Gold coins are made almost exclusively from the metal gold with the intention of being used by collectors or to be used as bullion coins. Bullion coins are coins which have a formal value that is inconsequential and have as their primary use as a method of investing.
Gold is an ideal medium for the usage as money. It is interchangeable, transportable and it has a high value to its weight. It can be melted down and formed into any number of different sizes, forms and shapes without losing its intrinsic value because its value is based upon its weight. The density is higher than a lot of other metals so its purity is easily defined which makes it very difficult, if not impossible to counterfeit.
A gold coin is different than a gold colored coin. A gold coin is made entirely of gold where a gold colored coin may have a gold exterior with the bulk of the coin itself made of another metal or alloy entirely. A gold coin in the purest sense of the word always refers to a coin that is more or less entirely made of gold. Most of the gold coins in the world are mainly used for investment and for collectors.
The value of a gold coin is usually determined by its condition, its age, its rarity and the number of original coins that were minted. Gold coins will have a separate value of its own depending upon the above factors. In 2002 a very rare coin was sold for over $7.5 dollars. It was a very rare 1933 Double Eagle.
Gold coins of some variety have a long history of use as money in many societies. In the ancient Near East during the Bronze Age evidence shows the usage of gold coins. A king named Croesus of Lydia was said to have invented the use of gold for coinage. The use of gold for coins and commerce has long been favored because of its ability to hold value due to its consistent density and value among different peoples.
Today gold coins are used as a way to buy a substitute form of wealth storage in replacement of the prevalent form of currency at the time. The coins can be purchased in small units that are easily stored and transported. The gold coins used in this manner will retain their value no matter what governments do to reform or change currencies.
A very wise way to purchase gold coins as a reserve against a domestic currency that is or may spiral out of control is to purchase a small amount of gold bullion coins. These coins can be held in reserve to only be used in absolute emergency circumstances. Other units of value should be used for day to day purposes. Such items as matches, cigarettes, food items and such can be bartered if the currency becomes useless.
If all a person has is a large supply of gold it will be difficult in a crisis to use it as currency in that most people will not understand its value except a few expert gold dealers, and they will charge dearly for their expertise, only purchasing at deep discounts.