U.S. Gold Coins Through History

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The Coinage Act of 1792 established the U.S. Mint and setting the decimal currency system called for gold coins to have the denomination "Eagle." Just as ten silver dimes equaled one dollar, ten silver dollars equaled one Gold Eagle. The Eagle was divided into Half Eagles and Quarter Eagles in the same way a dollar was divided into half dollars and quarter dollars.

The first Gold Eagles and Half Eagles were minted in 1795, and the $2.50 Quarter Eagle entered circulation a year later. They were joined by the $20 Double Eagle in 1850. Due to the influx of gold from the California Gold Rush, a $1 gold coin was minted from 1849 to 1889. U.S. gold coinage continued, with some gaps due to world gold prices, until all gold coinage was removed from circulation in 1933. In 1986, the United States began minting non-circulating gold bullion and proof coins, reviving the name "Eagle" and design of the beloved Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle.