Fun Facts About Gold – Part 1

At APMEX, we’ve scoured the Internet looking for fun and interesting facts about gold for our readers.

This is the first in a two-part series that will introduce 50 fun facts about gold. Some are common knowledge, some will be new to you. Enjoy these first 25 and check back next week for 25 more!

  • An American Gold Eagle.

    An American Gold Eagle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79.

  • Gold has been sought for coinage, jewelry and arts since the beginning of recorded history.
  • Gold occurs as nuggets, grains in rocks, veins and alluvial deposits.
  • Gold is the most malleable metal known; an ounce of gold can be beaten into 300 square feet and can be beaten thin enough to become translucent.
  • Gold has a bright yellow color which is maintained without oxidization in air or water.
  • The special issue Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin contains the highest purity gold of any bullion coin, at 99.999% or .99999 fineness, while the popular issue Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin has a purity of 99.99%.
  • Gold is a coinage metal and serves as a symbol of wealth and store of value.
  • Gold has been linked to a variety of symbolisms and ideologies; in ancient Chinese, the symbol for gold was the circle with a point at its center (☉), which was also the astrological symbol and ancient Chinese character for the sun.
  • The American Gold Eagle, the British Gold Sovereign and the South African Krugerrand continue to be minted in 22k metal in historical tradition.
  • Modern industrial uses of gold include dentistry and electronics.
  • Gold is chemically least reactive.
  • Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and other base metals.
  • In all of history, the 161,000 tons of gold that have been mined are barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools.
  • In 2006, the United States Mint began production of the American Buffalo gold bullion coin with a purity of 99.99%.
  • Gold is used as a conductor of heat and electricity.
  • Gold is chemically unaffected by air, moisture and most corrosive agents.
  • Gold is very dense, a cubic meter weighing 19,300 kg or approximately 42,549 lbs.
  • Common colored gold alloys such as rose gold can be created by the addition of various amounts of copper and silver.
  • The amount of gold in the world is finite and production has not grown in relation to the world’s economies.
  • At the beginning of World War I the fighting nations moved to a fractional gold standard, inflating their currencies to finance the war effort.
  • The Australian Gold Kangaroo was first coined in 1986 as the Australian Gold Nugget, while its kangaroo theme appeared in 1989.
  • Pure gold is too soft for day-to-day monetary use and is typically hardened by alloying with copper, silver or other base metals.
  • The gold content of alloys is measured in carats (k); pure gold is designated as 24k.
  • Gold coins intended for circulation from the 1500s into the 1930s were typically a standard 22k alloy called crown gold, for hardness.
  • Many holders of gold store it in the form of bullion bars and rounds as a hedge against inflation and other economic disruptions.


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