Gold Facts and Statistics
What is the most popular gold bullion coin ?
The U.S. Gold Eagle.
Why does bullion cost more than the spot price?
The 'spot' price of gold is a theoretical price upon which all gold business is based. It is
a base price, before any commissions or fees, and does not include costs such as minting, insuring,
shipping, and so forth.
Is bullion always pure gold ?
No. The American Eagle, Krugerrand, and Britannia, and others are 91.7% (22 karat) gold. They
contain their full stated weight in gold, just like any form of bullion, but have an additional
weight in alloy to harden them against wear. Other bullion coins are pure gold (24 karat or 99.99%)
without alloy, including the Maple Leaf, Kangaroo, Panda, and Australian Dragon.
How are the prices of gold bullion coins set in the market
? - Who sets the price?
Everyday, gold trades in dozens of markets around the world- New York, Chicago, Sydney, Tokyo,
Hong Kong, Calcutta, Turkey, France, and so forth. Each market reacts to news as it happens,
and gold is always trading, wherever the sun shines as the earth turns. The prices are 'set,'
and constantly 're-set,' by the ever-changing supply and demand factors, input by thousands of
investors, central banks, governments, miners, jewelers, dealers, and others who trade in gold
almost daily. The gold market amounts to billions of dollars every day, and no one can 'set'
the price. It changes constantly, due to hundreds of factors, ranging from the opening of a new
gold mine, to the changes in interest rates of one currency or another. Of all the commodity
markets, the gold market is probably the largest and most free market in the world.
Aren't gold bars cheaper than coins ?
Yes, the larger gold bars such as 10 ounce, kilogram (32.15 oz), and 400 ounce gold bars can
be bought for a smaller fee over the spot price of gold.
Which is the least expensive gold bullion coin ?
The older year Krugerrands are the least expensive way to buy one ounce gold bullion coins.
Because the Krugerrand was so widely sold in this country from 1975 - 1985, there is almost always
a good supply of these older gold coins available at less than the rates you have to pay for
newly minted coins. Of course, the buy-back rate on Krugerrands is also less, so "net-net," the
cost of trading in Krugerrands is about the same as the other standard bullion coins.
Which coin is the heaviest gold bullion coin - contains
the most gold ?
The Australians actually put out a gold Kangaroo coin which weighs a kilogram - 32.15 troy ounces,
or about 2.2 pounds avoirdupois. This monster size coin contains more gold than any other round,
legal tender chunk of gold. If you're interested, these are occasionally available in this country
- give us a call and we'll find out for you!
Which Countries produce gold coins ?
The most popular ones are on this site. Over the centuries, most countries have produced gold
coins at some point in their history. And modern bullion coins have been produced by several
countries over the past few years, including Britain, Singapore, Mexico, not to mention the states
of California and Texas.
How many different sizes of gold coins are available ?
Gold bullion coins range in size from as small as 1/25th of an ounce up to the full kilogram
(32.15 troy ounces) Australian Nugget. By far the most popular is the 1-troy ounce size, which
probably accounts for more than 75% of all bullion gold traded.
| I see a different spot price (in the newspaper, on the Internet, radio,
etc) from what you are quoting. Why is that?
The 'spot' price of gold is always changing, and there will be many different legitimate ‘spot’
prices in a single day. Obviously, the price you see in the newspaper is yesterday's closing
price, and other sources you find will vary in how up-to-the-minute they are. When you call us
during the U.S. trading day, you will be quoted an absolutely up to the minute price from the
U.S. Comex trading exchange.
|Don't gold coins have 'numismatic' value that makes them more expensive?
The modern bullion coins are purposefully struck to have no 'numismatic' value whatsoever. They
cost money to manufacture, distribute, and sell, but these same costs apply to gold bars or ingots.
True ‘numismatic’ coins can trade for a price that is nowhere near their bullion value.
Is gold cheaper in other countries ?
No. Worldwide markets, and the portability of gold, insure that the price of gold will not vary
significantly in free markets from country to country.
Why is the premium higher on small gold coins ?
Simple economics is why bullion coins that are fractions of an ounce cost more per ounce than
a 1-ounce coin. There's a fixed production cost to bullion, no matter what the size. So on
a smaller size coin, that production cost is a bigger percentage of its gold value.
Do the premiums change ?
Yes, there are times when premiums can vary different forms of gold bullion, due to changes in
demand or availability. These changes don't happen very often, and usually don't amount to more
than a few percentage points. Eventually, the premiums return to 'normal.'
Is 24 karat gold the best ?
24 karat gold is the purest form of gold (99.9% or more), but it is not necessarily the 'best.'
Gold coinage has traditionally been 22 karat or so, because the addition of a small percentage
of alloy metal, usually copper, strengthens the coin tremendously and makes it less susceptible
to wear and damage. Pure gold would be a poor choice for a coin that actually has to pass hand
to hand in commercial use - it would wear smooth very quickly
Why aren't some gold coins pure ?
