Thin films of Au were made by sputter deposition onto glass substrates with and without transparent and electrically conducting layers of SnO2:In. The Au films were up to ~11 nm in thickness and covered the range for thin film growth from discrete islands, via large scale coalescence and formation of a meandering conducting network, to the formation of a more or less “holey” film. Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy showed that the SnO2:In films were considerably rougher than the glass itself. This roughness influenced the Au film formation so that large scale coalescence set in at a somewhat larger thickness for films on SnO2:In than on glass. Measurements of spectral optical transmittance and electrical resistance could be reconciled with impeded Au film formation on the SnO2:In layer, leading to pronounced “plateaus” in the near infrared optical properties for Au films on SnO2:In and an accompanying change from such two-layer films having a lower resistance than the single gold film at thicknesses below large scale coalescence to the opposite behavior for larger film thicknesses.