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Gold American Eagle


The Gold American Eagle - A Brief History

American Eagle gold bullion coins began production at the Philadelphia and West Point mints in 1986. At this point in time: private ownership of gold by U. S. citizens had been legal again for 11 years; importation of Krugerrands into the U. S. had been banned two years earlier as a protest of South African apartheid; and the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf was the popular one ounce gold bullion coin in the United States.

Anticipating a good demand by U. S. citizens for an American-made gold bullion coin, first-year production of Gold American Eagles was sizeable. The Philadelphia mint produced 1,362,650 one-ounce Gold Eagles in 1986 and West Point mint produced 446,290 "proof" one-ounce Gold Eagles. In addition, the Philadelphia mint produced 599,566 half-ounce, 726,031 quarter-ounce and 912,609 tenth-ounce Gold Eagles in 1986. This was the highest mintage for these coins for the next several years.

The Gold Eagle - Facts and Details

American Gold Eagle - Obverse ViewAmerican Gold Eagle - Reverse View

Each Gold Eagle has the image of Lady Liberty on the obverse (front) - a modified rendition of the Augustus St-Gaudens design for the $20 Saint (1907-1933). The coin's reverse image is a Nest of Eagles designed by Miley Busiek. Mint marks are "W" for the West Point Mint and "P" for the Philadelphia Mint. No mint mark means it was minted in Philadelphia. A Roman Numeral date was used for Gold Eagles from 1986 thru 1991. In 1992, the date was changed to Arabic and continues to this day.


American Eagle gold bullion coins come in one-ounce ($50 face value), half-ounce ($25 face value), quarter-ounce ($10 face value) and tenth-ounce ($5 face value) sizes. These 22-karat gold coins are alloyed with copper (5.33%) and silver (3%) making them more durable than pure gold coins.

More details on the Gold American Eagle's gold content, purity/fineness, gross troy weight, net troy (gold) weight and grams...

Gold American Eagle Weights/Measures

One ounce    1.0000, 9167 purity,1.0917 Gross Wt.,1.0000 Net Wt. 31.1034 grams
Half-ounce      .5000, .9167 purity, .5454 Gross Wt., .5000 Net Wt., 15.5517 grams
Quarter-ounce .2500, .9167 purity, .2727 Gross Wt., .2500 Net Wt.,  7.7758 grams
Tenth-ounce    .1000, .9167 purity, .1090 Gross Wt., .1000 Net Wt., 3.1103 grams

American Eagles are backed by the U.S. Government for weight, content and purity which makes them widely accepted and very liquid (easy to convert back to cash). Recently, the demand for these coins has been good. In 2014, a total of 1,144,500 Gold Eagles were sold of which 415,500 were one-ounce Eagles, 46,000 were half-ounce Eagles, 118,000 quarter-ounce Eagles and 565,000 tenth-ounce Eagles.

Prices can vary widely and you will want to compare prices from more than one dealer to get the maximum amount of gold for your money. The current premium for a one-ounce Gold Eagle is running between 5% and 10% from reputable dealers.


Disclaimer: I have made every reasonable effort to produce an informative and helpful article on Gold American Eagles based on my research and experiences. However, I make no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to its completeness, accuracy or suitability for any specific situation or purpose. See Terms and Conditions for more info.

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