American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: Which Is Best for You?

A variety of gold coins, including American Gold Eagles and Canadian Maple Leafs

June 10, 2024

America’s Gold Eagle and Canada’s Maple Leaf coins are two of the most popular gold investment vehicles of all time. Unsurprisingly, our customers frequently turn to us for advice on choosing between them. 

The good news is that you can’t go wrong with either one. That said, there are some key differences to consider. 

As a precious metals and numismatics dealer with over 50 years of in-house experience, we know that every investor has their own personal preferences and financial goals. Your satisfaction is our highest priority—that’s why we go above and beyond to educate our customers. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at the differences and similarities to keep in mind when choosing between American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins.

1. Origin and History

Investment-grade gold coins were only introduced to the public relatively recently when the South African Mint and Rand Refinery launched the Krugerrand in 1967. Following the coin’s tremendous success, other countries followed suit.

The Royal Canadian Mint was the first to join the modern gold rush, introducing the Maple Leaf in 1979. Six years later, the United States joined the party, passing the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985 and then releasing the Gold Eagle shortly after in 1986.

A primary motivation for the production of the American Gold Eagle was to give American citizens a way to invest in gold without buying Krugerrands, which were banned in 1985 due to South African apartheid.

2. Design

When comparing the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Both coins are visually stunning, featuring intricate designs that have become iconic over the years.

American Gold Eagle Design

The obverse of an American Gold Eagle coin

The American Gold Eagle is available with two unique designs (Type 1 and Type 2) on the reverse side. The obverse sides are essentially the same on both coins, with the newer Type 2 design having enhanced detail and security features.

On the obverse, the “Walking Liberty” design was created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907 and depicts Lady Liberty holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left.

Before continuing to compare the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Maple Leaf, here’s a quick comparison of the reverse sides of Type 1 and Type 2 American Gold Eagles.

Type 1

The Type 1 American Gold Eagle’s reverse was also designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It depicts an eagle bringing an olive branch to a nest with the eagle’s mate and chicks waiting.

Type 2

Launched in 2021, the Type 2 American Gold Eagle’s reverse was designed by Miley Busiek (now Miley Tucker-Frost). Known as the “Eagle Portrait,” the design depicts the side profile of an eagle.

Canadian Maple Leaf Design

The obverse of a Canadian Maple Leaf coin

The Canadian Maple Leaf’s obverse displays a side profile of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse has Canada’s official symbol, the maple leaf motif.

3. Gold Purity

When deciding between the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, purity is undoubtedly a major point to keep in mind. 

Canadian Maple Leaf Purity

Canadian Maple Leafs are famous for their exceptional purity—.9999 fine (99.99% pure or 24-karat). Some collectors prefer Maple Leafs for this fact alone, as the coin is a true, natural gold color, and there’s a certain prestige that comes with owning the purest gold possible.

American Gold Eagle Purity

The American Gold Eagle is made from 91.67% gold, with 5.33% copper and 3% silver accounting for the remaining composition. Many investors actually prefer 22-karat gold coins over 24-karat, because the added alloys make the coin more durable and resilient. 

Both Coins Contain Equal Amounts of Gold

When considering the purity of the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, it’s important to note that while the coins differ in purity, they both contain the exact same amount of gold based on their respective weights. 

In other words, American Gold Eagles are slightly heavier than Canadian Maple Leafs of the same size. Whether you buy a 1 oz American Gold Eagle or Canadian Maple Leaf, you’re buying 1 troy ounce of gold.

4. Weights and Face Values

 Canadian Maple Leaf coins on a white surface

Both coins are available in the same sizes, but the Canadian Maple Leaf does have one smaller size than the Eagle’s smallest. This distinction between the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian  Gold Maple Leaf may be important to those who prefer investing in smaller increments.

American Gold Eagle Sizes and Denominations

  • 1 oz ($50)
  • ½ oz ($25)
  • ¼ oz ($10)
  • 1/10 oz ($5)

Canadian Maple Leaf Sizes and Denominations

  • 1 oz ($50)
  • ½ oz ($25)
  • ¼ oz ($10)
  • 1/10 oz ($5)
  • 1/20 oz ($1)

Of course, the face values don’t represent the true value of the coin. They exist so that the coins can be classified as legal tender and imported and exported internationally without incurring taxes and tariffs. 

5. Collectibility

While certain pieces have earned the status of gold numismatics, in general, when comparing the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf as collectibles, both fall short. They exist as a means to an end, with the end being gold ownership.

Both coins are widely available. So unless you seek out a specific low-population American Gold Eagle or Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, you’re investing in the metal, not a collector’s item. 

That said, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility for a bullion coin to become scarce, and in turn, highly desired by collectors. Just keep your expectations realistic. If you want to own a rare, collectible coin, browse our numismatics.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

There you have it—two of the best possible gold coins for investment. If you’re still stuck choosing between the American Gold Eagle vs. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, contact us now. We’ll be happy to assist you in selecting gold coins or gold bars.

Keep reading our blog for more information about both bullion and numismatics. There’s so much to learn, and doing your due diligence is the key to successful investments. 

Whether you choose American or Canadian gold coins, you’re diversifying into a time-tested store of value. Endeavor Metals is a Tier 1, US Mint bullion dealer, so order with confidence. Secure your financial future today!

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