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IRA Eligible Gold Coins: A Complete Investor’s Guide

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Are you looking to invest in gold coins with your Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? Gold has always been valued for its investment potential, and adding it to your IRA can be a great way to diversify and protect your retirement portfolio.

But how do you know which gold coins are eligible under the terms of an IRA account?

IRA eligible gold coins are non-collectible coins that are at least 99.5% pure, and are produced by an accredited facility or national government mint. Proof coins must be encapsulated in their original packaging and in mint condition with a certificate of authenticity, while non-proof coins are acceptable only if they’re in brilliant-level condition, free from damage and uncirculated.

In this post, we will take an in-depth look at all things related to investing in IRA eligible gold coins so that you can make informed decisions about adding them as part of your retirement plans.

Before you begin the process, it’s essential to understand what IRA-eligible gold is and how you can invest in it.

What is a Gold IRA?

A gold IRA works like a standard IRA but allows you to hold gold in your retirement account.

The term gold IRA refers to a specialized individual retirement account (IRA) that allows investors to hold gold as a qualified retirement investment. Investors with gold IRAs can hold physical metals such as bullion or coins, as well as precious metals-related securities within the portfolio.

A gold IRA must be held separately from a traditional retirement account, although rules involving things like contribution limits and distributions remain the same. Investors can open gold IRAs through a broker-dealer or other custodian.

Here is a brief summary of everything you need to know:

  • A gold IRA is a special type of retirement account that allows investors to hold gold coins or bullion as a qualified retirement investment.
  • The IRS has certain specifications that the gold must meet in order to be considered IRA eligible gold.
  • The IRS standards for IRA eligible gold include specifications on fineness, purity and accreditation as well as the exclusion of collectible coins (with a few exceptions).
  • Eligible coins include 1, 1/2, 1/4 or 1/10 ounce U.S. gold coins along with a select list of eligible foreign coins that meet the standards
  • Common coins that are gold IRA eligible include American Gold Eagles, American Buffalos, Australian Gold Nuggets, Austrian Philharmonics and Canadian Gold Maple Leafs.

History of IRA Rules

The IRA rules for eligible gold are ever-evolving.

IRAs were once limited to holding American Eagle gold and silver coins, but with the passage of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, investors have been able to venture further into precious metals investments with their IRAs. Today’s IRA holders can now also put their money in IRS-approved bullion and other coinage.

Current Allowances

Gold allowed in IRAs include 1, 1/2, 1/4 or 1/10 ounce U.S. gold coins along with a select list of eligible foreign coins that meet the minimum fineness requirements and other standards.

IRA Eligibility Rules for Gold

IRA-eligible gold is gold that meets the standards the IRS set forward for gold to be eligible for holding in a self-directed IRA. Outside of an IRA as a private consumer, you can privately buy any kind of legal gold as a private consumer. Gold that’s purchased as part of a precious metals IRA, however, must meet detailed standards.

The IRS standards for IRA eligible gold include specifications on fineness, purity and accreditation.

These rules exist in part due to the fact that U.S. laws specify that an IRA cannot hold collectibles, though there are exceptions. Since gold and other precious metals are considered collectibles, that puts restrictions on which types can be included.

The following is a full list of the requirements to be considered IRA eligible gold.

Type of GoldMinimum PurityRequirements
Gold Coins99.5%Must be produced by an accredited/certified refiner, assayer, manufacturer or national government mint.

Proof coins must be encapsulated in their original packaging and in mint condition with a certificate of authenticity.

Non-proof coins are acceptable only if they're in brilliant-level condition, free from damage and uncirculated. 

Most collectible, numismatic coins are excluded from eligibility.
Bars and Rounds99.5%Must be produced by an accredited/certified refiner, assayer, manufacturer or national government mint.

Small bullion bars must meet particular manufacturing specifications in terms of their physical weight.

IRA Eligible Gold Coins

There are numerous options when it comes to adding IRA eligible gold coins to your IRA account. These include, but are not limited to:

  • American Gold Eagle coins (including proof coins)
  • Australian Gold Nugget (Australian Kangaroo) coins
  • Australian Lunar Series gold coins
  • Austrian Philharmonic coins
  • British Britannia coins (2013 and newer)
  • Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins
  • Chinese Gold Panda coins
  • American Buffalo gold coins
  • Other gold coins that meet the minimum fineness requirements

For a list of our best gold coins to buy, click here.

Other IRA Eligible Gold Products

Other IRA-eligible gold products include but are not limited to:

  • Royal Canadian Mint gold bars (1 oz)
  • Johnson Matthey gold bars (1 oz)
  • Sunshine Mint gold bars (1 oz)
  • UBS gold bars (1 oz)
  • Valcambi Gold Bars (1 oz)
  • Credit Suisse gold bars (1 oz, 10 oz)
  • Valcambi Gold CombiBars (50 g)

IRA Ineligible Gold Coins

IRA-ineligible gold products include but are not limited to:

  • Most collectible and rare coins
  • British Brittania (pre-2013)
  • South African Krugerrand
  • British Sovereign
  • U.S. Liberty gold coins
  • French Franc
  • Swiss Franc

