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Buying Fractional Gold Coins

Since the days when pirates were roaming the seas, gold coins have been used as a means of preserving wealth and paying for goods. Nowadays, gold coins are as popular as ever and are being produced with increasing frequency with each passing year. Though the undeniably most popular type of gold coin is the 1 ounce variety, there are so many other types out there on the market today. Fractional gold coins are a category that most often falls below the 1 ounce weight. This means that you will be dealing with coins that weigh half an ounce, a quarter of an ounce, tenth of an ounce and just about any other weight that the producers can emit.

For newer investors/collectors especially, fractional gold coins are great because they allow you to get your hands on the gold you desire without having to break the bank. As is the case with gold coins weighing 1 ounce, the value and price of fractional gold coins is determined by a few factors including the number of coins produced, the demand for the coin and obviously the spot price of the metal that the coin is made from. This means that while some of these coins can act as great additions to a preexisting collection, other gold coins may be the perfect vehicle by which you can invest in the golden metal. Below, we will discuss and elaborate upon some of the most popular fractional gold coins on the market today.


Fractional American Gold Eagles

With regard to gold coins from the United States, few are more popular or well-known than the Gold American Eagle. This coin is so sought after not only because of its breathtaking imagery, but also because ownership of this coin is like owning a piece of American history. Available in quite a few different sizes, the Gold Eagle is one of the most versatile gold coin series on the market today.

Gold Purity: .9167 (22 karat)
Mint: US Mint
Weights: 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz
Lowest Price Found at JM Bullion: $46.77 per coin over spot

Design and Pricing

The design of the Gold Eagle is what sets it apart from most other gold coins on the market today. The detail of the coin’s imagery is second to none and really embodies everything that is the American Spirit. While one side of the coin depicts the image of Walking Liberty, the other side features the beautiful nature scene of two nesting American Bald Eagles.

To be fair, the American Gold Eagle tends to be a pricy gold coin and rightfully so. This is so because it carries a price that is often higher than comparable gold coins despite the American Eagle having a purity (91.67% pure gold) that is lower than many competitor coins. It is worth mentioning that even though the coins are 22k (or 91.67%) gold their weight is calculated based on the pure gold content. For example a 1 oz gold eagle will actually weigh approximately 1.091 troy ounces (the 91.67% gold purity x 1.091 troy ounce weight = 31.1 grams or 1 full troy ounce of pure gold content)

Fractional Canadian Gold Maple Leafs

The Royal Canadian Mint is the producer of Canada’s coinage as well as the coinage of many other countries around the world. Perhaps the most popular product made by the RCM each year is the Canadian Gold Maple leaf series of coins. This coin series has an insanely simplistic design, but is sought after by investors of all types from all over the world due to the coin’s high purity and large annual mintages.

Gold Purity: .9999
Mint: RCM
Weights: 1/20th oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz
Lowest Price Found at JM Bullion: $42.46 per coin over spot

Design and Pricing

The design of the Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, though simple, is actually quite attractive. The coin’s main image is that of a solitary maple leaf that is so ornately detailed and textured to the point where the leaf’s individual veins can be identified and discerned. The coin’s reverse, like most every Canadian coin, depicts Queen Elizabeth II. Also present on the coin is a tiny maple leaf security feature used to confirm the coin’s authenticity (for coins minted during 2014 and all years after).

With regard to pricing, the Canadian Maple Leaf (regardless of size) can be purchased for prices just barely over spot value. In fact, you can often find Maple Leafs for great prices due to the fact that the RCM produces so many of the coins each and every year.

Fractional Chinese Gold Pandas


Chinese gold pandas have been produced for well over 30 years now and are just as popular as they were when they were first introduced. Especially popular with collectors due to its changing design, the Gold Panda Coin Series is one of the most unique on the market today. Though it is definitely a great collector’s piece, the coin’s high purity makes it just as sought after as an investment vehicle.

