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Gold Eagles vs Gold Bars

Gold has been a timeless investment option, often regarded as a safe haven asset in times of economic uncertainty. Investors often find themselves debating between two primary options: American Gold Eagle coins and gold bars. Both offer unique advantages and considerations that cater to different investor preferences and goals.  

Gold Eagles vs Gold Bars Overview 

 Gold Eagles Gold Bars 
Producer United States Mint  Accredited refineries and mints worldwide 
Denominations 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce Wide range of weights 
Purity .9167 Up to .99999 
Design Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle in flight on the reverse  Typically, a standardized design, minted or poured
Premiums Higher premiums Lower premiums  
Liquidity Widespread recognition and liquidity in the global market Universally accepted and traded in the bullion market 
Storage & Portability Easier to store and transport Depends on the size of the bar 
Tax Implications Gold Eagles are treated as legal tender coinsDepends on the classification of gold as a commodity or investment asset 
Chart comparing Gold Eagles and gold bars. 

Gold Eagles vs Gold Bars Expanded Comparison

Physical Characteristics and Authenticity 

  • Gold Eagles: Produced by the United States Mint, Gold Eagles are recognized globally for their purity and authenticity. They come in various denominations (1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce) and feature iconic designs, such as Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. The official government backing enhances their credibility and market liquidity. 
  • Gold Bars: Gold bars, typically produced by accredited refineries and mints worldwide, are known for their simplicity and standardized form. They come in various weights, ranging from small bars to larger kilo bars. While they lack the aesthetic appeal of coins, their purity and weight are stamped directly onto the bar, ensuring authenticity. 

Premiums and Costs 

  • Gold Eagles: Due to their numismatic value, Gold Eagles often carry higher premiums over the spot price of gold compared to gold bars. The premium varies depending on factors such as rarity, condition, and demand for specific years or designs. Investors should consider these premiums when purchasing Gold Eagles. 
  • Gold Bars: Gold bars generally have lower premiums over the gold spot price compared to Gold Eagles. The cost per ounce is typically lower, making them a more cost-effective option for investors seeking to acquire larger quantities of gold without paying significant premiums for collectability. 


  • American Gold Eagles: These coins have a purity of 91.67%. American Gold Eagles, with their historic significance and recognizable design, attract collectors and investors. While the purity is lower, it is approved for gold IRAs.
  • Gold Bars: Gold bars often boast higher purities, ranging from 99.99% to 99.9999%, depending on the mint or refinery. While both products offer investment opportunities, gold bars tend to appeal to investors seeking the utmost purity.

Liquidity and Recognizability 

  • Gold Eagles: Being official bullion coins of the United States, American Gold Eagles enjoy widespread recognition and liquidity in the global market. Their status as legal tender adds to their appeal, making them easily tradable and recognizable by investors, dealers, and financial institutions worldwide. 
  • Gold Bars: While gold bars lack the official status of currency, they are universally accepted and traded in the bullion market. Their standardized form and hallmarking ensure authenticity, facilitating ease of buying and selling among dealers and investors globally. 

Storage and Portability 

  • Gold Eagles: Due to their smaller denominations and individual packaging, Gold Eagles offer greater flexibility in storage and transportation. They are ideal for investors looking to diversify their holdings across various denominations or for those seeking portable wealth preservation options. 
  • Gold Bars: While gold bars are more space-efficient for larger quantities of gold, they may pose challenges in terms of storage, security, and transportation, especially for investors with limited secure storage options. However, larger bars offer high purity and may be more suitable for institutional investors or those with vault storage facilities. 

Tax Implications 

  • Gold Eagles: In some jurisdictions, Gold Eagles are treated as legal tender coins, enjoying certain tax advantages such as exemption from sales tax. Investors should consult with tax professionals to understand the specific tax implications applicable to American Gold Eagles in their respective jurisdictions. 
  • Gold Bars: Tax treatment of gold bars varies depending on local regulations and the classification of gold as a commodity or investment asset. Investors should be aware of any applicable sales taxes, capital gains taxes, or reporting requirements associated with purchasing, holding, and selling gold bars. 

Gold Eagles and gold bars offer distinct advantages and considerations for investors seeking exposure to physical gold. Gold Eagles, with their numismatic value, government backing, and smaller denominations, appeal to collectors and investors looking for recognizable and liquid assets.  

Gold bars with their lower premiums, standardized form, and high purity, are favored by investors seeking cost-effective ways to acquire larger quantities of gold. Ultimately, the choice between Gold Eagles and gold bars depends on individual preferences, investment goals, and risk tolerance levels.

A great way to get started with gold is to purchase gold bars from APMEX, as we understand the desire for simplicity, convenience and low premiums.

Investors are encouraged to conduct thorough research and consult with financial advisors before making investment decisions in precious metals. 

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

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