You may wonder:
The truth is, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on precious metals, you can absolutely start small.
From fractional versions of renowned favorites like the Gold American Eagle and Gold Canadian Maple Leaf to limited editions such as the Chinese Gold Panda and Mexican Libertad, these mighty minis provide a path to diversification and wealth preservation that won’t break the bank.
And since the top mints across the globe back their purity, all are IRA-friendly investments.
Whether you’re an experienced investor or just starting on your gold journey, these tiny treasures allow you to own a piece of history for a fraction of the price of traditional 1-oz coins.
So let’s discover a world where precious metals meet artistry as we review the 10 smallest gold coins you can buy today.
But first things first…
Why Buy Smaller Gold Coins?
Investing in smaller gold coins offers distinct advantages you won’t find with larger coins and bars.
Not surprisingly, smaller products cost less than larger versions, making them accessible to a broader range of investors looking to get started with gold on a smaller budget.
Rather than having to sell a large product, you can sell these fractional coins easier if you need to raise capital quickly.
Do you like to take your gold with you? Their small size makes it easier to travel with your gold discreetly.
You can diversify between different mints and editions, reducing your risk of fluctuations in the coin market.
Unique, rare, and original designs may be sought after by collectors for their numismatic value. These coins have the potential to appreciate beyond the value of their gold content.
With no reporting requirements, these provide anonymity for investors who value privacy and confidentiality.
Remember that while smaller gold coins offer key benefits, they may also command higher premiums than their larger cousins due to production and minting costs.
Also, they are more susceptible to greater wear and tear due to the size. So it’s essential to protect your precious metal products and maintain mint condition to preserve their resale value.
Top 10 Smallest Gold Coins You Can Buy
Whether you’re looking for portability, diversification, or the potential for numismatic appreciation, these ten options are the perfect investment to start your precious metals portfolio.
1. 1/10 oz American Gold Eagle
The top choice for investors and collectors alike, the American Gold Eagle was first produced by the US Mint in 1986.
It was inspired by the $20 gold piece, dubbed the “Double Eagle“, originally designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Struck in 22-karat gold, they are durable and resistant to scratching or marring, which can affect their resale value.
These were minted from 1907 to 1933 and have long been considered one of America’s most beautiful coins.
Initially, they featured a family of eagles representing the strength and grace of the American people.
However, the family was replaced by a single exquisitely sculpted American bald eagle in 2021.
On the back, the coin depicts Lady Liberty striding confidently toward the future.
In one hand, she’s holding a lit torch, signifying enlightenment, while the other has an olive branch symbolizing peace.
Coins are 91.67% gold and 3% silver, while the balance consists of copper. They come with advanced security features, including a reeded edge, and measure 16.5 mm in diameter.
With its timeless design and guaranteed by the US Mint, the 2023 American Eagle product is excellent for anyone looking to start a precious metals portfolio.
2. 1/20 oz Gold Canadian Maple Leaf
When first minted in 1979 by the Royal Canadian Mint, this one contained .999 pure gold.
However, the purity was increased to 99.99% in 1982, making it one of the purest gold coins available today.
At the time, the only gold bullion coin was the South African Krugerrand.
However, as the boycott due to apartheid reduced the availability of the Krugerrand, the Maple Leaf became highly sought-after by investors and collectors across the globe.
All products feature the same design, the maple leaf, which is the symbol of Canada and has been proudly displayed on the national flag since 1965.
The reverse features the profile of Queen Elizabeth II.
The only design changes since it was first introduced have been to update the profile of Queen Elizabeth as she has aged.
In 1988 and 1989, she was depicted as 39 years old. Then from 1990 to 2004, she was portrayed as 64 years old. From 2005 until today, she is shown as 79.
These products are legal tender in Canada, with values determined by the Canadian Currency Act of 1985 and the Canadian Mint Act of 1985.
They are guaranteed for weight and purity by the Canadian government.
The 1/20 oz coin has a legal value of $1 and is 14 mm in diameter.
With its exquisite design, high purity, and global recognition, the Canadian Maple Leaf has become a top choice for investors.
