An easy way to see the price history of gold is also a good trading vehicle: the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) with the stock symbol "GLD". Just go to any stock-quoting web site like http://www.stockcharts.com/ and put in "GLD" as the symbol. It trades at 1/10 the price of an ounce of gold, and trades just like a stock or mutual fund, with a fairly low spread between the buy and sell price. Even though the GLD ETF has only been around a few months, most charting services extrapolate its prior price based upon the historical price of gold. You hold this in your brokerage account, just like a stock or bond.
Also, you can see the minute-by-minute price here:
Blumert's data comes from Kitco, also a good site for historical gold prices:
Technical comments and charts of the gold and silver markets, updated daily, can be found here:
If you want the stuff in your hands or "under your mattress", I would suggest American Eagles, Canadian Maples, Krugerrands, or any of the other nationally-minted "bullion" coins. They trade slightly (e.g., 3 to 6% for 1 oz sizes) above the spot price of the underlying gold, part of which you may be able to recover when selling, and come in "bite size" pieces from 1/10 oz to 1 oz. They are called "bullion" because they are not "collectible" (e.g., numismatic) items, which usually trade at much higher multiples of the gold-alone value, depending upon the scarcity, condition, age, demand, and etc. for specific coins. You buy either bullion or collectible coins through a coin dealer. Blumert (see link above) is as good a choice as any, as he helps support LewRockwell.com and has a small office in Burlingame where you can go pick the stuff up in person, if you so choose.