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Gold coins have been around for centuries and have been used as a store of value, a currency, and a symbol of wealth.
While there are countless gold coins available today, some have gained popularity for their beauty, rarity, and historical significance.
In this article, we'll take a look at all the necessary attributes that a coin should have to be among the most coveted ones among collectors and investors alike. We will also list the top 15 most popular gold coins in the world.
What Makes a Gold Coin Popular?
Several factors can make gold coins famous among collectors and gold investors. Here are some of the most important:
- Rarity: The rarity of a coin can make it highly sought after by collectors and investors. The fewer coins that were minted or the fewer that exist today, the more valuable and famous the coin could become.
- Historical significance: Coins that played a significant role in history or were issued during a critical period can become famous. For example, coins from ancient civilizations like Rome or Greece are highly valued due to their historical significance.
- Condition: The condition of a gold coin can also affect its fame. Coins that are well-preserved and in excellent condition are often highly prized by collectors.
- Design: A coin's design can also make it famous. Coins with intricate or unique designs can capture the attention of collectors and investors alike.
- Publicity: Coins that receive significant publicity through media coverage or being part of a notable collection can also become famous. For example, coins that are auctioned for record-breaking prices or have been owned by famous people can become highly sought after.
There are many popular gold coins on the market nowadays. However, a coin's fame is often determined by a combination of rarity, historical significance, condition, design, and publicity.
Popular Gold Bullions Coins
Below you will find a list of the most popular gold bullion coins nowadays.
15. Indian Head Eagle
The United States Indian Head Eagle is a gold coin that was first minted in 1907. Designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the coin features a bold and intricate image of Lady Liberty on the obverse side, wearing a headdress adorned with feathers. The reverse depicts a majestic bald eagle resting on a branch next to the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM".
The coins are composed of 90% gold and 10% copper.
The Indian Head Eagle is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful and iconic American coins ever produced, with its intricate and detailed design capturing the spirit of American freedom and ingenuity.
The coin's high gold content and historical significance have also made it a popular choice among collectors and investors alike. Today, the Indian Head Eagle remains a beloved symbol of American history and coinage and continues to be highly sought after by numismatists and coin enthusiasts worldwide.
14. British Sovereign Coins
The British Sovereign is a gold coin that has been minted since 1817. The coin features a portrait of the reigning monarch on the obverse and the image of St. George slaying the dragon on the reverse. The reverse was designed by the famed engraver Benedetto Pistrucci.
The Sovereign is composed of 22-karat gold, weighing 7.9881 grams and with a diameter of 22.05mm. The coin is legal tender in the United Kingdom, with a face value of £1.
Throughout its history, the Sovereign has been a symbol of British prestige and power and has been used as a currency by different countries around the world. The coin has undergone several design changes over the years, with various monarchs and historical events being featured on its obverse side.
Today, the British Sovereign remains a highly-prized and sought-after coin by collectors and investors alike. Its iconic design, high gold content, and historical significance make it a popular choice for those looking to add rare and valuable coins to their collection.
13. $3 Indian Princess
The US $3 Indian Princess coin is a unique gold coin that was minted from 1854 to 1889. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin features a depiction of Lady Liberty as an Indian Princess on the obverse side, with a feather headdress and the date of issuance. The reverse displays a wreath encircling the coin's denomination of $3.
The Indian Princess coin is composed of 90% gold and 10% copper, with a weight of 5.02 grams and a diameter of 20.5mm.
Despite being relatively short-lived, the Indian Princess coin has become highly coveted by collectors due to its unique design, rarity, and historical significance. The coin's high gold content and small size have also contributed to its value, with well-preserved examples fetching high prices at auction.
12. France Marianne Rooster
The 20 Francs Marianne Rooster gold coin is a popular French coin that was first minted in 1899. The coin features a depiction of Marianne, the allegorical symbol of the French Republic, on the obverse wearing a Phrygian cap and surrounded by the word "REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE".
The reverse depicts a rooster, the national symbol of France, standing atop a bundle of wheat with the coin's denomination of "20" inscribed next to it and the mint year below. Around the rooster is the French national motto, "LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ" (liberty, equality, fraternity).
The Marianne Rooster coin is composed of 90% gold and 10% copper, with a total weight of 6.45 grams and a diameter of 21mm. The coin was minted until 1914, and then again in 1921 and 1922. The coin's design changed slightly over the years, with some issues featuring different versions of Marianne and the rooster.
The Marianne Rooster coin is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and iconic French coins ever produced. With its intricate design and patriotic symbolism, it remains one of the most beloved symbols of French culture and history.
The coin's high gold content and historical significance have also made it a popular choice among collectors and investors alike.
