Why do gold coins have different colours?

Not all gold coins have the typical golden-yellow shine that people associate with this popular precious metal. The Krugerrand itself – the most prevalent and venerable gold coin – is known for its somewhat red colour. This is because of the addition of copper, which is intended to make the coins more durable. A Krugerrand always consists of 91.66% pure gold and 8.34% copper. Despite the alloy, the gold content is exactly one ounce. The addition of copper only makes the Krugerrand somewhat heavier than “pure” gold coins. The place of origin of the gold also has a certain impact on the colour of the coin.

One year, different colours – the impact of corrosion

Storage conditions also have an impact on the colour of the coins. As a result, older Krugerrands from the same year sometimes have different colours. While one coin may have the same red-gold shimmer as the year it was issued, another may have taken on the classic yellow-gold tone. However, you don’t have to worry about the authenticity of the coins, as the colour is affected by, among other things, protective cases containing plasticisers that react with the surface of the coin because of the 8% copper allowed in the Krugerrand. This phenomenon is known as selective corrosion. The change in colour in no way affects the value of the gold coin.

The following gold coins are especially popular:




Maple Leaf


Vienna Philharmonic

Of these gold coins, the Krugerrand is the only one that adds a small amount of copper. Coins with the maple leaf and the Vienna Philharmonic do not contain any admixtures. Their gold content is, however, no higher than the Krugerrand, but exactly the same. But the Krugerrand is about two grams heavier.

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