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Buying Gold and Silver Coins

While today, the concept of coins is well-known and the pieces themselves commonplace, their rich history, vast diversity in both form and function, and undeniable value as investment pieces are often overlooked, if realized at all. Coins have been struck, traded, disseminated and lauded from antiquity to modern day, establishing greater significance and lasting impact on the world each step of the way. Read more about buying gold and silver coins here.

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Buying Gold and Silver Coins

While we’ve predominantly come to think of coins as small, round, flat metal pieces that comfortably fit in the palm of a hand, they have, in fact, been produced throughout history in a range of shapes and sizes, of diverse elements and compositions, and for different uses and purposes.


While copper, nickel, brass, and alloy combinations have all made their way into the pieces at some point, the most recognizable, wide-spread, and highly regarded coinage materials are undoubtedly the precious metals gold and silver.


Today, gold and silver coins are remarkable assets that maintain good standings in investment markets around the world. The United States Gold Bureau touts an extensive inventory of bullion, uncirculated and proof coins, giving novice investors and seasoned experts alike the opportunity to custom-tailor a precious metals portfolio ideally suited to his or her needs.


What’s the difference between bullion, proof, and uncirculated coins?

While all bullion, uncirculated and proof coins are struck as investment pieces, there are differences among the three types.


Bullion coins derive value from their precious metal contents versus from factors like scarcity, quality, popularity, and market regard. Since bullion is traded on the commodities market, the values of these investment pieces are inextricably linked to and fluctuate with, precious metal spot prices and market performance. Some bullion coins may include face values as part of their designs, but these figures are nominal, offering less value than that of the coins’ precious metal contents. Additionally, bullion coins are sold through reputable dealers like the United States Gold Bureau, and not by the U.S. Mint directly.


Conversely, proof and uncirculated coins do derive value from factors like how many pieces are available for trade, how much investor demand they’re experiencing, and overall quality as determined by industry experts. Uncirculated coins are also known as “Mint State.”


While proof and uncirculated coins are created via similar processes, proof production involves additional rigor and scrutiny, which leads to the exquisite finish for which the pieces are known. Proof coins start with blanks – or bare, coin-shaped pieces of precious metal – that are specially treated, hand-burnished, and cleaned before striking. In both processes, blanks are hand-fed into coin presses and subsequently struck to produce coins. Proofs are struck a minimum of two times, resulting in softly frosted, highly defined images that appear to hover just above the pieces’ high-sheen backgrounds. Proofs are sold in protective capsules for quality preservation, and both proof and uncirculated coins come with a certificate of authenticity.


Further elevating value and desirability, proof and uncirculated coins can also be “graded.” Grading is a process through which a coin’s quality is ranked numerically on a scale of one – indicating “poor” quality – to 70 – indicating “perfect” quality. Industry expert organizations like the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) are the authorities on coin grading and the only type of entity to issue such scores. They use a rubric known as the Sheldon Scale, which defines what characteristics a coin should have to receive a specific grade. The Sheldon Scale was developed in 1949 by American psychologist and numismatist, William Herbert Sheldon, Jr., updated in the 1970s, and still used to this day.


Obtaining a PCGS or NGC grade is a process that requires extra time, effort and money from the seeking party. The United States Gold Bureau maintains the view that despite this, grades are undeniably worthwhile additions that solidify the worth of your investments. To streamline the precious metal acquisition process and offer the highest quality items available, the U.S. Gold Bureau completes the grading process before our pieces being offered to clients. For modern coins – those produced from the end of the 20th century to today – the U.S. Gold Bureau offers an proof coin inventory made up almost exclusively of Proof 70 – or Investment Grade – versions, the highest-ranking variety on the market. The U.S. Gold Bureau is the largest bulk purchaser of numismatic coins from the U.S. Mint and only a small percentage of coins minted come back with the top-ranking PF70 score. As such, the population of PF70 Investment Grade Coins will remain small and, in effect, highly valuable. Pre-1933 coins are offered with grades other than 70.


Additionally, the United States Gold Bureau has partnered with former U.S. Mint Director, Edmund C. Moy, to add even more value to our inventory of Investment Grade Coins. All Proof 70 coins offered by the U.S. Gold Bureau are accompanied by a certification label that has been hand-signed by Moy himself. This feature is provided exclusively to U.S. Gold Bureau clients and is expected to add value to the already desirable PF70 coins for years to come.


