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American Gold Eagle Coins
The American Gold Eagle is the official gold bullion coin of the United States government. It was authorized into law by the Bullion Coin Act of 1985. The U.S. Mint issued the first Gold Eagle in 1986.
Since then, it has become the world's leading gold bullion coin in terms of sales.
Each Gold Eagle is struck from 91.67% pure (.917 fine) gold, also known as 22-karat gold. The rest of the alloy is made up of silver (3%) and copper (5.33%). This gives the coins a rich golden hue that is darker than most .999 fine gold coins. It also renders them firmer and more durable.
Gold Eagle Sizes
These gold coins come in four different sizes. These sizes represent the amount of fine gold in the coin by weight. The gross weight, which includes the silver and copper, will be higher.
Each Gold Eagle size has a legal tender face value. They are listed below.
- $5 Tenth-Ounce (1/10 oz) Gold Eagle
- $10 Quarter-Ounce (1/4 oz) Gold Eagle
- $25 Half-Ounce (1/2 oz) Gold Eagle
- $50 One Ounce (1 oz) Gold Eagle
Each size uses the same design. The 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz size coins are attractive choices for budget-conscious investors. The 1 oz gold coin remains the most popular.
Although American Gold Eagles are legal tender, their value is based on the market price of gold, similar to a gold bar. For instance, the $50 face value of the 1 oz Gold Eagle is far below the melt value of one ounce of gold.
The legal tender face values are symbolic that the fine metal content of the coins are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
Proof Gold Eagles
In addition to the Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) version, the U.S. Mint also issues American Eagle gold proof coins. These coins are struck at the West Point Mint rather than Philadelphia or San Francisco. They will carry a "W" mint mark on the obverse of the coin.
A gold proof features the same design as its bullion counterpart. The difference is the finish on the coin. Proofs feature frosted relief devices that stand out against the mirrored fields. This beautiful contrast makes proof coins a favorite among collectors.
All proof coins undergo a more intricate coining process. The surface is polished to create mirror-like characteristics. Striking occurs multiple times in the coining press for extra sharp details.
Proof Gold Eagles also hold special appeal for the collector thanks to their lower mintage totals. In many cases, proofs will be graded or certified by one of the leading third-party grading services: Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
Each graded coin comes in a protective holder made of hard plastic. Certified Gold Eagles make a great addition to any collection!
Gold Eagle Design
The obverse design of the Gold Eagle coin was adapted from the legendary Saint-Gaudens double eagle. This was a $20 U.S. gold coin that circulated during the early 20th century.
The design shows Lady Liberty marching forward to the top of a hill that overlooks the U.S. Capitol building. Liberty holds a torch high in her right arm and an olive branch in her left hand. Rays of light emit from over the horizon while the year-date appears to the right. Fifty stars fill the outer rim.
Early versions of the American Eagle coin used Roman numerals for the date. That has now been adjusted to the more common Arabic numerals. The edge is reeded.
The reverse design is of more contemporary vintage. Created by artist Miley Busiek, the scene shows a bald eagle returning to his nest with an olive branch between his talons. His young eaglets reside in the nest, protected by their mother's wing. Rim inscriptions include "1 OZ. FINE GOLD~50 DOLLARS." The mottoes "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "IN GOD WE TRUST" are found near the middle of the image.
The design communicates the importance of family values in American culture. It is an interesting departure from most other U.S. coin designs that feature just one eagle. Previous Coin Act legislation requires at least one eagle to appear on all U.S. coinage with gold or silver metal content.
These Brilliant Uncirculated coins will retain their original mint luster virtually forever, as long as they stored properly.
American Eagle Bullion Coinage Program
The U.S. Congress has also authorized the production of other precious metal coins made from silver, platinum, and palladium. In addition to the Gold Eagle series, investment demand remains strong for its silver counterpart, the American Silver Eagle.
Now, the other precious metals are represented by the American Platinum Eagle and Palladium Eagle, as well. They are produced in far lower numbers due to the scarcity of these metals.
With much higher mintage levels since the Great Recession, the Silver Eagle is a popular investing option. This is especially true for inclusion in a self-directed IRA (individual retirement account). These coins trade all over the world and are often sold in rolls of 20 coins.
To take advantage of this portfolio opportunity with your IRA, however, the coins must be stored at an authorized depository (i.e., vault). This eliminates the risks associated with home storage.
These same IRA restrictions apply to silver bars, platinum bars, and palladium bars in addition to world mint coins.
Buy American Gold Eagles
You can buy Gold Eagle coins online or in our luxury showroom. They are available as single coins or in quantity for bulk orders, as well.
Gainesville Coins offers fully insured delivery to over 40 countries around the world. You can choose to have your metals shipped via UPS or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Your package will be discreetly labeled so that it's not evident to would-be thieves that precious metals are inside.