11. Australian Lunar Gold Coins
The Australian Lunar Gold coins are a series of gold bullion coins minted by the Perth Mint in Australia since 1996. The coins are part of a larger Lunar Series that celebrates the Chinese zodiac calendar, each year corresponding to a different animal. The series is so popular that it is now in its third edition.
The obverse of the coin features an image of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse side showcases the animal corresponding to the current year in the Chinese zodiac calendar. The design of the coin changes each year to feature a different animal, with intricate and detailed artwork that captures the unique characteristics of each animal.
With the Queen's passing in 2022, the obverse will start featuring King Charles III.
Australian Lunar coins contain 99.99% pure gold, featuring among the purest gold coins in the market.
10. Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
The $20 Saint Gaudens' Double Eagle is a Pre-1933 gold coin produced by the United States Mint from 1907 to 1933.
It features an image of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a flying eagle on the reverse. The design was created by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful designs in the history of American coinage.
The $20 Saint Gaudens' Gold Eagle is highly valued by collectors and investors alike.
The 1933 Double Eagle was sold at an auction in June of 2021 to an anonymous buyer for a record breaking US$18.8 million.
Check out our list of the world's most valuable coins.
9. American Gold Buffalo
The American Gold Buffalo coin was the first 24-karat gold bullion coin the United States Mint produced. It was first released in 2006.
The coin was designed by James Earle Fraser. On the obverse side, Fraser combined the features of the Native American Chiefs from three of the most relevant tribes: the Iron Tail (Lakota), the Two Moons (Cheyenne) and John Big Tree (Seneca).
The reverse depicts an American Bison, hence the moniker of the coin. The design is based on the iconic Buffalo Nickel, which was produced from 1913 to 1938.
The American Gold Buffalo is highly sought after by collectors and investors for its high purity and beautiful design, reminiscent of the classic American West, with the Native American chief and the American bison representing two iconic symbols of American history and culture.
8. Mexican Gold Libertad
The Mexican Gold Libertad is a 24-karat gold coin produced by the Mexican Mint since 1981.
It features an image of Winged Victory on the obverse and the Mexican coat of arms on the reverse.
The design of the Mexican Gold Libertad is based on the iconic Mexican Independence Victory Column in Mexico City.
The Mexican Gold Libertad is one of the most popular coins in Latin America and is highly prized for its beauty and unique design.
7. Austrian Gold Philharmonic
The Austrian Gold Philharmonic is a 24-karat gold coin produced by the Austrian Mint since 1989.
It features an image of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on the obverse and a collection of musical instruments on the reverse.
The coin is one of the most beautifully designed gold coins in the world, and it is highly sought after by collectors.
6. Gold Britannia
The Royal Mint is one of the oldest mints in the world. They produce many collections of gold bullion coins, including the Tudor Beasts Gold Coins and the Queen's Beasts Gold Coins. They are also one of the few government-owned national mints to produce gold bars. However, arguably their most popular series is the Gold Britannia.
The British Gold Britannia is a 22-karat gold coin produced by the Royal Mint since 1817.
It features an image of King George III on the obverse. King George's effigy made its debut in January of 2023 after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She was the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom and featured in many coins of the British Commonwealth.
The reverse features Britannia, the female personification of Great Britain. She holds a trident as she stares into the Atlantic ocean, with the Union Jack shield and an olive branch on her left hand.
The Britannia coins contain 99.99% pure gold, being one of the purest official bullion coins in the gold coin market. They are highly coveted by collectors and precious metals investors alike.
5. Chinese Gold Panda
The Chinese Gold Panda is a 24-karat gold coin produced by the People's Bank of China since 1982.
The Chinese Mint began producing Gold Pandas in gram denominations in 2016. Prior to that, the coins were minted in troy ounce sizes. This change was made in response to the global trend towards metric measurements and to align with the international standard for measuring precious metals.
It features an image of a panda on the obverse, which changes annually.
The design of the Chinese Gold Panda is one of the most unique among gold coins, with different images of pandas featured each year.
The coin has been a favorite of collectors and investors alike, and it is highly valued for its intricate design.
4. Australian Gold Kangaroo
The Australian Gold Kangaroo is a 24-karat gold coin produced by the Perth Mint since 1986.
Originally, the coin was known as the Australian Gold Nugget, and it featured images of various Australian gold nuggets.
In 1989, the design was changed to feature the iconic kangaroo, and it has remained one of the most popular gold coins in the world ever since.
The obverse design of the Gold Australian Kangaroo changes every year, making the Kangaroo gold coin a highly praised option among collectors.
In 2011, the Perth Mint produced a one-ton gold coin version of the Australian Kangaroo. This coin holds the record for the largest in the world, with a colossal 80 centimeters of diameter and 12 centimeters thick.
