When it comes to collecting United States gold coins, does size matter? For better or worse, I’m afraid it does. Most new collectors of gold coins are immediately attracted to big coins, especially double eagles. The classic entry position for most collectors is to buy some gold bullion, then graduate to something semi-numismatic like a Krugerrand or a Maple Leaf then to St. Gaudens or Liberty Head double eagles. This has been a pattern that many companies have pushed through their marketing.
When someone is new to collecting and spending a few thousand dollars on a coin for the first time, it is difficult to understand the concept that intrinsic value has little bearing in the world of rare gold. But this is exactly the reason why most new collectors shudder when they think about spending $5,000 on a small coin like a gold dollar or a quarter eagle.
There is another factor at work that keeps values of smaller coins below their larger counterparts. As most well-heeled collectors approach middle-age (or beyond) their eyesight no longer allows them to carefully view a small coin. Paying $5,000 for a gold dollar that you can’t even see keeps the average 50-60 year old collector away from little coins.
But there is a loyal group of collectors who like little coins. Just like some dog owners prefer mixed breeds to pedigrees (after watching the Westminster Dog Show last night I just had to make a dog reference…) some collectors like little coins for exactly the reasons that others do not: they are irrestible little “rogues” that require a bit more work to love than their bigger brethren.
I think some of the best values in the market are in the smaller-sized denominations. There are many gold dollars and quarter eagles that are superb values (feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll provide you with a list of ten undervalued gold dollars and quarter eagles) especially when compared to eagles and double eagles. I will continue to actively buy and sell these smaller denomination coins—as long as I can still see them!