How Much Is A U.S. Gold Coin Worth? See How Gold Coins Value Today


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Gold…

…it led thousands to San Francisco late in the 1840s

…it’s what the fabled Rumpelstiltskin made from straw

…and it’s the metal that has been the material obsession of many for years.

 

Gold coins were once the standard of commerce for many nations — including the United States.

Today, gold remains one of the most popular bullion (precious metal in bulk form) investments.

 

Facts About U.S. Gold Coins

The United States has been striking gold coins since 1795, and struck its last gold coin intended for circulation in 1933.

After a hiatus of many years, the United States began striking gold coins again in the 1980s, when the U.S. Mint started striking commemorative coins.  It was also during this time that the U.S. Mint first offered official “bullion” coins, minted in highly pure, exactly measured increments of gold (also silver and, more recently, platinum).

Many gold coins minted in the U.S during the second half of the 19th century and into the first decades of the 20th century have values which have long fluctuated with the prevailing gold prices.

  • The best time to buy a gold coin is usually when gold prices are lower.
  • The best time to sell is when gold coin are higher.
  • The value of your gold coins will be largely dependent upon the current price of gold.

Must read: Should You Buy Gold Coins? 3 Reasons To Buy + 3 Reasons To Wait

 

How Much Are Gold Coins Worth?

While bullion price adjustments may be highly important to understanding roughly how much your gold coin is worth and knowing what to expect to pay if you want to buy a gold coin, it is also fundamental to know that many gold coins have prices and values which do not depend at all on bullion prices.

Certain gold coins are rare and have values that remain high and certainly tend even to increase because they are of numismatic value. (That is, they have great importance to collectors not simply because of the gold content, but because of their relative scarcity as well.)

All of the U.S. gold coins minted from the 1790s right into the 1820s and 1830s are generally worth multiples more than bullion value, and many of the $3 gold coins and all $4 gold coins (or “Stellas“) are worth far more than bullion value.

The 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle (a gold coin with a face value of $20) is worth well into the thousands, and a 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin sold at auction for over 7 million dollars in 2002. By the way, the “Saint-Gaudens” term for the coin is actually a reference to its renowned designer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Because the gold market is highly volatile (gold prices change by every day, often by several dollars per ounce), it is important that you look to a current coin pricing guide or a website such as the PCGS coin price guide for more information about the value of any gold coins you own, or the price you may need to pay when buying a gold coin.

A great website to check out for current gold bullion prices is The Bullion Desk.

Remember, gold bullion prices prices quoted here are simply for the value of the metal in the gold coins, per ounce. Most gold coins contain less than an ounce of gold — yet, most gold coins carry a significant premium in value over their bullion price because of collector interest or scarcity. Several gold coins are worth many times more than the bullion price, simply because of how rare the coin is.

A great book to check out if you are interested in U.S. gold coins is Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins (1795-1933, Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and Pattern Issues) by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, and offered by Whitman Publications.

8 thoughts on “How Much Is A U.S. Gold Coin Worth? See How Gold Coins Value Today”

  1. Hi, Ashley —

    Thank you so much for those kind words — hope you find all of the information you need here! As for your dad’s coin, is it the one pictured? It looks like its either a private merchant token but would need to please see the other side of the coin to do a better job at identifying it. What I can say is that it’s not an official U.S. Mint coin as they made none like this one, but there are many private tokens from this era that look similar and some are worth hundreds of dollars. It might need to be authenticated to be sure it’s the real McCoy.

    I look forward to hearing from you again and seeing any other photos of this coin or other coins you may want to know more about.

    Best wishes,
    Josh

    Reply
    • Hello, Ashley —

      Thank you for submitting a photo of both sides of the coin. This was very helpful!

      So, this coin, as was speculated in our first set of correspondence, is actually a token. The question is whether or not it’s made from a gold-tilt base metal or actual gold (probably a lower-grade gold). To determine that the coin would have to be authenticated by a third-party coin grading company.

      But before spending the $30 or so doing that, based on the research I’ve done on your piece this morning, it appears this is most likely a gold-plated brass souvenir token from the 1970s that was sold by California jewelers and other gift/novelty merchants. Did your dad by chance ever visit California? Maybe he found it one day and, because it’s such a unique-looking, unusual piece he kept it with him. I would’ve probably done the same thing!

      The best way to get an approximate value on a piece like this, since it’s not listed in coin value guides, is to get a feel for its pricing based on eBay transactions. Similar pieces are trading for between $3 and $10, some a little higher and lower.

      Here, by the way, is where I found more information about your dad’s token:

      https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/2349/Fantasy-and-Souvenir-California-Fractional-Gold/
      https://coinsite.com/fractional-gold-coins-or-just-tokens/
      https://coinquest.com/cgi-bin/cq/coins?main_coin=17612

      I hope this information is helpful!

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
  2. You’re very welcome, Ashley! I have a few coins like that from my late mom and grandfather — coins that may not be worth much monetarily but are worth the world to me in every other sense. I totally understand.

    I’ll be glad to help if you have other coins you wish to find out more about. Here’s a link that may help you in the case of finding values for most U.S. coins: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/us-coins/

    Best wishes,
    Josh

    Reply

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