3. South African Krugerrand
The South African Gold Krugerrand is a 22-karat gold coin produced by the South African Mint since 1967.
It was the first one troy ounce gold coin in the market.
It features an image of Paul Kruger on the obverse, one of South Africa's most prominent political figures who was president of the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) during the turn of the 19th century. The reverse displays a galloping springbok antelope, one of the country's national symbols.
The Gold Krugerrand was the world's first modern gold bullion coin, and it was created to promote private ownership of South African gold. It is unique because it does not carry a face value. The South African government guarantees its legal tender status based on the spot gold price.
Though this coin's popularity decreased substantially during the apartheid period, ever since the end of the regime, it started to conquer back its space in any respectable coin collection.
Check out our complete Gold Krugerrand Price Chart.
2. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is arguably one of the most famous gold coins. It contains 1 troy ounce of 99.99% pure gold and has been produced by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1979, being one of the first modern gold bullion coins in the market.
Next to the US Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint is one of the most respected government-owned mints in the world.
The Canadian Gold Maple Leafs feature an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. Her name, mint year, and face value appear around the edge. The 2023 issue is especially interesting because next to her late Majesty's effigy, it is inscribed the period of her reign "1952 -2022".
The reverse side of the Gold Maple Leaf coin features a beautiful depiction of the Canadian maple leaf, which is the national symbol of Canada. The design is highly detailed and showcases the intricate veins of the maple leaf, giving the coin a distinctive and elegant look. The words "Canada" and the gold weight and purity are inscribed around the edge of the coin.
The Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins were one of the first gold coins in the market and the first 24-karat gold coin ever produced. They are known for their high purity, beautiful design, and anti-counterfeiting security features.
1. American Gold Eagle
The American Gold Eagle is a 22-karat gold coin (or .9167 fine gold) produced by the United States Mint since 1986. It was the first gold bullion coin the US Mint produced focused entirely on gold investing in the fiat currency era.
Gold Eagles feature an image of Lady Liberty on the obverse, striding forward while holding a lit torch, as a symbol of freedom and enlightenment. We can see the sun rising and the Capitol Building in the background. She also holds an olive branch, indicating the country's desire for peace. The design was inspired by the iconic Saint-Gaudens' Double Eagle $20 coin, which was produced from 1907 to 1933.
The reverse of this popular bullion coin originally portrayed a family of bald eagles. However, the design changed in 2021 to feature Jennie Norris's depiction of a single bald eagle's head earnestly staring ahead. Some other notable elements on this side include the name of the country and both mottos above the eagle's head, "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "IN GOD WE TRUST." Surrounding the image is the face value of $50 and the fine gold content.
The US Mint also produces Gold Eagle proof coins and a burnished/uncirculated version for coin collectors. The program also offers platinum, palladium, and silver coins as well.
The American Eagle Gold Coin, is one of the most popular gold bullion coins in the world and is highly sought after by coin collectors and precious metals investors alike.
As gold prices tend to perform well during times of economic downturn, the search for these popular bullion coins increases, making them an exceptionally liquid option.
Here at SD Bullion, you will find many of the gold coins listed above, along with other bullion coins and gold bars to help you expand your precious metals collection.
What is the most famous gold coin?
The most famous gold coin in the world is the American Gold Eagle from the US Mint. The South African Krugerrand, being the first-ever modern bullion coin in the market, enjoyed the status of the most famous coin for decades, but recently the Gold Eagle has taken the number one position, enjoying the fame and prestige of the United States Mint.
What is the most traded gold coin?
The most traded gold coin in the world is the American Gold Eagle, which is produced by the United States Mint. The American Gold Eagle was first introduced in 1986 and has since become one of the most popular and widely recognized gold coins in the world. The coin is made from 22-karat gold and features the image of Lady Liberty on the obverse, while the reverse depicts a family of eagles. The American Gold Eagle is available in four different sizes, ranging from 1/10 ounce to 1 ounce, and is legal tender in the United States with a face value ranging from $5 to $50.
What is the most common US gold coin?
The most common American gold coin is the American Gold Eagle. As of 2023, the US Mint has produced over 47 million units of the bullion version, including the one-troy-ounce version and fractional sizes. Proof coins surpass the number of 5,5 million, and Burnished/Uncirculated mintage figures are close to 300,000.
What are the most beautiful gold coins ever?
Determining the most beautiful gold coins ever is subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences. However, the ones that numismatists, collectors, and investors tend to consider the most beautiful gold coin include the Saint Gaudens' Double Eagle, the Austrian Gold Philharmonic, the Chinese Gold Panda, and the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf.