Answer. We probably get that question more than any other -- pretty much on a daily basis. The answer, however, is not as straightforward as you might think. What you buy depends upon your goals. We usually answer the "What should I buy?" question with one of our own: "Why are you interested in buying gold?" If your goal is simply to hedge financial uncertainty and/or capitalize on price movement, then contemporary bullion coins will serve your purposes. Those concerned with the possibility of capital controls and a gold seizure, or call-in, often include historic pre-1933 gold coins in their planning. Both the contemporary bullion coins and historic gold coins carry modest premiums over their gold melt value, track the gold price, and enjoy strong liquidity internationally.
The weight and dimensions of a coin of .999 fineness such as the Maple Leaf cannot be replicated precisely by a gold plated tungsten core, since tungsten has only 99.74% of the specific gravity of gold. However, forgeries of alloyed gold coins (such as American gold eagle or Krugerrand made from a crown gold alloy with 22 karats = .917 fineness) may have correct the correct weight and dimensions because of the lesser density of the alloy. Such forgeries can be detected testing the acoustic, electric resistance or magnetic properties. The latter method uses the fact that gold is weakly diamagnetic and tungsten is weakly paramagnetic. The effect is weak so that testing requires strong neodymium magnets and sensitive conditions (e.g., a gold coin hanging from 2 m long pendulum or placed on styrofoam floating on water), such tests can be performed without special equipment. Forgeries using gold plated tungsten are also used in counterfeiting of gold bars.
In reality, you have borrowed money – as much as 80 percent of the purchase price of the metal – from a financial institution that claims it will hold the metal for you, and charge you monthly storage fees and interest charges. Rather than sending you a bill for those fees, the institution will reduce your equity in the investment. Once your equity falls below a certain level (for example, 15 percent of the purchase price), the financial institution will issue an "equity call," requiring you to pay additional money to bring your equity above the equity call level. If you can't pay or refuse to pay additional money, the lender will sell the metal to pay off your loan and send you a bill if the sale of the metal does not cover the amount you owe.
A bullion coin is an investment-grade coin that is valued by its weight and fineness of a specific precious metal. Unlike commemorative or numismatic coins valued by limited mintage, rarity, condition, and age, bullion coins are purchased by investors seeking a simple and tangible means to own and invest in the gold, silver, platinum, and palladium markets.