Without question, the South African Gold Krugerrand is the most widely known gold coin in the world. The first bullion coin introduced for private investment, the Gold Krugerrand arrived from the South African Mint in 1967. For more than a decade, the Krugerrand was the only gold coin available to private buyers and has survived a Western economic boycott and the end of apartheid to remain a worldwide symbol of South African gold. The Gold Krugerrand features the following designs:
While gold rounds may closely resemble coins, they have no currency value. On the other hand, they are generally priced closer to the spot price than an actual coin in the same size. A gold round comes in sizes that range from 0.05 troy ounces to 1 troy ounce. In most instances, no additional metals are added to rounds. Often, these rounds are not as collectible as actual gold coins.
This is why some investors like to buy gold in a more indirect fashion, via mining stocks. The prices of mining stocks tend to follow the prices of the commodities on which they focus, so there's a logic to this approach. However, because miners are running businesses that can expand over time, investors can benefit from increasing gold production. This can provide upside that owning gold coins never will.
When you pair assets that move differently from each other, you create a more diversified portfolio. This is why mixing bonds with stocks is the foundation of so many portfolios. Bonds have a negative correlation with stocks, meaning they tend to go up when stocks are going down, and vice versa. Here's the interesting thing: Gold's correlation with bonds over the past decade or so is roughly 0.25, still very low. So gold doesn't track along with stocks, and it doesn't track along with bonds, either. Adding a small amount of gold to a stock and bond portfolio -- probably no more than 10% -- can help increase diversification and the ultimate safety of the entire portfolio.
The United States Mint, like other world mints, does not sell its bullion coins directly to the public. Instead, we distribute our coins through a network of official distributors called “authorized purchasers” who, in turn, create a two-way market buying and selling to precious metals wholesalers, private investors, and local bullion coin dealers.