Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion, and are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be cast into ingots, or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money. While obsolete gold coins are primarily collected for their numismatic value, gold bullion coins today derive their value from the metal (gold) content — and as such are viewed by some investors as a “hedge” against inflation or a store of value. Many nations mint bullion coins. Investment coins are generally coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousands and is or has been a legal tender in its country of origin. Although nominally issued as legal tender, these coins’ face value as currency is far below that of their value as bullion.
The European Commission publishes annually a list of gold coins which must be treated as investment gold coins in all EU Member States. The list has legal force and supplements the law. In the United Kingdom, HM Revenue and Customs have added an additional list of gold coins alongside the European Commission list. These are gold coins that HM Revenue & Customs recognize as falling within the exemption for investment gold coins. This second list does not have legal force.
South Africa introduced the Krugerrand in 1967 to cater to this market; this was the reason for its convenient and memorable gold content — exactly one troy ounce. It was the first modern, low-premium (i.e. priced only slightly above the bullion value of the gold) gold bullion coin. Bullion coins are also produced in fractions of an ounce – typically half ounce, quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce. Bullion coins sometimes carry a face value as legal tender, The face value is minted on the coin, and it is done so in order to bestow legal tender status on a coin, which generally makes it easier to import or export across national borders, as well as subject to laws against counterfeiting. However, their real value is measured as dictated by their troy weight, the current market price of the precious metal contained, and the prevailing premium that market wishes to pay for those particular bullion coins. The face value is always significantly less than the bullion value of the coin. Legal tender bullion coins are a separate entity to bullion gold. One enjoys legal tender status, the latter is merely a raw commodity. Gold has an international currency code of XAU under ISO 4217. ISO 4217 includes codes not only for currencies, but also for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and platinum; by definition expressed per one troy ounce, as compared to “1 USD”) and certain other entities used in international finance, e.g. special drawing rights.
Gold bullion coins usually come in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 and 1/20 oz. sizes. Most countries have one design that remains constant each year; others (such as the Chinese Panda coins) have variations each year, and in most cases each coin is dated. A 1/10 oz bullion coin is about the same size as a U.S. dime. A 1 oz. gold bullion coin is about the size of a U.S. half dollar.
The largest legal tender gold coin ever produced was unveiled in 2012 by the Perth Mint in Western Australia. Known as the “1 Tonne Gold Kangaroo Coin” and with a face value of one million dollars, it contains one metric tonne of 9999 pure gold, and is approximately 80cm in diameter by 12cm thick.
Article Source: en.wikipedia.org