Man inspecting his collection of certified gold and silver coins in slab cases

What’s the Difference Between Bullion Coins & Certified Coins?


Written by John Rothans

Jan 13, 2017

Setting financial goals is one thing. Charting a course for meeting these goals is something else entirely. In order to do so, you must educate yourself about how different assets move within the marketplace and stay on top of events that could cause movement within it. As a precious metals owner, understanding the difference between bullion coins and certified coins is essential to building a portfolio that can stand the test of time. The more you know, the more polished your portfolio can be. Follow along as we outline the many ways these two types of gold coins differ, including their appearance, performance, cost, and simple tips for how to buy.

Gold Bullion Coins

Gold bullion coins are a great start for novice gold buyers. They're easy to understand and easy to buy and sell. Bullion is most simply defined as “precious metals in bulk form” and gold bullion coins come in a variety of weights, from 1/10 oz. to 1 oz.


Bullion coins are “struck” only once, meaning that the coin's design is pressed into the front and back of the coin once, as opposed to multiple times. These coins are generally produced with a standard matte finish and are not sealed in plastic slab cases.

Performance & Cost

Whether in the form of a bar or a coin, bullion typically follows the spot price of gold and reacts quickly to changes in the economic climate, on both a domestic and international level. (Remember that the spot price is the current market price at which gold is bought or sold for immediate delivery. It’s the price at which you could buy gold right now, essentially “on-the-spot.”)

The spot price refers to the price of one ounce of gold and does not take into account other costs that may be associated with the purchase of a coin, like the cost of manufacturing, shipping, handling, and insurance.

When evaluating the price of a gold bullion coin, there are a variety of factors that will influence the final cost, including:

  • the coin's weight
  • the mintage, product type, and scarcity of the coin
  • the current supply and demand for gold
  • national and global economic conditions

Because a bullion coin's market value is tied so closely to its weight in gold and the current market price, gold bullion coins are an ideal choice for a liquid, short-term holding strategy.
1/10 oz. Gold American Eagle Bullion Coin

“There's one thing gold traders and analysts agree on, now is a great time to own bullion,” writes Bloomberg. A variety of international “crisis triggers over coming months” will set a positive stage for gold. Build your precious metals portfolio with a gold coin that's well-recognized around the world and steeped in historical significance. Buy the 1/10 oz. Gold American Eagle Coin online or over the phone by calling 1-844-307-1589 today!

How to Buy

Because gold bullion coins are ungraded, you'll want to strongly consider the coin's weight, fineness, and design when making your purchase. Greater weights can carry higher prices. If volume and variety are important to you, consider purchasing multiple coins at lower weights, as opposed to fewer coins at higher weights.

The most popular gold bullion coins include Gold American Eagle Coins, Gold American Buffalo Coins, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins, and South African Gold Krugerrands.

Certified Gold Coins

When compared to bullion coins, certified gold coins can provide precious metals owners a way to minimize risk and maximize reward over a longer period of time. Unlike bullion coins, certified coins are evaluated and graded for their condition and rarity by a third-party grading service, like Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). The higher the grade, the more perfect—and, often times, pricier—the coin.


Many certified gold coins are proof coins, which have a markedly different appearance than gold bullion coins. A certified coin with a “proof” finish goes through a special minting process and is struck multiple times, giving it a richer level of design detail and an eye-catching, mirror-like finish. These coins are then encapsulated and sonically sealed in impact-resistant, tamper-proof plastic cases to protect their coveted condition. After all, the coin's condition can be a major factor in determining its potential!

Performance & Cost

Certified coins can be particularly ideal for those in search of long-term profit potential. Why? While the price of gold bullion coins is primarily determined by the spot price of gold and the coin's weight in gold, the price of a certified coin is also tied to its availability and condition. Accordingly, certified coins have shown to not be subject to the same level of spot price volatility as bullion coins. When economic conditions start seesawing, you could see the price of a certified coin fluctuate less than that of a bullion coin.

Due to their rarity, grading, and insulation from spot market volatility, certified gold coins can achieve greater potential when held for longer periods of time. By nature, their scarcity allows for increased potential.Proof Gold American Eagle Coins, Reagan Legacy Series

Certified coins are typically produced in lower numbers than their bullion counterparts, so they're able to achieve a greater level of rarity and appreciation. For example, of the 1999 mintages of the Gold American Eagle coin, nearly 1.5 million 1 oz. bullion coins were issued, but less than 26,000 proof versions were made. This is your chance to learn more and bring home the beauty and rarity of Proof Gold American Eagle Coins. Call 1-844-307-1589 today!

How to Buy

Work toward owning all of the years and denominations of issue for a coin program, also known as the “date run,” and in the highest grade you can afford. The fewer coins in a grade, the more likely a coin could be highly sought after in the marketplace. It's basic supply and demand!

The most popular certified gold coins include Proof Gold American Buffalo Coins and Proof Gold American Eagle Coins.

Gold Bullion Coins & Certified Coins: A Dynamic Duo

Diversification is the key to a balanced portfolio. As the Charles Schwab Expertise Team notes in Forbes, a diversified portfolio, or one that “puts its ‘eggs' in many ‘baskets'— is better positioned to weather large month-over-month market gyrations and provide a more stable set of returns over time.”

Experienced wealth holders know that diversifying with multiple types of gold, like both bullion coins and certified coins, is a great place to start, but further diversifying with gold and silver coins can provide even more layers of security and peace of mind. Call U.S. Money Reserve at 1-844-307-1589 to learn more about the various types of gold and silver that are available to you and receive a personal, one-on-one consultation today. Our Account Executives are standing by to help you chart a course for achieving your financial goals with precious metals!


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