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U.S. here, specifically NY state.

Suppose I have an authentic gold coin ("bullion"). Vendor X is selling a product that she is willing to sell me for the general value (I say general here because the value of the coin is constantly fluctuating) of the coin, and thus I want to use my gold coin to purchase this product from her.

Is this legal to do? Do I have to first register my coin somewhere, or provide some kind of certificate of authenticity? Or is gold/silver bullion simply not allowed to be used as tender for common things?

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It is currently legal to barter goods or services in exchange for gold or silver bullion in the United States.

Gold and silver do not have to be registered or certificated, although a prudent person would usually seek evidence confirming their authenticity and it would be common practice to keep gold and silver in a repository such as a bank or Fort Knox, and to conduct the transaction via negotiable certificates evidencing ownership of the gold or silver (basically warehouse receipts whose transfer is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code) rather than to physically transfer the gold or silver, in a large dollar value transaction.

There are been periods of time in the United States where this was not allowed, unless done by a state government (which has a constitutional right to do so), or by a local government authorized by a state government to do so. But those laws are not currently in force and haven't been for a long time.

Transfers conducted with gold or silver bullion in excess of $10,000 per transferee per year, probably have to be reported to the same officials to whom a cash transaction in that amount is reportable on IRS Form 8300, because it is considered a collectible cash substitute, even though it is legal to do so and no tax is specific to barter transactions in gold or silver. IRS Publication 1544 explains the rule.

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    It might be worth clarifying that the vendor has (presumably) no obligation to accept the coin. If offered the coin for the product they are free to accept or reject the deal. – bdsl Sep 1 '20 at 7:34
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    It's important to distinguish legal tender, however. For trade, anyone can accept any form of payment they like, within reason, as long as the rules for barter trade are followed. Gold and silver, however, are not necessarily legal tender - this affects primarily owed debts. If you are owed a debt you can insist on payment in legal tender - gold and silver would not be legal tender unless they were US minted and federal-reserve issued coins, and in that case they would be negotiated at their face value, not the actual commodity value (ie: a silver 'dollar' would be worth just a dollar). – J... Sep 1 '20 at 14:37
  • Correct on both points. – ohwilleke Sep 1 '20 at 16:12

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