Other Things to Keep in Mind When Investing in IRA Eligible Gold

  • Exceptions exist. The American Gold Eagle coin is a notable IRS exception to the minimum fineness requirements set forth by the IRS, in part due to its popularity amongst gold IRA holders.
  • Certain coins may be ineligible. Just because a coin adheres to IRS purity standards doesn’t mean it will be an eligible coin. Certain coins are deemed to be collectibles and are therefore ineligible for a gold IRA. Notable examples include U.S. Liberty and British Sovereign gold coins.
  • Gold IRAs are subject to specific regulations. Beyond IRS purity requirements for the gold you gold, your gold IRA must adhere to a number of other regulations. For example, you must appoint an IRS-approved custodian and store all gold in an IRS-approved depository. Speak with your trusted gold IRA dealer for more information.
  • Gold IRA companies can assist you with the process. From appointing a trusted custodian to arranging the storage of your gold coins or bars, a gold IRA company can help you adhere to all the regulations when setting up your gold IRA. Just keep in mind there are commonly minimum investment requirements as well as additional costs involved in the transportation, setup, and storage.
  • Be aware of early withdrawal penalties. Be aware that the early withdrawal of gold from your gold IRA will result in an additional 10% tax penalty from the government. When setting up a gold IRA, ensure you are prepared to hold until retirement.

Tax Benefits of Gold IRA

You can certainly invest in gold without opening a gold IRA, but you’d be doing so without the tax benefits.

Investment in gold via a gold IRA makes it easy to receive the tax benefits of an IRA but with precious metals, allowing you tax-deferred growth on your earnings and tax-deductible contributions.

On the other hand, a Roth gold IRA allows your investments to compound tax free and also allows for the tax-free withdrawal of your capital in retirement.

Speak to your chosen gold IRA company to discuss the benefits of each type of IRA account.

Gold Market Trends and Investment Strategies

The gold investment landscape is constantly changing, so staying on top of the market trends and settling on an investment strategy are pivotal.

The aim is to build a gold IRA portfolio that stands resilient over time.

The key is to remain informed, consult experts when in doubt, and approach the gold investment landscape with a nuanced understanding.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into understanding how to optimize your gold IRA investments by considering the historical backdrop and aligning investment strategies accordingly.

Historical Perspective

  • Gold Prices: Gold prices have not remained static. They have seen several highs and lows over the years. To understand the present, you need to revisit the past. Historically, gold prices have surged during economic downturns, portraying its role as a safe haven. In the 2000s, for instance, gold went through a bullish cycle, peaking during the financial crisis of 2008. These patterns are often driven by a blend of inflation rates, interest rates, and geopolitical events. Understanding these can help in anticipating the future market directions.
  • Legislation Impact: Legislative actions have often shaped the gold market significantly. Taking a leaf from the past, the removal of the gold standard in the 1970s by many countries unleashed a new era for gold investments. Similarly, the introduction of gold IRAs through the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 opened a new avenue for investors. Keeping an eye on regulatory shifts and legislative measures and understanding their implications is critical.

Gold Investment Strategies


Putting all your eggs in one basket is rarely advised with any type of investment.

Diversification is an important strategy to mitigate risks and aim for a potential increase in returns.

For your gold IRA, it means not just investing in gold coins or bullion but considering other precious metals like silver, platinum, or palladium.

You may also consider diversifying within the gold asset class. A mix of coins, bars, and reputable mints can further add a robust structure to your investment.

Timing the Market

Timing the market perfectly is not possible. However, having a grasp of market cycles can steer you closer to making informed decisions.

This involves studying the economic indicators and being aware of the geopolitical events that often dictate the gold prices.

Keeping an eye on inflation trends and currency values can provide cues on the right time to invest. Moreover, seasonal patterns, with gold often gaining strength in early winter due to increased jewelry demand, can offer tactical entry points for investments.

Frequently Asked Questions About IRA Eligible Gold

Can I have gold coins in my IRA?

You can certainly have gold coins in your IRA by using a gold IRA. IRAs have come a long way since only American Eagle gold and silver coins were permitted — now you can also legally invest in IRS-approved precious metals such as palladium and platinum bullion as part of your gold IRA.

How do I buy gold coins with an IRA?

To buy gold coins with a gold IRA, you must adhere to IRS regulations, including purchasing coins with a minimum fineness of 99.5%. Transactions should be handled through a self-directed custodian to ensure compliance and appropriate storage, not using personal finances or home storage. It’s advisable to consult a gold IRA company for assistance.

Can you buy gold with a traditional IRA?

You can invest in a variety of gold assets with a traditional IRA such as gold mining stocks and gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs), though you are restricted from buying physical gold. If you wish to invest in physical gold with your IRA, you can convert it to a gold IRA, a specialized type of IRA for precious metals.

Which gold IRA is best?

The best gold IRA depends on the individual investor’s needs and goals, but one to consider is Augusta Precious Metals. Factors to consider include which custodian offers the most competitive fees and what types of gold coins or bars are available for purchase. Additionally, investors should make sure that their chosen custodian is insured and has a track record of secure storage of precious metals.

Parting Words

All in all, a gold IRA can be a great way to invest your money and ensure that you have a comfortable retirement. With the recent changes in the tax laws, this option has become even more attractive to investors.

As with any investment, there are both pros and cons associated with investing in gold IRAs. It is important to do your research and consult with a financial advisor before making any decisions about investing in gold and ensure that you are only adding IRA eligible gold coins to your portfolio. But not to worry!

Have you considered investing in a gold IRA? What are your thoughts on this strategy? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

P.S. Like this article? You may also enjoy these other articles in the series:

Article by:

Diversify Guy

Helping you ensure a golden future in your retirement through diversification for more than 10 years.

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