Are Coins Allowed in an IRA?

When it comes to IRAs, the IRS is very particular and stringent in their requirements. As a general rule, only precious metals that meet specific purity standards may be included in an IRA account.

For coins to qualify as investments within an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), they must meet both legal tender status and possess a minimum fineness level of 99.5%. Examples of coins eligible for investment into an IRA account are American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaves, South African Krugerrands and British Sovereigns.

Precious Metals

Precious metals make an excellent investment choice for any retirement portfolio. Their liquidity makes trading swift and lucrative on the market, while providing protection from dollar devaluation, political or financial crises and inflation.

If you’re interested in adding precious metals to your IRA, there are some considerations you’ll need to keep in mind. First, locate a custodian who accepts precious metals; some precious metals IRA providers only work with specific depository companies, so make sure the list of approved depositories before selecting one.

Decide which metals to purchase as retirement plan assets. The IRS only accepts certain coins and bars as retirement plan assets, meeting a minimum fineness requirement while being produced from an approved refiner/assayer. Common examples of approved silver options for an IRA include Canadian Maple Leaf coins and Johnson Matthey bars.


General rule prohibits collectibles from being included in IRAs; however, an exception allows an IRA to invest in gold and silver coins minted by the Treasury Department that are one ounce or greater in weight; along with certain precious metal bullion that meets purity standards.

Collectibles include works of art, antiques, rugs, gemstones, metals, stamps and coins as well as alcohol beverages. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), virtual assets like virtual currencies also qualify as collectibles despite not physically existing in physical form.

If you invest in collectibles with your Self-Directed IRA, they will be considered distributions and taxed as ordinary income, possibly incurring an early distribution penalty of 10%. To prevent these tax liabilities from accruing directly into your IRA account, an alternative solution would be investing through companies that own collectibles rather than directly buying collectibles yourself; this approach will reduce any prohibited transactions or penalties as well as risk commingling of non-IRA assets with your IRA assets.


While precious metals offer a great way to diversify your retirement portfolio, the IRS regulations regarding eligible coins and bars for an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) have certain restrictions. For instance, gold products must come from national government mints that meet minimum fineness standards set forth by the IRS; additionally, collectible gold coins must feature distinctive designs sought-after by collectors as well as investors alike.

Bullion coins must meet the same fineness standard of American Eagle coins to qualify as eligible investments in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Furthermore, these bullion coins must come from either a national government mint or be produced at a refiner with accreditation from COMEX/NYMEX, LME, LBMA, or ISO 9000; collectible coins such as Austrian Philharmonics and South African Krugerrands do not meet this eligibility criterion despite meeting American Eagle purity requirements.


IRS rules mandate that precious metal IRA investments remain physically in the possession of their custodian. To fulfill this mandate, an approved self-directed IRA custodian must be chosen; many IRA custodians won’t allow coins and bars as the IRS considers them collectibles rather than bullion; those accepting these assets typically charge annual account maintenance, bookkeeping or wiring fees and may charge one-time or monthly wiring fees as well.

Tax Court determined that a taxpayer who invested her IRA funds in American Eagle (AE) coins that were shipped directly to her home incurred penalties under Sec 4975 because she did not possess the coins physically – an argument made by the IRS as their text states physical possession is only necessary for bullion ownership, not for AE coins.

The Tax Court agreed with the IRS, finding McNulty’s receipt of the AE coins in her safe breached commingling rules prohibiting mixing IRA assets with personal property.

Raymond Banks Administrator
Raymond Banks is a published author in the commodity world. He has written extensively about gold and silver investments, and his work has been featured in some of the most respected financial journals in the industry. Raymond\\\'s expertise in the commodities market is highly sought-after, and he regularly delivers presentations on behalf of various investment firms. He is also a regular guest on financial news programmes, where he offers his expert insights into the latest commodity trends.

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