3. 1/10 oz South African Krugerrand
The first Krugerrand was minted on July 3, 1967, to help market gold produced by the Rand Refinery and the South African Mint.
By 1980, these represented 90% of the gold coin market and were the number one choice for investors looking to buy gold.
However, they fell out of favor during the 80s and 90s as boycotts against the apartheid government of South Africa affected their availability.
These coins derive their name from Paul Kruger, the former president of South Africa, and the rand, the South African currency.
They are struck in 22-karat gold using a gold-copper alloy, making them highly durable and damage-resistant.
On the obverse, you’ll see the profile of Paul Kruger, the four-term president of the old South Africa Republic.
The reverse side depicts the springbok antelope, the national symbol of South Africa, and was created by Coert Steynberg, the renowned South African sculptor.
With sanctions lifted, these have again flourished, becoming a top choice for investors worldwide.
Since 1967, over 50 million ounces of gold Krugerrands have been sold.
4. 1/20 oz Gold Chinese Panda
First struck in 1982, the Chinese Panda was the third gold bullion coin available to investors after the Krugerrand and Canadian Maple Leaf.
First offered in 1 oz and three fractional sizes, the 1/20 oz was introduced the following year.
These were produced from 1983 until 2015 and carried a legal tender of 20 yuan from 2001 until 2015.
In 2016, the Chinese Mint switched from ounces to grams to reflect the official unit of measurement used by the Chinese government.
Now the 1-gram coin is the smallest produced and contains .0322 troy ounces of .999 pure gold and has a face value of 10 yuan.
Coins have a diameter of 10 mm, making them one of the smallest gold bullion coins produced today.
They feature one of the iconic structures in the Temple of Heaven Complex.
This complex is a site of religious and government buildings where the emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties went to pray each year for an abundant harvest.
The reverse side features an image of a giant panda, the unofficial symbol of the People’s Republic of China.
This image changes yearly (except in 2001 and 2002, which had the same design). For this reason, every year is considered a limited edition, making this product popular with collectors.
5. 1/20 oz Australian Gold Kangaroo
Introduced in 1986 by the Perth Mint, the first coins featured a gold nugget inspired by the discovery of the first gold nugget in Australia.
Then in 1990, the design was changed to feature a kangaroo, recognized worldwide as the symbol of Australia.
They are 99.99% pure gold and come in various sizes. They enjoy great popularity due to the changing kangaroo motif with each edition.
This one is legal tender in Australia. Depending on the size, each has a value of $10 to $100. In 2010, the Perth Mint struck a 0.5-gram coin with a value of $2.
And in 2011, they produced one-ton coins, making the Gold Kangaroo both the smallest and largest gold bullion coin in the world.
The design symbolizes the power and athletic ability of the kangaroo.
The reverse side features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth.
The 2023 edition is the first one issued by the Perth Mint to include a memorial to the late queen.
These ones are treasured by investors and collectors alike for their exquisite craftsmanship, purity, and annual design changes.
They would make an excellent addition to any coin collection.
6. 1/20 oz British Britannia
The first gold Britannia was struck in 1987 by the Royal Mint. Initially offered in 1/10 oz to 1-oz sizes, a 1/20 oz coin was introduced in 2013.
The 24-karat products are recognized as legal tender in the UK.
They have become highly sought after by collectors and investors for their purity and craftsmanship.
Each coin features Britannia, the female warrior that represents the strength and resilience of Great Britain.
The original one depicted Britannia riding a horse-drawn carriage, but each year heralds a new design.
Until 2022, the reverse featured a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
The 2023 edition marks the first gold coin to showcase King Charles III, the recently anointed King of England.
The Gold Britannia has become a popular choice for Anglofiles seeking a prestigious and highly stylized addition to their precious metals portfolio.
7. 0.5-gram Somalia Gold Elephant
While most gold products are produced by the national mint residing in the country of origin, these are unique in that the Bavarian State Mint mints them in Germany for the government of Somalia.
The first gold coins were struck in 2008 following the successful launch of the silver edition four years earlier.
