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What are Gold Coins Made of?

What are gold coins made of?

For most people who are buying gold for the first time, gold coin investing is often an interesting first step into gold ownership. However, what are gold coins made of?

It might seem a reasonably straightforward answer, and indeed for many gold coins, the answer is simple enough. Gold coins are made of gold. However, beyond this, we need to look at the actual purity of the metal.

Gold is a relatively soft metal and can easily be scratched and lose precious micrograms of gold through wear and tear. Typically gold bullion is made of 24-carat gold, whilst coins are often made from 22ct gold. Some coins such as the modern Gold Britannia are made of 24ct.

What is a 22ct Gold Coin?

Carat is the term used to measure the purity of gold. The purity of the gold is rated on a scale with 24ct at the top representing pure gold. Anything that is rated below 24 carats has a lower purity and the more impurities are found the lower the number goes.

24-carat gold contains only minute traces of other metals and is at least 99.95 percent pure. Gold is quite a soft metal, and high purity gold is less dense. It is quite pliable and is not really suited for jewellery but it can be useful in medical or electronic circuit use.

Because coins have the potential to be used as a means of exchange, it makes sense to make these coins a little bit harder to ensure that they can withstand the movements between users and in transactions.

22ct gold coins are only 91.67 percent pure gold. The other 8.33 percent comprises metals like silver, copper, zinc, nickel and other alloys. It is this addition of metals that make the texture of the gold harder thereby making the coins more durable.

Why do you bite a gold coin?

Whilst we are answering questions about gold, one trope that you may have seen in movies and TV series is biting a gold coin. Why would you do this? The answer is quite simple. Gold is harder than some basic materials such as lead. A coin that was lead or copper and merely plated with gold would be softer.

Gold is also an incredibly good heatsink. Real gold does not heat up quickly, so by putting it in the mouth, the very temperature sensitive lips and tongue could easily detect the variance in temperature.

For many people, gold coin investing is a good first step and can see good returns on the gold itself as well as offering a fascinating view of a trading world that is quickly fading from view in today’s commercial world.