What Kinds Of Coins Can I Have In My Retirement Account?

Investors are increasingly looking to precious metals IRAs – often known as Gold IRAs – as a way to reduce the volatility of their portfolio, to hedge against inflation, to protect against a falling dollar and for a number of other reasons.

Gold bars are one way to invest in precious metals, but many investors prefer gold coins for their IRA.

And there are a multitude of gold and silver coins available to the retail investor,  but which ones does the U.S. Government allow in an IRA?

Well first of all, it helps to understand the difference between a bullion coin and a proof coin.

In a nutshell, a bullion coin is a coin whose value is determined by the weight it has in a precious metal, in this case gold or silver. Bullion coins are not really made for regular circulation. For instance, you’re not going to take a bullion coin and go down the the corner store and buy a pack of gum! Rather they are made primarily as a convenient way for people to invest in precious metals.

Think of proof coins as a higher-end or “deluxe” level of a bullion coin. For coin geeks, they have a greater numismatic value. They are made to a higher level of quality, in limited quantities, and are a favorite for collectors. Nevertheless proof coins can also be purchased by the investor and sometimes can offer some advantages. A limited number are produced by the U.S. Government each year. Their value is not only related to their weight, but also to the amount minted, their age, their rarity, etc. As such, proof coins can offer less volatility and a higher value than their bullion counterparts.

Here is the current list of gold coins that the federal government approves for IRAs:

  • Australian Kangaroo, or Nugget coins
  • Austrian Philharmonics
  • American Eagle coins
  • Maple Leaf coins from Canada

And now the list of silver coins that are approved for IRA investing:

  • Canadian Maple Leafs
  • American Eagles
  • Isle Of Man Noble coins
  • Australian Koalas

By the way, platinum coins are also available and approved for the IRA investor, but most people currently are looking to gold or silver because of their higher relative value. Gold or silver coins for IRA investing are a much more convenient and accessible way for most investors to get into precious metals. Because of their smaller size, and therefore smaller amount of investment required, they are a more open field for most of us who are considering bolstering our portfolio.

As always, consult your investment professional before making any decisions.