When you buy gold in the form of American Gold Eagle coins, you buy a piece of history. The coins proudly display America's icon of liberty, Lady Liberty, in a design that goes back to Augustus Saint-Gaudens original 1907 design of the Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles. The better durability of the coins (especially scratch resistance) is another feature that makes the American Gold Eagles very popular with precious metal investors worldwide.
The American Gold Eagle coin is minted out of 91.67% pure gold and alloyed with 3% silver and 5.33% copper. Bullion coins of this level of purity are also referred to as 22 karat gold coins. They are much more durable than the softer 24 karat gold coins. By law, the gold that is used to mint Gold American Eagles must have been mined in the United States. The American government guarantees the Gold Eagles' weight, metal content and purity. American consumers that are investing in gold for their retirements can include the coins in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's).
The US Mint produces the Gold American Eagle coins in four different denominations from 1 oz to 1/10 oz with both brilliant uncirculated and proof finishes. The coins have the status of legal tender in the US. The American Gold Eagle was also minted in limited numbers with a burnished finish in the same four denominations between 2006 and 2008. These burnished coins have a matte-like appearance (which limits light glare) and bear the "W" mint mark for the West Point Mint (proof coins bear the same mint mark). Burnished American Eagle gold coins are minted again since 2011 but only as 1 oz coins.
|Weight||Face Value||Purity||Diameter x Thickness|
|1 oz||US $ 50||91.67%||32.70 x 2.87 mm|
|1/2 oz||US $ 25||91.67%||27 x 2.24 mm|
|1/4 oz||US $ 10||91.67%||22 x 1.83 mm|
|1/10 oz||US $ 5||91.67%||16.50 x 1.19 mm|
The sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens created the design on the obverse side of the coin. This design featuring Lady Liberty goes back to the historic Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle, that was minted in the early 1900's. Lady Liberty's depiction with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left strongly resembles ancient Greek and Roman coins. Furthermore, the US Capitol building is depicted in the left background and the obverse side also shows the year the coin was minted.
The reverse side of the American Gold Eagle coins was designed by the sculptor Miley Busiek (now named Miley Tucker-Frost after marriage). Eagles are the official bird of the USA and her design features a male eagle with an olive branch in his talons above a nest with a female eagle and her hatchlings. The reverse side is also inscribed with the words "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust" as well as the weight and face value of the coin. The design of both sides of the gold version of the American Eagle coins is entirely different from that on the American Silver Eagle coins, American Platinum Eagles or American Palladium Eagles.
During the 1970's and 1980's, the gold coin market was dominated by the Gold Krugerrand coins (90% of the global gold coin market at that time) which weren't widely available in Western countries due to import restrictions that were a part of Apartheid sanctions.
The American president Ronald Reagan signed the Gold Bullion Coin Act in 1985 that authorized the minting of the American Gold Eagle coin exclusively from gold mined in the USA. The United States Mint started production of the coins in the four different denominations the following year and already sold more than 3.6 million coins.
The first years' issues of the Gold American Eagles were dated with Roman numerals. Since 1992, the coins have the year of mintage engraved in Arabic numbers on the obverse side.
In 2020, the US Mint released a limited mintage of 1945 privy-marked American Gold Eagle proof coins that were dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. These coins were the first-ever privy-marked American Gold Eagle coins. They were struck at the West Point branch of the US Mint and both the W mint mark as well as the "V75" privy mark appear on the obverse side of the coins.
In general, more 1 oz Gold American Eagle coins are minted than smaller denomination coins. Production of the 1 oz coins varied between 140,016 coins in 2007 (143,605 coins in 2001 was the second lowest mintage) and 1,505,026 coins in 1999.
However, actual mintage of 1/10 oz American Gold Eagles exceeded the mintage of the 1 oz coins in the years 1995 - 1996, 1999 - 2002, 2006 - 2007 and 2014 - 2016. In 1999, a staggering 2,750,338 American Eagle Gold coins of the 1/10 oz denomination were struck, by far the highest annual mintage of any of the four different denominations.