Ed Moy was the U.S. Mint’s 38th director from 2006 to 2011 before which, he served as Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel from 2001 to 2006, during the George W. Bush administration. Outside of government, Moy has played pivotal roles in large-scale national and global companies, gained clout as a celebrated author and economist, and captivated audiences as an impressive public speaker.


What is the history of gold and silver coins?

While today, it’s common knowledge that coins have played, or continue to play, significant roles in everyday life, perhaps what is lesser known is just how long “coins” have existed around the world.


While the exact origins of “coins” is still cloaked in mystery, historical consensus concludes that the first coin-like pieces most likely came from the Iron Age region of Anatolia, and more specifically, the Kingdom of Lydia. These early “coins” were made out of electrum, a naturally occurring pale yellow colored silver and gold alloy, but not produced uniformly or with a standardized weight. These Lydian “coins” also were not used primarily – or maybe even at all – for financial purposes, but perhaps instead as ceremonial tokens, like badges or medals, significant in ritualistic or commemorative practices. They also may very well have been issued by the priests of the day versus the ruling government.


In addition to Anatolian Lydia, coins were found around the same time in Archaic Greece, India and China. As Greek colonization spread throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa, Syria, then Persia and the Balkans, use of coins followed suit, seeping into more and more societies around the region over history.


But even so, it took some time for coins to grow into commercial use. The first example of the pieces being used for large-scale retailing was likely in Greece, with silver fraction pieces known as “Hemiobols." The Ionian” Greeks minted these "coins" in the later part of the 6th century BC.


When did the United States begin using coins?

While paling in comparison to the timespan of global coinage, hard money in the United States boasts a storied history all its own. Official government-issued coining began in the United States in the 18th century after the passing of the Coinage Act of 1792. This landmark legislation established an official government-operated mint for the fledgling nation and regulated coins for distribution. The first coins produced officially by the United States were the Half Cent, Cent, Half Dime, Dime, Quarter, Half Dollar, Dollar, Quarter Eagle, Half Eagle, and Eagle.


However, coins did exist in the region before the 1792 Coinage Act. During this pre-currency time, colonists would use pieces from different sources and countries to settle business transactions. The pieces of this pseudo “currency” of sorts came to be fittingly dubbed as “Colonial Coins,” and was an eclectic mix of other countries’ coins, random tokens and medals, and even counterfeit forms disseminated by individuals.


Throughout its tenure, American coinage has boasted an array of beautiful designs, many of which are still highly lauded today. The United States Gold Bureau offers coins carrying some of the most historically significant American depictions such as Liberty Heads, Indian Heads, Saint-Gaudens, and Princess motifs, among others.


Our inventory also extends outside of American coinage to include prominent coins from around the world, such as South Africa’s Krugerrand, Canada’s Maple Leaf pieces, Australia’s Kangaroos and Koalas, and Austria’s Gold Philharmonic. Additionally, we offer an excellent selection of gold and silver rounds featuring distinguished design replicas or original imagery, as well as miscellaneous pieces such as those falling into the junk silver category.


Why should I invest in gold and silver coins?

While investments like stocks and bonds have gained popularity over the last century, gold, silver, and other precious metals continue to grow in reputation and value. The often-felt volatility and vulnerability of now-mainstream stocks, bonds, and other markets have led many investors to seek more reliable assets. Forms of precious metals such as gold and silver coins have proven time and again to be steadfast stores of wealth, even through the lowest lows of fiat markets. Not only are hard money pieces viewed by many as ways of hedging against economic turmoil, but coins also prove to be excellent ways of expanding and diversifying asset portfolios, while simultaneously investing in American and global history.


Top Reasons to Buy Gold and Silver Coins from the United States Gold Bureau:

  • -Gold and silver coins are viewed by many investors as reliable vehicles in hedging against economic turmoil and as healthy stores of value.
  • -Gold and silver coins boast a long and rich backstory that further adds to their cultural, historical, and monetary significance.
  • -The United States Gold Bureau offer clients access to an extensive inventory of highly regarded and valued gold and silver coins, many of which boast unique designs from American and global history.
  • -The United States Gold Bureau prides itself on bringing trust and integrity to precious metals investing, and our goal remains to exceed customer expectations every step of the way.