Located in Munich, the Bavarian State Mint is one of the most prestigious in the world. It started minting in 1158 under the reign of Heinrich dem Lowen.
These coins are part of the African Wildlife series, first introduced in 1999. Since 2008, each edition depicts an elephant in its natural habitat. The design changes annually.
Somalia Gold Elephant products are 99.99% pure gold and are in limited quantities.
They have become popular with collectors and wildlife enthusiasts interested in adding high-quality, limited-edition coins to their collections.
8. 1/25 oz Austrian Gold Philharmonic
First introduced by the Austrian Mint in 1989, they feature detailed designs on both sides inspired by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Its popularity grew quickly, becoming the best-selling bullion coin in Europe and second in the world in 1990.
In 1992, 1995, 1996, and 2000, the World Gold Council declared it the best-selling gold coin in the world.
Between 1989 and 2012, over 9.6 million were sold, representing over 329 tons of pure gold.
Austrian Gold Philharmonic pays homage to the great musical tradition of Vienna.
The obverse features the Great Organ of the Golden Hall at Vienna’s Musikverein concert hall. The reverse showcases an intricately detailed collection of musical instruments.
Thomas Pesendorfer created the original design, which has remained the same since its inception—only the year of issue changes.
The Philharmonic is the only European-minted gold coin with a face value in euros rather than dollars.
Initially available as 1-oz coins, the Austrian Mint released fractional variations over the years. For the 25th anniversary in 2014, they introduced the 1/25-oz edition.
These ones would be a welcome addition to any portfolio for those that value products with historical significance and intricate design.
9. 1/20-oz Mexican Libertad
First struck in 1981 by La Casa de Moneda de Mexico (the Mexican Mint), these are a beautiful representation of the rich history of Mexico.
The Mexican Mint was first established in 1535 and is the oldest mint in the Americas.
The obverse features the Coat of Arms of Mexico, a golden eagle perched on a cactus devouring a rattlesnake.
This symbol is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and related to the legend of the founding of present-day Mexico City by the Aztecs.
The reverse design is based on the 1921 Gold Centenario coin, first issued to mark the 100th anniversary of Mexican Independence.
It features the winged Angel of Independence while in the background are the volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl.
While the obverse design has stayed the same since its inception, the reverse design was changed in 1999. Older coins feature a front-facing view of the angel, while newer ones depict a three-quarter side profile.
First minted in 90% gold, coins produced since 1991 contain 99.9% pure gold.
These products are produced in limited quantities, making them a highly sought-after addition for any serious collector of Mexican history.
10. 1/10-oz American Gold Buffalo
Introduced in 2006 by the US Mint, this 24-karat gold piece is modeled after the Indian Head nickel, and is one of the smallest US gold coins.
This one also marks the first time the US Mint produced a 99.99% pure gold coin.
Offered initially as a one-ounce product, the mint expanded the series to include fractional sizes in 2008.
The design is a modified version of the original Indian Head nickel created by James Earle Fraser.
These were produced from 1913 until 1938 when they were discontinued. Fraser’s design is considered one of the best designs on any American coin.
The obverse features the portrait of a Native American chief.
This portrait is a composite of three chiefs from different tribes – Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons – who posed as models for Fraser.
The reverse depicts a buffalo inspired by Black Diamon, an American Buffalo that lived in New York Central Park Zoo in the early 1900s.
Its classic design and high purity made them an immediate hit with investors.
With over 3.5 million produced since 2006, they have become one of the world’s most popular gold bullion coins.
The truth is:
These petite marvels provide an easy gateway into the world of gold investment, no matter your budget.
Whatever your interest, from history to wildlife or national pride, you’ll find an edition that’s right for you.
And since many cost less than a fancy dinner out, you can get started on a shoestring budget.
Pick one or two of your favorites and add more as your finances allow.
Not only will you be making a sound investment, but you’ll own an enduring piece of precious metals history that will spark the imagination and be a source of pride for years to come.
Over to you:
- What is your most sought after gold coin from this list?
- Are small gold coins a good investment in your opinion?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!