Traditionally, gold coins are 90% to 91.7% pure. The addition of another metal as alloy
makes the coins stand up to wear much better than pure gold, which is very soft. Many modern bullion
coins are pure gold, because they are not likely to ever have to be used as everyday 'money.'
What is the mintage figure on bullion coins ?
Each year, the issuing mint will generally strike and sell as many standard bullion coins as
the market will absorb. There is no attempt to limit the amount made, or produce a coin with
a rarity value. The various world mints compete for the bullion gold market, and each attempts
to distribute as large a volume as the market will bear.
Why do bullion coins have a face value ?
Gold bullion coins have a legal tender face value, often a value which seems ridiculously low
compared to the actual gold value of the coin. This nominal face value is assigned to these coins
to make them actual legal tender, which can be transported from country to country, freely, and
without the tariffs and taxes imposed by some countries on gold bullion
For a large purchase, shouldn't I buy the less expensive gold bars
Usually not, if you are going to take physical delivery of the gold. You may save a couple of
percent, but the bars are harder to resell once they leave the depository they are stored at.
It's hard to find a ready buyer for the larger bars, and often there is a delay in payment, or
even a possible re-assay required. Larger bars are fine if you buy them and leave them in the
depository for storage. But if you wish to take possession of your gold yourself, the one ounce
bullion coins are much easier to resell.
Don't gold coins have 'numismatic' value that makes them
more expensive ?
The modern bullion coins are purposefully struck to have no 'numismatic' value whatsoever. They
cost money to manufacture, distribute, and sell, but this is just a small percentage compared
to 'numismatic' coins.
Is gold straight out of a gold mine pure ?
Gold comes out of the ground in different purities, depending on the location of the mine. Typically,
natural or 'placer' gold ranges from 65% to 98% pure, with most around 85%. Gold can also be
found mixed with silver, copper, or other metals in varying percentages. And gold is often extracted
in minute quantities per ton of dirt or ore. There are gold mines in Nevada that profitably remove
.05 ounces, or about $14 worth of pure gold from a ton of dirt.
How much gold is there in the world ?
All the gold mined in the world in history would fit in a cube 60 feet on each side, that is
to say, it would fit in the space underneath the Eiffel Tower. Gold occurs as part of the earth’s
crust at approximately .0025 parts per million, and is widely distributed throughout the world.
Gold also occurs in seawater, to the tune of approximately 10 parts of gold per trillion parts
of water, concentrations too small to profitably extract.
See our page that continuously updates the value of all the gold in the world > Click
How much gold is mined in a year?
Each year, approximately 2500 tons of gold were mined throughout the world. South Africa leads
the world in gold mining, and the U.S., Russia, Canada, and Australia are also major producers.
Gold is distributed widely over the earth, and gold mining is pursued in most countries with
Aren't gold production costs coming down every year ?
As gold exploration and extraction techniques become more technologically advanced, the cost
of getting gold out of the ground tends to go down. For instance, there are some new mines that
have costs of production well below $200 per ounce of gold. On the other hand, the fact that
gold has been sought all over the world for thousands of years means that the easy pickings have
already been discovered. There are no new California- or South Africa-size discoveries to be
made. New mines are fewer and farther between, and the promising ones often start out strong
and fade out fast when the actual amount of extractable gold doesn't measure up to expectations.
Isn't gold just an obsolete form of money ?
The world's central banks and private citizens certainly don't think so. And our own Fort Knox
contains the U.S. national gold holdings which form our monetary reserve. Although gold as money
is not a part of our daily lives, every major nation holds gold as a fiscal insurance policy.
Money in the form of paper currency and accounting entries comes and goes, but gold is a form
of permanent national wealth.The 20th Century just past is littered with the debris of currencies
which inflated out of existence and became obsolete, including those from Germany, France, Russia,
Italy, Mexico, and many others. Paper monies often become obsolete - gold never has.
Can I buy gold coins over the internet ? How ?
You can buy gold from OnlyGold.com, and learn all about gold through our website, but the actual
purchase of gold comes with your phone call to one of our staff. For reasons of security, privacy,
and payment integrity, your actual purchase of gold is done the old-fashion way: talking to a
real human being, confirming your purchase, sending us a check or electronic funds transfer,
and taking delivery via Registered U.S. Mail or bonded courier.
|How long has gold bullion been around ?
Probably since gold was first mined commercially. Early bullion bars were poured at the mines
of ancient Egypt and Rome. These were just a way to transport gold from the mine, later to be
made into jewelry, artwork, or coinage.
Bullion begat coins thousands of years ago. Gold and silver coinage were
standardized and legally authorized forms of bullion, and were valued because they were reliable,
measured amounts of precious metals. In other words, they were money.
|What was the first modern gold bullion coin?
The South African Krugerrand in 1967 pioneered the idea of a coin that contained an ounce of
pure gold, and was made to trade just for its gold value.