How Do I Tell If a Coin is Gold?

Written by michael black
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How Do I Tell If a Coin is Gold?
It is important for any coin collector to know how to identify a gold coin. (gold coin image by Sid Viswakumar from Fotolia.com)

When buying a supposed gold coin (or examining one already in your possession), it is important to know if the coin is actually made of gold. Gold is an extremely valuable metal, and it is not uncommon--especially when buying coins over the Internet--for coins to be mislabelled as gold. In order to both understand the value of your coins as well as stay away from scams, it is important to know how to identify a gold coin.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Learn as much as you can about the specific coin type. Often, if you know what kind of coin you are looking at, you can find out the composition of the coin by looking in a coin price guide.

  2. 2

    Examine the colour of the coin. If you cannot identify the coin by type, colour is often a good way to tell if a coin may be gold. The colour of gold coins range from gold to a brownish-bronze. However, colour is in no way a definite indicator of a coin being gold.

  3. 3

    Look for any markings that tell the content of the coin. On some coins (mostly newer gold coins), the gold percentage is written on the coin itself.

  4. 4

    Talk to a dealer. If you have still not determined whether the coin is gold or not, you should talk to an experienced dealer about the coin. While they may not always know exactly what type of coin you have, they are experts in the world of coins and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Tips and warnings

  • Some coins have a guarantee of authenticity. If this is issued from a reliable source (government mints, numismatic association, etc.) it is all you need to prove the gold content of your coin.
  • When buying gold coins, always buy from a reputable dealer. GoldPrice.org suggests that you always buy from a dealer with a return policy.
  • Be extremely careful when buying gold coins over the Internet. Government sites are great sources to buy gold coins from, but beyond them, be sure to research any website you intend to buy gold coins from.

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