When you consider that historians believe that the first gold coins were minted almost 5,000 years for Egyptian Pharaohs, it's not difficult to see why real gold coins offer so much attraction to coin collectors and gold collectors in general. Not only is each one, literally, worth its weight in gold, but the added value of the history of the gold coin and its rarity combine to make it an extremely worthwhile investment.

Even when banks are failing and economies are struggling, gold coins still hold their value.

Strangely, though, early gold coins were not used as currency, but as gifts, so not many made it into circulation.

So, the most expensive gold coin ever sold must be an ancient Egyptian one, then?

Wrong!

A 1933 Double Eagle (American $20 gold coin) once sold for US$7.79 million! Of course, like most gold coins, there's a story behind this famous one, so click here to read up about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_Double_Eagle

Although many countries and civilisations traded in gold coins, or even lumps of gold, for centuries, it was the Romans who stepped things up to a previously unseen level. With world dominance came wealth, and superbly made gold Roman coins were seen as the ultimate status symbol to an up and coming Emperor. Many of them died violent deaths, so the sheer number of Roman coins available fills whole books!

Until the early 20th century, when countries began to horde their gold and issue notes against it rather than distribute it, gold coins were still very much in use as currency in many countries, but have since faded away. Although some are still produced and are legal tender, they tend to be issued for collectors and investors, so are not generally used to buy goods. The Gold Sovereign, for example, is one that many UK residents will be familiar with.

Gold stands the test of time, so although gold coins do tend to attract lots of interest and high prices, they are still seen as a status symbol. The only difference these days is that the status is with the person holding the coin, rather than the one whose head is on the coin!