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.
- Popular Gold Bullion Coins
1 oz. American Gold Eagle 
Exchange traded funds
Gold stocks and mutual funds
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
Real returns 
||Sensitivity to inflation
| World equities
| US bonds
| US bills
(View Google Spreadsheet in browser
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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.
(View Google Spreadsheet in browser, then File --> Download as to download the file.)
- Baur, Dirk and Lucey, Brian M., Is Gold a Hedge or a Safe Haven? An Analysis of Stocks, Bonds and Gold (December 2006)
- Erb, Claude B. and Harvey, Campbell R., An Impressionistic View of the 'Real' Price of Gold Around the World, (September 18, 2012). Available at SSRN.
- Erb, Claude B. and Harvey, Campbell R., The Golden Dilemma, (May 4, 2013). Available at SSRN.
- Lucey, Brian M. and Tully, Edel, International Portfolio Formation, Skewness and the Role of Gold, 09/2003. Available at SSRN.
- McCown, James Ross and Zimmerman, John R., Is Gold a Zero-Beta Asset? Analysis of the Investment Potential of Precious Metals 07/24/2006. Available at SSRN.
- McCown, James Ross and Zimmerman, John R., Analysis of the Investment Potential and Inflation-Hedging Ability of Precious Metals (July 23, 2007). Available at SSRN.
- O'Callaghan, Gary, The Structure and Operation of the World Gold Market, 12/1991. Available at SSRN.