Gold Purity: .999
Mint: Chinese Mint
Weights: 1/20th oz, 1/10th oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz
Lowest Price Found at JM Bullion: ~$50.95 per coin over spot

Design and Pricing

The design of the Chinese Gold Panda is what really sets it apart from other gold coins. Since its inception in the late 1980s, the Gold Panda has featured varied depictions of pandas. Each year, the design of the coin changes and a panda or group of pandas is depicted in a different setting. The changing design makes it an especially popular coin for collectors. Because this is a coin that is just as popular with collectors as it is with investors, its premiums tend to be a bit higher than similar gold coins that are geared more towards investors alone.

Still, the exact price you pay for a Gold Panda will depend more on the dealer whom you are purchasing from than anything else. They are also packaged with greater attention to detail. Whereas many other coins are packaged in tubes, the panda coin is sealed inside of a coin capsule, meaning they can be kept in pristine condition for longer in most cases and will grade higher.

Australian Lunar Series Fractional Gold Coins

The Perth Mint of Australia is regarded by many as being the best mint in the world. Constantly coming up with new coin ideas and design ideas, Perth’s products are sought after by more and more collectors and investors each and every year. Their Lunar Series, which is meant to celebrate the Chinese Lunar Calendar, is perhaps their most popular offering to date. With designs that change with every new release, the Lunar Series is among the most unique sets of gold coins on the market today.

Gold Purity: .9999
Mint: Perth Mint
Weights: 1/20th oz, 1/10th oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz
Lowest Price Found at JM Bullion: ~$45.28 per coin over spot

Design and Pricing

Because the animal that is depicted on Perth’s Lunar Series of gold coins changes with each year, these coins have anything but a constant design. Like it does with the Gold Panda coin series from China, the fact that the design of Perth Lunar Series coins changes from year to year is especially attractive to collectors. With that said, however, the .9999 purity boasted by every coin in this series makes them equally as attractive to investors as well.

Surprisingly, however, Perth’s Lunar Series of gold coins is not as pricy as you might expect. Though the exact pricing is always dependent upon the dealer from which you purchase, more often than not, Lunar Series gold coins fall right in the middle of the price spectrum.

General Fractional Gold Coin Information

Before buying gold coins, it is important that you first ensure that you are equipped enough to make a knowledgeable purchase decision. By taking note of the next few points, you will be able to make the most informed decision regarding your fractional gold coin purchase.

One of the biggest things to know is that just because one gold coin is produced in fractional sizes does not mean that they all are. In fact, many of the gold coins circulated today are only produced in one size (and that size is most often 1 oz). If you cannot quickly and easily locate a fractionally-sized gold coin, it is likely that it does not exist.

Another important piece of information regarding fractional gold coins is to always do your research with regard to the premium you are being charged. With coins that weigh only 1/20th or 1/10th of an ounce, the premiums charged are often extremely high. In some cases, the premium on a smaller coin is so much that it would be more logical to simply purchase a larger version, or a different coin altogether.

In essence, you should always be doing comparative shopping and compare the prices of a single coin from different dealers. By doing this you will ensure that you are acquiring a giving coin at the best possible price.

Fractional Gold Coin Prices and Selection

Like has been stated already, the price you pay for a specific coin is almost entirely dependent on the dealer from which you are buying. Because dealers of precious metals are not created equally, you will find that the price given to you by one dealer often differs drastically from the price given to you by another dealer.

Also affecting the price of a given coin is the demand and quantity available. Obviously, if only a limited number of a highly demanded coin is minted, the price you are going to be forced to pay will be higher than it would be for a similar coin whose annual mintages are more plentiful.

With that said, however, there are plenty of fractional gold coins available for purchase from a large number of dealers. In some cases, it is easier to find a fractionally-weighted gold coin than it is to find the solid 1 oz, 2 oz or 5 oz variety of that same coin.

Fractional Gold Coin Packaging

Like most other things, the way in which a fractional gold coin is packaged depends almost entirely upon the dealer whom you are buying from as well as the mint who produces the coin. Because these coins are small and can be damaged easily, most every reputable dealer takes all the necessary steps to ensure that the coin(s) will not be damaged during the shipping process. Whether your coin is wrapped in bubble wrap, placed into a heavy plastic bag, or both will depend on the dealer you are purchasing from, but most often, dealers do everything they can to preserve the quality of the coin you are buying.

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