Can I Hold Gold and Silver Coins in My IRA?

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Last Updated on: 26th January 2015, 04:49 pm

The short answer to this question is yes, it is possible to hold gold and silver coins in your IRA.  However, to do so, it is generally necessary to establish a so-called Gold IRA, one which allows you to purchase physical gold and silver as opposed to only permitting gold and silver stocks and ETFs to be held.

What is a Gold IRA?

A Gold IRA is one in which the custodian allows you to purchase physical precious metals including gold, silver, platinum and palladium, in your IRA.  The typical IRA is not set-up to allow these types of investments, hence the use of the term Gold IRA to refer to those IRAs which have the capacity to hold physical precious metals on your behalf.  Please note that while these IRA accounts will allow you to purchase gold and silver coins and other approved precious metals, they must be kept within the IRA and not in your possession to comply with applicable IRS regulations.  Instead, your IRA custodian will designate a licensed depository to hold the precious metals on your behalf.

What types of silver and gold coins can be held?

Certain types of gold and silver coins have been designated as acceptable to be held in an IRA.  These are typically proof coins that have gone through a special minting process using certain designated dyes.  To make these proofs, coin blanks are deposited into presses and struck a number of times to create detailed coin images above a translucent background.

The issuance of proof coins in any one year or month is typically limited by the mints supplying them.  The prices of these coins typically reflect a variety of variables in addition to the current prices of gold and silver, namely, the condition of the coin, mintage, scarcity of that particular issue, age, and demand.  Given their appeal as collector’s items, these coins will often fetch a premium over their bullion value, depending on market conditions at any given time.

Allowable gold and silver coins include:

Gold coins:  American Eagle coins; Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins; Austrian Philharmonic; Canadian Maple Leaf coins; US Buffalo Gold uncirculated coins (no proofs of this type are allowed).

Silver Coins:  American Eagle coins; Australian Kookaburra coins; Austrian Philharmonic coins; Canadian Maple Leaf coins; Mexican Libertad coins.

Image courtesy Motoyen/flickr
Image courtesy Motoyen/flickr

Current premiums for buying gold and silver coins

With the price of gold and silver experiencing significant volatility lately, first plunging and then recovering somewhat in value, the lower prices on these precious metals that have resulted have led to an upsurge in the purchase of physical gold and silver instruments such as gold and silver coins recently.  This, in turn, has led to premiums over the spot price rising for some types of silver and gold coins.  Whether these premiums will continue to rise over time or will back off is hard to predict, however, they do signal a tight market for physical precious metals currently, and are something to keep an eye on if you are planning to purchase gold and silver coins in your IRA.

David Robles
David Robles

David has a bachelor in Economics and an extensive financial background. He is CFP® professional which means that he is an expert in investment and retirement planning. David enjoys covering current geopolitical world events and topics that relate to the U.S. economy.

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FTC Disclosure: We are an independent blog that aims at providing useful information for retirement account owners interested in alternative assets like precious metals. However, our content does NOT constitute financial advice. Please speak to your financial advisor before making any investment decision. Also, the data quoted on this website represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.


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