Information about all type of gold coins. We buy and sell
Gold, Gold Coins. US Rare Coin Investments is one of the largest
gold coin dealers in the United States specializing in Gold
The story of American gold coins begins
with gold itself. Gold was one of the first elements discovered
by Man, thanks to its distinctive, yellow color and metallic
luster. Gold is a relatively inert metal, meaning that natural
deposits enjoy a high level of purity. Gold is most commonly
found mixed with quartz as veins and crystals, although other
forms are known. Erosion of the earth creates what are known
as placer deposits, where gold is exposed and concentrated
in the form or dust, flakes, and nuggets. Placer deposits
usually occur along the bed of a river, where the bright,
yellow glint of gold caught the eye of early man.
Man soon discovered the interesting and useful
qualities of gold. Pure gold is soft, malleable (easily hammered
into any shape), and ductile (easily pulled into wires or
hammered thin). Pure gold does not rust or tarnish, thus it
retains its natural beauty, luster, and color throughout the
ages. And, gold is rare, making it perfect as a store of value
and a medium of exchange. Gold is used as money, in jewelry,
as an electrical conductor, as a coating, and in innumerable
other ways and fashions.
The value of gold derives from its desirability,
its utility, and the amount of effort required in obtaining
and processing the natural ore. Although more and more gold
is being mined every day, demand for the metal has kept pace.
As of this writing, uncertainty about the U.S. dollar and
the American economy has driven the price of gold to highs
not seen since the early 1980s.
However, it is important to understand that
the volatility of the price of gold is not due to the supply
but to the strength or weakness of the currency to which it
is tied. The real purchasing power of gold coins has
remained virtually identical throughout history (to illustrate,
one can guesstimate that an ounce of gold purchased the same
number of loaves of bread a thousand years ago as it does
today). The same cannot be said of paper money, because paper
money has no intrinsic value and can be reproduced with ease.
Because pure gold is so soft, it is impractical
for use as everyday money. Thus, certain other metals are
alloyed with it to give it strength. The earliest American
gold coins contained 91.6% gold and a mixture of copper
and silver to make up the balance. If the silver content exceeded
that of copper, the coin took on a greenish hue. If the copper
content exceeded that of silver, the coin took on a more yellow
appearance and, over time, would take on a reddish hue because
of the oxidation of the copper. In 1834, the content of all
American gold coins was changed to 90% gold, with copper
and silver making up the additional 10%.
Gold has served as money or established
in the monetary value of currencies longer than any other
material. The use of gold coins was widespread in Europe
by the fourth century B.C.
The earliest coins circulated in the United States were foreign
coins, mostly silver and gold, brought from Europe. The Coinage
Act in 1792 established an independent monetary system with
the dollar as the basic United States monetary unit containing
24-3/4 grains of fine gold, based on the world price of $19.39
a troy ounce (480 grains). Congress changed the gold specification
in 1834 and again in 1837, when it set the dollar price of
gold at $20.67 an ounce.
In 1934, U.S. Citizens were prohibited from
holding monetary gold in the United States; this was extended
in 1961 to gold held abroad as well. The dollar price was
ste at $35 per ounce in 1934. Use of gold in international
trade was further restricted as the price rose. The government
revalued it at $38 per ounce in 1972, then $42.22 in 1973.
It has fluctuated widely over the past few years. All restrictions
on holding gold were removed on December 31, 1974.