Gold Eagle Coins: Buy American Gold Eagle Coins | Gainesville Coins

American Gold Eagles

By Gainesville Coins
Published April 20, 2015

The American Gold Eagle coin is the official gold bullion coin of the United States, fully backed and guaranteed by the U.S. government for the weight and purity of its gold content. Issued by the U.S. Mint, this patriotic coin began as a mere suggestion made by Congressman Ron Paul to President Ronald Reagan's Gold Commission in 1981. The idea was brought to fruition under the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, and the first modern American Gold Eagle was minted in 1986.

During their first year of issue, only one ounce sizes were minted with the special proof device. In the years to follow, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce proofs were released as well. All four sizes are stuck in .9167 pure gold. Although each coin is designated with a face value as legal tender, the American Gold Eagle is traded on the basis of its fine metal content.

History of Gold Eagle Coins

Like all U.S. legal tender coins, Gold Eagles must adhere to strict standards of quality, beginning with the extraction of the gold used to produce these iconic coins. Under the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, American Gold Eagles must be produced from gold mined exclusively within the borders of the United States. They must also meet precise weight and dimension requirements before receiving legal tender status. Due to their government guarantee, these coins are eligible for inclusion in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).

American Gold Eagles were the first modern bullion coin authorized by Congress. They have since become one of the most popular gold bullion coins worldwide. Today more than 16 million of these coins have been distributed, with more than 13 million minted in the one ounce size. These gold coins make up a remarkable 80% of the United States' physical gold bullion market. Precious metal investors buy American Gold Eagles not only for their intrinsic value, but also because they are durable, recognizable, and easily portable.

Gold Eagles Specifications

  1 oz 1/2 oz 1/4 oz 1/10 oz
Denomination: $50 $25 $10 $5
Actual Gold Weight: 1 ozt .5 ozt .25 ozt .10 ozt
Coin Diameter(mm): 32.7 27 22 16.5
Thickness(mm): 2.87 2.15 1.78 1.19
Fineness: 0.917 0.917 0.917 0.917
Edge Design: Reeded Reeded Reeded Reeded
Mint/Brand: U.S. Mint U.S. Mint U.S. Mint U.S. Mint
Year: 1986 - Current 1986 - Current 1986 - Current 1986 - Current
Bullion: Yes Yes Yes Yes
IRA Approved: Yes Yes Yes Yes

Gold Eagle Coin Design

All of the sizes of the American Gold Eagle share the same obverse and reverse designs.

Gold Eagle Obverse Design

The Obverse / Front

The obverse features Augustus Saint-Gaudens' classic rendition of Lady Liberty. She is pictured carrying a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left, in the foreground of a rising sun over the Capitol building. Gold Eagles minted between 1986-1991 express the date in Roman numerals as the original Saint-Gaudens design did in 1907. After 1991, the U.S. Mint switched to the more familiar Arabic numeral dates.

Gold Eagle Reverse Design

The Reverse / Back

Designed by Miley Busiek, the reverse depicts a family of American bald eagles. The male carries an olive branch to his mate and their eaglets, who are resting in a nest. Inscriptions along the bottom rim denote the coin's weight, purity, and legal tender face value. This remains the only U.S. coin to portray multiple eagles in its design.

Variation of American Gold Eagle Coins

To satisfy the preferences of both collectors and investors, the U.S. Mint currently strikes American Gold Eagle coins in three different varieties: Brilliant Uncirculated / Bullion, Proof, and Burnished. There are also Certified Gold Eagles, and a variety of different sizes offered.

  • Brillian Uncirculated Gold Eagle Bullion Coins

    Brilliant Uncirculated / Bullion

    The most common variety is the Brilliant Uncirculated or bullion finish. This is the only finish that is not available for purchase directly from the U.S. Mint. These coins are only available through dealers such as Gainesville Coins, including current-year 2014 Brilliant Uncirculated Gold Eagles. This is also the only version of the coin that does not include a mintmark. Each is struck from 22-karat (91.67% pure) gold, alloyed with silver and copper to make the coin harder and more resistant to wear. These bullion finish coins may be sold individually or in Monster Boxes of 500 coins.

  • Proof Gold American Eagle Coins


    Proof Gold Eagles are minted expressly for coin collectors with a mirror-like finish. The blanks are finely polished and the coining press is equipped with special dies to produce the proof finish. Each blank is hand-fed into the coining press one-by-one, and triple struck to ensure the details are sharp. This process results in a frosted image with a mirror-like field. Just beneath the year-date, proofs include a “W” mintmark, indicating they are from the U.S. Mint branch facility at West Point. As they are collector's items in addition to precious metal bullion, many American Gold Eagle Proofs have also been professionally certified.

  • Burnished Gold Eagle Coins


    Mint Mark

    Burnished Gold Eagles are stuck from special burnished blanks that exhibit a satin-like finish. The burnished blanks are hand-fed into the coining press and struck multiple times in the same manner as Proofs. Current-year coins are available directly from the U.S. Mint, while backdate burnished American Gold Eagles are available through authorized dealers. Each coin is struck with a “W” mintmark, and features a frosted image of Lady Liberty in the foreground of a satin background.

  • Certified Gold Eagle Coins


    Coins that have been professionally graded by a third-party coin grading service are considered certified. The two most trusted grading services in the industry are Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Certified American Gold Eagles have not only been professionally graded for their condition, but also come safely encapsulated in a hard plastic display case with an identifying label. The label also indicates if the coin has received any special designations such as First Strike or Early Release.

Gold Eagle Sizes


Since its inception, the American Gold Eagle has also been minted in fractional sizes in order to make smaller, more affordable quantities of gold available to the public for investment purposes. In addition to the standard 1 ounce Gold Eagle, there are also 1/10 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/2 ounce denominations. This full lineup of sizes will once again be offered by the U.S. Mint in 2014.

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