Gold Coin From North America
Gold coins of the “New World” issue primarily from the mints of North America’s three major countries: the USA, Canada, and Mexico. (There are numerous – over 40 – other “members” of the continent in the Caribbean, Central America, and Atlantic Ocean … and you’re forgiven if you overlook Greenland as part of North America – it is. But we will concentrate on the major coin producers here.) The three most populous nations share borders and close economic ties through the North American Free Trade Agreement but their histories and cultures are quite distinct. Canada and the USA both have British colonial roots. Those were completely thrown off by the Americans, as Mexico did with Spain. Canada, however, retains its British (Commonwealth) heritage which is reflected in the British sovereign’s representation on its coinage to this day. The US and Mexico understandably portray their own national figures only.
Gold and North American Civilization
Of the three largest North American countries, it is quite easy to see that gold had the greatest historical impact on Mexico. Long before the Spanish Conquest, the peoples of the southernmost parts of the continent held gold in high esteem. After Cortez arrived in 1521, massive deposits of gold and silver were discovered almost immediately at El Oro near Mexico City. European methods of exploration and mining were introduced, extracting some 5 million ounces of gold over the next 400 years, and sent to Spain and around the world. To the north (and west), gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, leading to the California Gold Rush, the slaughter or displacement of indigenous societies, and statehood in 1850, followed by rapid economic and civic development. Still later, and still farther north, Canada welcomed its mad influx of wealth seekers during the Klondike Gold Rush, in the waning years of the 19th Century in the Yukon Territory. Of the 100,000 prospectors who aimed to find their fortunes, it is said that fewer than half of that number actually made it to the cold northern streams to pan for gold.
Notable Coins from North America
Though Mexico has the oldest history of gold on the continent, it has the least-developed coin industry. This is both a weakness and a strength. Banco de Mexico (the Mexican Mint) is known for producing limited quantities each year of a smaller variety of gold coins, heightening their collectible value. Primary among these is the Libertad, considered one of the most beautiful coins in the world.
Gold Maple Leaf
The youngest North American nation of the three – Canada – has an extremely developed minting industry that is considered a world leader in technology and craftsmanship. The Royal Canadian Mint was the first to produce gold bullion coins of the highest purity (99.99%), notably its stunning Gold Maple Leaf. RCM has pioneered other ground-breaking designs and effects including holograms, odd shapes, multiple colors and finishes, and gem inserts, as well as state-of-the-art security features.
American Gold Eagle
The official gold bullion coin of the United States of America is the American Eagle. Bearing the majestic bird on one side, it portrays an equally powerful symbol on the reverse: Lady Liberty. Similarly, another of America’s iconic gold coins shows classic images on both faces.
American Gold Buffalo
The American Buffalo bullion coin has the bison on the reverse, and the head of a Native American in profile on the obverse. Demand from investors and collectors for these coins is always very high.