American Gold Eagle

Last updated
Gold Eagle
United States
Value5–50 U.S. dollars (face value); see specifications
EdgeReeded
Composition91.67% Au, 3% Ag, 5.33% Cu
Years of minting1986–present (bullion)
1986–2008, 2010–present (proof)
2006–2008, 2011–present (uncirculated)
Obverse
Liberty $50 Obverse.png
Design Liberty
Designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Design date1907
Design used1986–present
Reverse
Liberty $50 Reverse.png
Design Eagle soaring above a nest
DesignerMiley Busiek
Design date1986
Design used1986–2021
2021 $25 Half oz. Gold Eagle Type 2 Reverse.png
DesignSide profile of a Bald eagle
DesignerRenata Gordon
Design date2021
Design used2021–present

The American Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. Authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, it was first released by the United States Mint in 1986. Because the term "eagle" also is the official United States designation for pre-1933 ten dollars gold coins, the weight of the bullion coin is typically used when describing American Gold Eagles (e.g., "1/2-ounce American Gold Eagle") to avoid confusion. This is particularly true with the 1/4-oz American Gold Eagle, which has a marked face value of ten dollars.

Contents

Details

Offered in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz denominations, these coins are guaranteed by the U.S. government to contain the stated amount of actual gold weight in troy ounces. By law, the gold must come from sources in the United States, alloyed with silver and copper to produce a more wear-resistant coin. In addition, sales of these and other specie coins from the US Mint are mandated, at least in part, to pay off the national debt. [1]

The 22 kt gold alloy is an English standard traditionally referred to as "crown gold". Crown gold alloys had not been used in U.S. coins since 1834, with the gold content having dropped since 1837 to a standard of 0.900 fine for U.S. gold coins. For American Gold Eagles the gold fraction was increased again to .9167 or (22 karat). It is authorized by the United States Congress and is backed by the United States Mint for weight and content.

The obverse design features a rendition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' full-length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left, with the Capitol building in the left background. The design is taken from the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin which was commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt to create coins like the ancient Greek and Roman coins. Since 2021, the reverse design by designer Jennie Norris features a close-up side profile of an eagle.

From 1986 to 2021, the reverse design by sculptor Miley Busiek featured a male eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a female eagle and her eaglet.

Specifications

Gold Eagles minted 1986–1991 are dated with Roman numerals. In 1992, the U.S. Mint switched to Arabic numerals for dating Gold Eagles.

The 1/10, 1/4, and 1/2 troy oz coins are identical in design to the 1 troy oz coin except for the markings on the reverse side that indicate the weight and face value of the coin (for example, 1 OZ. fine gold~50 dollars). The print on the smaller coins is, therefore, finer and less legible than on larger denominations.

Each of the four sizes contains 91.67% gold (22 karat), 3% silver, and 5.33% copper.
Denomination1/10 troy oz1/4 troy oz1/2 troy oz1 troy oz
Diameter16.5 mm22mm27 mm32.70 mm
Thickness1.19 mm1.83 mm2.24 mm2.87 mm
Gross weight0.1091 troy oz (3.393 g)0.2727 troy oz (8.483 g)0.5454 troy oz (16.965 g)1.0909 troy oz (33.931 g)
Face value$5$10$25$50

The 22k gold alloyed makeup of Gold Eagle coins stands in contrast to the 24k Gold Buffalo Coin, which is minted entirely from .9999 fine gold, and therefore weighs less (1 troy oz or 31.1035 grams gross).

Value

The market value of the coins is generally about equal to the market value of their gold content, not their face value. Like all commodities, this value fluctuates with market forces. The face values are proportional to the weights except for the 1/4 oz coin.

While their actual selling price (purchasing power) varies based on the current spot price of gold, [2] these coins carry face values of $5, $10, $25, and $50. These are their legal values, reflecting their issue and monetized value as "Gold Dollars", as opposed to standard bullion. They are legal tender [3] for all debts public and private at their face values. These face values do not reflect their intrinsic value which is much greater and is mainly dictated by their weight and the current precious metal price. For example, on September 13, 2019 the U.S. Mint sold the 2016 one-ounce coin ($50 face value) at $1,510.00. [4] Since the coins can be "paid" only at a disadvantage to the payer, they are generally held as collectibles rather than money, and are subject to a high capital gains tax rate unless held in an individual retirement account. [5] [6]

In addition to standard bullion coins (sometimes referred to as "scruffies"), the United States Mint also produces proof and uncirculated versions for coin collectors. These coins carry the Mint's mark ("W") beneath the date, and are produced exclusively at the West Point Mint in West Point, New York (formerly the West Point Bullion Depository).

