Buy Gold

'Why buy gold?' is a question often asked by potential gold bullion collectors.

As we know, gold has been steadily rising since last year and has recently experienced a fall and has stablised out currently. However it appears it may be on the rise again and reaching for a new level.

In actual fact, in the long term, gold has proven over the past 200 years to be very stable. The value of gold as a purchasing power, distinct from the purchase power of the US dollar for example, still remains very much the same or better.

If you look back through history you would find that one ounce of pure gold has hardly changed at all. One ounce of pure gold now still purchases the same as it did 200 years ago. The change in paper currency however, due to manipulation and removing the gold backing from currencies world wide, has been dramatic and can be shown by the consumer price index. What originally cost 20 dollars in 1800 cost 216.86 dollars in 2005. Yet one ounce of gold still purchases today what it did 200 years ago. In fact it is tending to purchase more.

It is likely that this scenario will continue and over the next 200 years, inflation, recession etc. will continue as more paper money is printed. Yet the value of the pure gold troy ounce will remain the same in terms of purchasing power.

This is a good reason to purchase gold.

The next question is 'what sort of gold should one buy?'

Out of the possible four types, stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs), futures and bullion, it is the bullion that will retain its value. Stocks can crash, futures can change wildly and exchange traded funds, although based upon actual stocks, rather like the dollar when it was backed by gold, still has the volatility of trading in a similar way to stocks and futures.

Bullion has a history of remaining stable, whether it be gold bars or gold coins, both have the stability of being actual gold rather than a representation of it. Both have the assurance of retaining their value even when there is a stock market downturn or an economic recession and both have an instant salability at the value of gold at the time of the sale.

Plus, gold coins and gold bars can be easily transported and stored making them the ideal medium to invest value in.

This then, for the collector as well as the investment or even just the hobbyist, is the answer to the question, why buy gold.