Thursday, July 31, 2008

Collecting Gold Coins - Part 1

The Visual Aspect Of Choosing Gold Coins
For many collectors, gold coins are the Holy Grail. The creativity, artistry and craftsmanship, plus the centuries-old allure of gold make numismatic gold coins important additions to any collection.

Fortunate is the collector who can afford to buy gold coins frequently, not having to worry too much about the cost. For most collectors, however, resources are limited and this makes the purchase of gold coins a carefully considered one.

Austria 2002 50€ Christian Orders Gold BU

Every collector will have his or her own criteria to go by and will weigh each factor differently. Whether you are a novice or an experienced collector we hope the following information will assist you in deciding which gold coins are right for you, whether for your own collection or as a special gift for someone else.

As a rule the first and most important consideration is the visual appeal of the coin. Perhaps its theme is one which connects with your life experience. Or maybe you find the execution of the coin's design to be exceptionally artistic. Or maybe you just think that the design of a given gold coin will simply look great in your collection. In the words of many a collector, the coin simply "speaks to you".

Ireland 2007 20€ Celtic Culture Gold Proof
If you buy a gold coin because you really like it, chances are you'll always like it, regardless of whether or not it goes up or down in value. This same advice holds true for any collectible. Buy it first and foremost because you like it. Then, if over time it goes up in value, that's a bonus.

The visual appeal of a gold coin has many factors attached to it. The first and most obvious is the design itself. Some collectors prefer simple designs in which the elements of the design are few and easy to see. Other collectors prefer just the opposite: the more elements and the finer the detail the more they like it.

Also affecting the visual impact of the coin is its physical size. Sometimes, choosing between two gold coins of equal price can come down to their diameter. The larger of the two might be chosen just because it has a larger surface area and thus the design might be easier to see or it might incorporate a larger number of fine details.

Appreciating a finely minted coin, however, is a three dimensional experience. We look at the diameter, thickness, weight and the relief of the design. Given that gold is a comparatively soft metal, a coin engraver can produce a coin with deep relief and this undoubtedly adds to the visual interest and appeal of a coin. The Austrian coin series, "2000 Years of Christianity" features 4 gold coins, each with tremendous relief. There is no doubt that the tremendous success of this series was in part due to the deep relief on these coins. Each was struck in "special uncirculated" finish which meant that a lot of detail was created within a relatively small area on the coin. Sometimes on such smaller pieces, a proof finish can obscure detail.

As a gold coin is visually examined, there is another major factor to be considered - whether the coin is proof or brilliant uncirculated. Some collectors will have a preference for one or the other but most collectors of modern issue gold coins have some of both in their collections.

The work of the coin designer, engraver and minter all come together after the coin has been struck and is ready to be packaged. Particularly when a coin is purchased to be used as a gift, the manner in which it is packaged is important. Fortunately, most modern gold coins come in attractive boxes and with certificates of authenticity.

In summary, make the visual appeal of a gold coin, including its theme, the first consideration in choosing gold coins for your collection. Take into consideration the beauty of the design, the size of the coin, its finish and packaging and any other factors which strike your eye personally and you will be well on your way to making wise collecting decisions.

UK 2008 "Last Of The Old" Gold Proof Set

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