If you want to start a coin collection, and do not have enough funds to purchase real gold coins, you might want to consider gold plated coins. However, there are many long time gold coin collectors, which strongly advice against this approach.
There are a few mints that produce high quality gold plated coins, such as; the British Royal Mint, the Royal Australian Mint, and the Perth Mint. There are also quite a number of other private mints that also operate in this market.
One of the most important tips for a novice in this market is to only purchase your coins from well known and highly reputable dealers. All of the coins come in sealed containers, and they should never be removed from them, since it is very easy to damage the gold plating.
Another thing you want to make sure you check out before you buy one is the base metal. The best gold plated coins base metal is silver. An example of this would be the Perth Mint’s gold plated silver coin pendant which is 99.9% pure silver. It is covered by 24 carat gold. You also want to know how much silver is in the coin and what quality it is, so you can estimate its value.
If you do decide to purchase one of these coins, it should be in proof condition, and never have been in circulation. Even the smallest amount of handling these coins can damage them, so of course it should never be done.
While gold plated coins can and do increase in value, collecting them as an investment grade item, really should only be undertaken by the top specialist in this field. If you want to purchase one as a novelty piece, that should be fine, but you really should not think that someday it is going to be worth much more than it presently is.