Coin Profile: Gold American Eagles

The Gold American Eagle is one of the most popular bullion coins not only in the United States but also in the world. It’s valued for its pure gold content as well as its award-winning design. Investors around the world have been purchasing Gold American Eagles for years, and will continue to do so for years to come.

These coins have a rich history and a profitable future, all of which should be studied by anyone who is looking to purchase one of these amazing, American-made coins! If you’re thinking about investing in these coins, or you already have, read on to discover the history, design, minting process, specifications, and value of these spectacular coins.

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History

The Gold American Eagle was first minted in 1792, but was discontinued due to President Roosevelt’s executive order in 1933 that prevented Americans from hoarding gold in an effort to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Great Depression. This law was in effect until 1974, when President Ford once again legalized the ownership of gold.

The tables were turned in favor of the Gold American Eagle in 1985 when President Reagan enacted the Gold Bullion Coin Act, which allowed the United States to mint gold bullion coins, with the caveat that these newly minted coins would be made exclusively of precious metals mined domestically—meaning mined within the United States.

This act skyrocketed the Gold American Eagle into fame, as it became the only gold bullion coin backed by congress and guaranteed to be completely manufactured with US gold. Unlike other gold bullion coins, these are backed by the United States, meaning that the amount of gold it contains is guaranteed by the government.

Design

The Gold American Eagle is well-known for its beautiful signature design by renowned coin designer Augustus Saint Gaudens as well as sculptor Miley Busiek.

The obverse of the coin was designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens. It features walking lady liberty, the personification of America. She walks proudly and boldly, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. The torch symbolizes power and light, while the olive branch symbolizes peace and tranquility.

In the background behind Lady Liberty, one can see the US capital building, as well as the rays of a setting sun. Just below her feet is some foliage and a rock, which she rests her left foot on. Fifty stars are evenly spaced around the edge of the coin to represent the fifty states in the US, and the word LIBERTY graces the top above lady liberty. The minting date and mint mark are also featured to the right of lady liberty.

The reverse, designed by sculptor Miley Busiek, features a family of bald eagles—a father, mother, and two babies—symbolizing the unity of the American family. The male bald eagle carries an olive branch in his talon, much like walking lady liberty does on the obverse, symbolizing peace. E Pluribus Unum—which is the motto of the United States and is Latin for “out of many, one”—is on the left side of the coin, while “In God We Trust” is on the right.

Also on the reverse is the coin’s face value, as well as how many pure ounces of gold are in the coin. These numbers will vary based on the Gold American Eagle coin purchased, whether in $5, $10, $25, or $50 denominations. Each denomination contains a different amount of pure gold:

  • $5 contains 1/10 oz gold
  • $10 contains ¼ oz gold
  • $25 contains ½ oz gold
  • $50 contains 1 oz gold

The edge of the coin is reeded.

Specifications

Each of the different denominations of the Gold American Eagle coin has a different diameter and thickness:

  • $50 Gold American Eagle
    • Diameter: 32.7 millimeters
    • Thickness: 2.87 millimeters
    • Weight: 1.09 troy oz
  • $25 Gold American Eagle
    • Diameter: 27 millimeters
    • Thickness: 2.24 millimeters
    • Weight: 0.55 troy oz
  • $10 Gold American Eagle
    • Diameter: 22 millimeters
    • Thickness: 1.83 millimeters
    • Weight: 0.27 troy oz
  • $5 Gold American Eagle
    • Diameter: 16.5 millimeters
    • Thickness: 1.19 millimeters
    • Weight: 0.11 troy oz

Gold American Eagle coins contain 22 karats of pure gold, which is about 91% gold. However, although they are not pure gold, they still have an incredibly strong trading value. The rest of the coin is made up of 3% silver and a little over 5% copper.

Minting

Gold American Eagle coins are minted at the West Point Mint in West Point, New York. The West Point Mint’s mark is located on the obverse of the coin beneath the minting year. The West Point Mint’s mark is denoted with a “W.”

Because these coins are primarily used for bullion investing, not as legal tender (although they could be used as such), they create proof coins, which gives them their signature shiny finish. The minting process for the Gold American Eagle proof coins is slightly different than your average coin.

The gold coin blanks are moved into presses, where they are struck with a unique die. The die contains the design of the coin. From there, the coins are stamped a couple of times, which is how these proof coins get the background’s signature luster and shine and the raised design’s frosted appearance.

Value

The value of Gold American Eagles depends on a variety of factors, namely the current spot price of gold. Although these coins do have denominations and are considered legal tender in the United States, their value is considerably higher based on the amount of pure gold contained within.

The value or worth of Gold American Eagles over time mimics the price of gold, since these coins are typically valued based on their gold content. However, the total number of coins that were minted for a particular year does affect the value of Gold American Eagles, as it does to all coins.

Photo Source: Monex

Investing

Because Gold American Eagles are backed by Congress and are specifically made for investing, they can be included in your precious metals IRA. Many people use these coins to diversify their existing investment portfolios. Because the Gold American Eagles have shown to be a wise investment over time, they would make a great addition to anyone’s portfolio.

Invest in Gold American Eagles today!