The official gold bullion coin of the United States is the American Eagle Gold Coin. These coins are released annually in three versions and four varying weights. This well-known coin program was created by the US Mint and is still struck by the US Mint to this day. Learn more about this iconic coin series below:
American Eagle Gold Coins were authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. Under the terms of this act, the coin program has to contain a coin with four different weight options (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz) and initially include two different versions (BU and proof).
The first American Eagle Gold Coins were produced in 1986 with BU coins in the 4 aforementioned weights along with a 1 oz proof coin. BU coins in this series, in all four weights, have been made available every year. In 1987 a 1/2 oz proof coin was introduced to the series followed by a 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz proof strike in 1988.
Proof coins have been released annually with the exception of 2009 due to economic uncertainty and the US Mint prioritizing BU coins in the series. Burnished coins were introduced in 2006 available in all four weights. After a 2-year hiatus in 2009-2010, 1 oz Burnished coins made a comeback in 2011 and have been released every year since.
While the coin series debuted in 1986, the design can be traced back to the early 1900s. In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt hand-picked Augustus Saint-Gaudens to help revitalize US gold coinage with new designs.
Before his death in 1907, he had finished the designs for the $10 Eagle and the $20 Double Eagle (commonly known as the $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle). The design was used on the double eagle from 1907-1933 when gold coin production ended.
The Walking Liberty design has been used on the obverse of every coin in this series since its inception. The obverse features Liberty confidently walking toward the viewer holding a torch in one hand and an olive branch in the other. The Capitol building and rays of sun fill the background. The design is surrounded by stars.
The US Mint has used two reverse designs in the coin program’s history. From 1986-2021, Miley Busiek’s eagle design was used on the reverse design field. This design showcased a nest with a female eagle and her eaglet. An adult male eagle is seen returning to the nest with branches in its talons.
For the 35th anniversary of the coin program, the US Mint decided to create a new design for the reverse. US Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Jennie Norris and her design were chosen to be featured on the reverse of these coins. This new design featured a portrait of a bald eagle head in left-profile relief. Her initials along with the initials of the US Mint medallic artist are present on this field along with identifying marks of the coin.
Notably, the US Mint released two versions of American Eagle Gold Coins in 2021. Type 1 coins feature the reverse design by Miley Busiek while type 2 coins are the first to feature the new design by Jennie Norris.
This well-known coin series offers two other versions of the BU coin, proof, and burnished coins. While BU coins are stuck once, proof coins are struck twice. As such, the background of proof coins will have a mirror-like surface. These coins are sold at a higher premium as they offer more collectible value with their lower mintage marks.
The 1 oz proof coin in this series debuted alongside the four BU coins. By 1988 proof strikes in all four weights were released annually. They’re released every year except for 2009 due to economic uncertainty.
The US Mint expanded the coin program in 2006 with the introduction of burnished coins. These coins were intended for numismatists who collect American Eagle Gold Coins. Burnished (also known as uncirculated) coins are struck using a special coining process, similar to proof strikes. While they go through a similar process as proof strikes, burnished coins look more like BU coins than the proof versions.
Burnished coins in all four weights were released annually from 2006-2008. Due to economic uncertainty, there was a halt in burnished production from 2009-2010. These coins returned in 2011 with just a 1 oz weight and have been released every year since.
At Provident Metals, we also offer certified American Eagle Gold Coins. These represent coins that were graded by either the National Guaranty Corporation or the Professional Coin Grading Service.
Both coin grading providers use the Sheldon Scale of 1-70 to grade coins. This grading system was developed in 1948 by Dr. William Sheldon. Before this scale, coins were typically graded as good, fine, and uncirculated.
The most common certified American Eagle Gold Coins are graded as MS69 or MS70.
Each grade is prefaced with a strike type which includes the following options:
Additionally, the NGC and the PCGS use an array of other terms to help identify unique designations. These include the following:
All American Eagle Gold Coins are made by the US Mint. The US Mint was founded on April 2, 1792, in Philadelphia via the Coinage Act of 1792. Per the Act, the first mint building was to be located in Philadelphia, the capital of the United States at the time. This marked the first building of the Republic raised under the Constitution.
Today, the US Mint operates facilities in four locations, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver, and West Point. A non-coin-producing facility, also known as their headquarters, is in Washington D.C. while a bullion depository is also at Fort Knox.
Today, American Eagle Gold Coins are produced at the West Point Mint, as evidenced by the “W” mint mark on these coins.
You can always find American Eagle Gold Coins at Provident Metals. For any inquiries, please don’t hesitate to ask. Our customer service team is available at 1-800-313-3315. Alternatively, we can also be reached through email or our online chat feature.