Coins vs Rounds

Coins and rounds made of precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are popular investment pieces for collectors.

Both items are small, stackable, circular, and easy to carry and store. All of the similarities leave some collectors confused as to why some pieces are called coins and others are called rounds.

The fact is, although their shapes are similar, there are numerous differences between a coin and a round, especially when it comes to determining a piece’s value. Many collectors make the mistake of paying a round’s price for a coin and vice versa, which can lead to a disappointing investment.

Here, we will take a look at the definitions of coins and rounds, plus the differences between them that make them unique.


To be considered a “coin”, a piece must have the following attributes:

  • Minted by a sovereign government
  • Designated as legal tender and containing a minimum face value
  • Has a date inscribed on the coin’s face

Sovereign Mint

As stated above, coins are minted under the direction of a sovereign government by a government-appointed mint. Being minted by a sovereign mint means that coins are produced within a country whose government operates on its own and without interference from other nations. In order to be legal tender, coins must be produced by a government. Some examples of sovereign mints include the US Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, and the Australian Perth Mint.

Coins have a monetary face value that makes them legal tender within a country. This means that coins can be used to settle both public and private debts. Even coins minted specifically for the sake of collecting or investment have an assigned face value to them, making them legal currency.

In the case of bullion coins meant for investment, the face value will remain low but the precious metal content will make the overall value of the coin much higher. For example, coins in the America the Beautiful silver bullion series have a face value of 25 cents; however, their .999 fine silver content makes their purchase price much higher than a quarter.


The year of issue is present on all coins, and this is done for a few reasons. The most important of those reasons is for the respective mint’s tracking purposes. It is important for a mint to keep track of exactly how many coins are released into circulation in order to gauge the amount of demand there is for a coin. It also helps with accounting and comparing economic outlooks.


Rounds may look like coins at a glance, but they are vastly different when it comes to the details. Rounds are coin-shaped pieces of precious metal that do not contain a face value, date stamp, and are not minted by a government mint as currency.

Rounds can easily be confused as coins, especially if a round’s design is modeled after an actual coin. Here are a few common characteristics that define a round.

Private Mints

Rounds, unlike coins, are minted by private mints. Private mints are privately owned and can produce rounds or bars with their own designs and metal content. Their products are not designed for circulation and can make great investment pieces since their value derives directly from their precious metal content. Some popular private mints include OPM Metals, Engelhard, and the Elemental Mint.

Unique Designs and Sizes

Since private mints are not under government jurisdiction, there are few limits as to the designs or sizes. Private mints can design and produce coins based on customer interest and specific topics or series. However, private mints cannot produce a coin with the exact size or weight specifications of a sovereign mint issued coin, regardless of design or metal composition.

Qualifying Marks

As stated, sometimes rounds are produced with the intent to replicate historic or popular coin issues. In this case, rounds are printed with specific markings to differentiate them from the coins they are modeled after. Those markings are sometimes a small “R” standing for replica or the word “COPY” inscribed on the face, but could be any marking that distinctly differentiates the round from the coin.

Begin Your Precious Metal Investment Today

When it comes to investment opportunities, both coins and rounds provide value. Coins tend to feature more intricate designs and carry their assigned face value. Rounds, while they are not minted coinage with face values, do offer high precious metal content and lower premiums as compared to coins.

Whether you choose to invest in coins or rounds, Provident Metals has what you are looking for. Browse our Gold and Silver coin collection, or shop for Silver Rounds produced by our private mint to find your next investment piece.

Products You Might Like