The US Mint started with the production of American Silver Eagle coins in 1986. The coins are minted out of 99.9% fine silver and are offered with brilliant uncirculated, proof (no proof coins in 2009) and burnished uncirculated (2006 - 2008 and since 2011) finishes. Whereas the gold version of the coins is minted in four different denominations, Silver Eagles exist only as 1 oz coins. Another unusual feature for bullion coins is that the silver coins bear a totally different design (on both sides!) than their gold counterparts. The obverse side of the coins uses Adolph A. Weinman's famous "Walking Liberty" design that depicts Lady Liberty in stride towards the rising sun.
The American Silver Eagle page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
The US Mint produces the American Platinum Eagles since 1997. The 1 oz coins with a US $ 100 face value are minted out of 99.95% fine platinum. Additional fractional coins were minted until 2008 in the sizes of 1/2 oz (US $ 50), 1/4 oz (US $ 25) and 1/10 oz (US $ 10). Buyers can choose between brilliant uncirculated, proof and burnished uncirculated (only from 2006 - 2008) coins with the latter two bearing the mint mark W for the West Point branch of the US Mint. Lady Liberty is portrayed in close-up on the obverse side of the American Platinum Eagle coins and an eagle in flight is shown on the reverse. However, the design of proof coins differs from this standard design in most years. Burnished uncirculated coins displayed the same design as the proof coins of the same year.
The American Platinum Eagle page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
The Palladium American Eagles are the US Mint's latest addition to the American Eagle bullion coin series. The first 15,000 brilliant uncirculated coins were issued on the 25th of September 2017. Proof coins were then released in 2018, followed by reverse proof coins in 2019 and burnished coins in 2020. All American Palladium Eagles are minted out of 99.95% fine palladium in the single size of 1 oz (US $ 25 face value). A young Lady Liberty wearing a winged Phrygian cap is depicted on the obverse side of the coins. The reverse shows an eagle perched upon a rock and holding an olive branch in its beak. The high-relief design of both sides was originally created by Adolph A. Weinman, one of the most famous American coin designers.
The American Palladium Eagle page gives more information about the coins.
total gold weight: 0.85 oz
total silver weight: 1.7734 oz
This unique set contains 5 proof coins that were issued by the Philadelphia branch of the US Mint: the American Gold Eagles in the 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/2 oz denomination, the 1 oz American Silver Eagle and the U.S. Mint Philadelphia Bicentennial Medal.
total gold weight: 1.85 oz
total silver weight: 1 oz
The 10th Anniversary Set is composed of 5 proof coins by the West Point branch of the US Mint: the American Gold Eagle in all its 4 sizes (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz) plus the rare 1995-W 1 oz American Silver Eagle (only 30,125 coins minted with W mint mark).
total gold weight: 1 oz
total silver weight: 1 oz
total platinum weight: 1 oz
The Impressions of Liberty Set contains the 3 proof American Eagles in gold, silver and platinum, all in the 1 oz denomination. The coins are mintmarked with the W for the West Point branch of the US Mint.
3 coin Gold Set:
1 oz burnished uncirculated & proof & reverse proof Gold Eagle
2 coin Gold & Silver Set:
1 oz Gold & Silver Eagle (either burnished or uncirculated coins)
3 coin Silver Set:
1 oz burnished uncirculated & proof & reverse proof Silver Eagle
total gold weight: 1 oz
The Double Prosperity Set is made up of the burnished 1/2 oz American Gold Eagle and the uncirculated 1/2 oz American Gold Buffalo coin. Both coins bear the W mint mark for the West Point branch of the US Mint. The set commemorates the auspicious date of August 8th 2008 (8-8-08).
total gold weight: 1.85 oz
As far as I could ascertain, the US Mint started issuing 4-coin BU sets that include all four denominations in 2018. A 2-coin proof set was issued in 1987 and 4-coin proof sets have been issued from 1988 to 2008 and from 2010 onward. Sets of the burnished version of the four American Gold Eagles were issued from 2006 to 2008.