Mintage figures

The figures listed below are the final audited mintages from the U.S. Mint and include coins sold both individually and as part of multi-coin sets. [7]

Historical bullion volumes

Year$5 – 110 oz.$10 – 14 oz.$25 – 12 oz.$50 – 1 oz.
1986912,609726,031599,5661,362,650
1987580,266269,255131,2551,045,500
1988159,50049,00045,000465,500
1989264,79081,78944,829415,790
1990210,21041,00031,000373,210
1991165,20036,10024,100243,100
1992209,30059,54654,404275,000
1993210,70971,86473,324480,192
1994206,38072,65062,400221,663
1995223,02583,75253,474200,636
1996401,96460,31839,287189,148
1997528,515108,80579,605664,508
19981,344,520309,829169,0291,468,530
19992,750,338564,232263,0131,505,026
2000569,153128,96479,287433,319
2001269,14771,28048,047143,605
2002230,02762,02770,027222,029
2003245,02974,02979,029416,032
2004250,01672,01498,040417,019
2005300,04372,01580,023356,555
2006285,00660,00466,005237,510
2007190,01034,00447,002140,016
2008305,00070,00061,000710,000
2009270,000110,000110,0001,493,000
2010435,00086,00081,0001,125,000
2011350,00080,00070,000857,000
2012290,00090,00043,000675,000
2013555,000114,50057,000758,500
2014545,00090,00035,000425,000
2015980,000158,00075,000626,500
2016925,000152,00074,000817,500
2017395,00064,00037,000228,000
2018230,00062,00032,000191,000
2019195,00038,00030,000108,000
2020350,000106,00070,000747,500
2021490,000162,00095,0001,115,500

Historical proof volumes

During the series' initial year, the Mint only issued 1 troy oz proofs. It added 12 troy oz proofs in 1987 and since 1988 released proof variants of all four denominations. In 2009, due to increased worldwide demand for precious metals that precipitated sourcing problems and the Mint's legal obligations to produce bullion versions, proof and uncirculated versions of the Gold Eagle were not issued. [8]

Year$5 – 110 oz.$10 – 14 oz.$25 – 12 oz.$50 – 1 oz.
1986---446,290
1987--143,398147,498
1988143,88198,02876,52887,133
198984,64754,17044,79854,570
199099,34962,67451,63662,401
199170,33450,83953,12550,411
199264,87446,26940,97644,826
199358,64946,46443,81934,369
199462,84948,17244,58446,674
199562,66747,52645,38846,368
199657,04738,21935,05836,153
199734,97729,80526,34432,999
199839,39529,50325,37425,886
199948,42834,41730,42731,427
200049,97136,03632,02833,007
200137,53025,61323,24024,555
200240,86429,24226,64627,499
200340,02730,29228,27028,344
200435,13128,83927,33028,215
200549,26537,20734,31135,246
200647,27736,12734,32247,092
200758,55346,18944,02551,810
200828,11618,87722,60230,237
2009----
201054,28544,50744,52759,480
201142,69728,78226,78148,306
201220,74013,77512,80923,630
201321,74212,78912,71824,710
201422,72514,79014,69328,703
201526,76915,77515,82032,652

Historical uncirculated volumes

In 2009, the allocation of blanks towards the legally required production of bullion Gold Eagles affected uncirculated coin availability in addition to proof availability. However, this suspension continued into 2010 for the uncirculated version. When production resumed in 2011, without the fractional denominations which were discontinued in 2008, it was met with a weak collector response. [9]

Year$5 – 110 oz.$10 – 14 oz.$25 – 12 oz.$50 – 1 oz.
2006-W20,64315,18815,16445,053
2007-W22,50112,76611,45518,066
2008-W12,6578,88316,68211,908
2009-W----
2010-W----
2011-W---8,729
2012-W---5,829
2013-W---7,293
2014-W---7,902
2015-W---6,533
2016-W---6,888

See also

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References

  1. 31 U.S.C.A. § 5116(2)
  2. "Historical London Fix Prices 2019 | Kitco". www.kitco.com.
  3. "Coin and Medal Programs | U.S. Mint". www.usmint.gov.
  4. "American Eagle 2016 One Ounce Gold Proof Coin". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2016-12-09.
  5. 26 U.S.C.   § 1 : Tax imposed: 28-percent rate gain
  6. 26 U.S.C.   § 408 : Individual retirement accounts: Investment in collectibles treated as distributions
  7. "Gold Eagle Mintages | American Gold Eagles". goldeagleguide.com. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  8. "2009 American Gold Eagle". goldeagleguide.com. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  9. "2011 Uncirculated Gold Eagle". www.coinnews.net. Retrieved 2018-09-09.