Gold, for investment purposes, is usually held in the form of bullion coins or in a gold bullion exchange-traded fund (ETF). Gold company stocks can be held individually, or in a gold stocks mutual fund or ETF.
Examples of popular bullion coins minted by the United States, Canada, and South Africa are illustrated below.
Exchange traded funds
- SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) (Company shares)
- iShares Comex Gold Trust (IAU) (Bullion)
- Central GoldTrust (GTU) (Closed-end fund)
Gold stocks and mutual funds
- See Precious metals equity page which has different characteristics than gold bullion.
Gold Bullion and gold bullion ETFs are subject to the maximum 28% capital gains tax on collectibles. This tax rate is higher than the maximum capital gains tax of 15% on other investment assets. However, in some cases, such as with GTU, gains can be taxed as capital gains because the investment can be treated as a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) - see a tax adviser for details.
The long term real return of gold and other assets over the 1900 to 2011 is included in the following table
|Asset||Geo mean||Arithmetic mean||Std dev.||Sensitivity to inflation|
(View Google Spreadsheet in browser, then File --> Download as to download the file.)
The following table provides annual gold prices (including high and low prices) starting in 1970, the year gold was officially freed from government price controls and allowed to freely trade on the open market.
- British-US Gold Prices for the years 1257 to 2007
- Gold Price Chronology 1971-2007
- Asset Class Returns 1971 - 2008 includes S&P 500 Index; EAFE Index; 10-year Treasury Bonds; Gold Bullion ; MSCI World Index; and the Aggregate Bond Index
- Rediscovering Gold As An Asset Class Juan Carlos Artigas, Journal of Indexing, November/December 2010.