May 16, 2009 – Canadian Maple Leaf Coins

May 16, 2009 – With American Coins experiencing a shortage at the United States Mint, due to unprecedented demand of course, a number of investors are actually turning to Canadian Maple Leaf coins and Krugerrands to top off their investments.

True, these gold coins don’t really have the same sort of iconic, archetypal appeal to Americans looking to purchase gold coins as the Saint Gaudens coins like the Lady Liberty, but they are a solid choice for coin investing, nonetheless, following many of the same standards of purity, weight and content as the United States Mint gold coins.

To provide a basic introduction to the Canadian Maple Leaf coins, each type of coin has something of a theme to it. In 2007 they minted a two hundred dollar coin being a one troy ounce disc of .999999 pure gold with a leaf on one side and the Queen on the other. They also minted five “Million Dollar Coins” that year, weighing in at a hefty one hundred kilograms of .999999 pure gold. The next year they minted 1,700 more two hundred dollar pieces, being “special limited edition first strike” pieces.

Certain limited collector’s edition coins include the colored gold Canadian Maple Leaf in 1999 with the theme of “20th Anniversary of the GML”. They’ve also produced hologram coins in 1999 and 2001 with a ¼ ounce coin being sold at $195 Canadian and the others being sold at $1,995 Canadian.

Now to provide a crash course in Krugerrands, the official gold coin of South Africa…

The coin was first minted in 1967 and while it does have legal tender status in South Africa it is not meant to be used as currency of course. The coin was actually the first bullion coin that could be used as legal tender at the face value of its gold content. So while the American Eagles are not actually worth a scant twenty dollars, the denomination on the one troy ounce Krugerrand actually reads 1 oz. The various sizes available to gold investors are similar to the American investment coins; the one ounce coin, the half ounce coin, the quarter ounce and the tenth ounce.

The coin itself is adorned with an image of the face of Paul Kruger, facing to the left, on the obverse, and an image of an elk on the reverse.

It should be noted: If you invest in silver coins, avoid the silver Krugerrands. The real coins are made in gold only for a number of reasons (the official website of the South African Mint Company and the Rand Refinery both list these reasons if you’re curious, as there’s simply too much history to relate here), but the bottom line is that the silver coins are, according to the companies which produce the real coins; “Not official, have no legal tender value, are not produced or sanctioned by the South African Mint or Government, not Krugerrands, and not even coins.” Ouch. Of course many of the knockoffs are real silver, but don’t think you’re buying a real Krugerrand if you choose to buy through “Acme Kruggerands Ltd.”

If you prefer to simply wait for the US Mint to resume sales of your favorite American investment coin then by all means feel free, but understand that when it comes to coin investing you can purchase gold coins from anywhere in the world and, as long as you’re buying from legitimate vendors and the coin’s metal value is verified, then no matter where you buy gold coins, for investment purposes a Krugerrand is just as good as a Twenty Dollar Saint Gaudens.

Of course in the end it really is your choice. The most important thing to remember in coin investing is that you need to invest in what you’re comfortable with and that you should buy and sell at your own pace. Investing in precious coins is about peace of mind, and providing yourself with a solid foundation for your finances to ensure security in the event of unforeseen circumstance and to free yourself up to pursue other interests. So in short, if you don’t mind waiting for the US Mint to start selling Gold Eagles again, then just relax and wait. On the other hand, if you notice an upwards trend in gold and you want to capitalize on it before the peak hits, then go ahead and look into Canadian Maple Leafs and Krugerrands. Again, it’s your choice.

Linda Hess

May 16, 2009

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