American Gold Eagle

History behind the Gold American Eagle

Coins have been minted in the United States for hundreds of years, and from 1795 to 1933 gold coins were struck and used as money on a daily basis. Gold coins were limited in their quantity; they came in several different series and designs, they vary from as low as $1 dollar all the way up to $20 (face value).  President Roosevelt held a confiscation in 1933 and recalled all gold coins from public circulation. Once these coins were collected the Treasury Department melted them. Fort Knox Kentucky holds a huge amount of 400-ounce gold bricks that were mostly accumulated from the United States 1933 gold confiscation. The coins that survived passed the immense melting stage in mid-1930 and many are now considered to be collector coins. Indian Head gold coins are an example of a surviving pre-1933 gold coin.

The Bullion Coin Act was passed by congress in 1985 because of the large response worldwide regarding South African and Canadian bullion coins. This act was put together in order to help aid the domestic mining industry. The Treasury Department was ordered by law to manufacture and administer non-circulating gold coins in several different sizes. The law requires that these coins only contain domestic gold from the United States. The American Gold Eagle coins were manufactured in huge numbers and rapidly became the investing world’s most popular and traded bullion coins.

Different Varieties of American Gold Eagles

American Gold Eagle coins come in a variety of ounces: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz pure gold.  To intensify their strength and deflect abrasions these coins consist of both silver and copper to create 22-karats which represents a purity level of 91.66%.

The obverse or front of the coin displays a “Striding Liberty,” which was crafted in 1906 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens for the United State Mint. This crafted design was displayed on circulating $20 Saint Gaudens gold coins from 1907 to 1933. Coins minted in 1986 to 1991 display the year of striking in roman numerals. Since 1992 the Treasury Department instructed the U.S. Mint to display the striking year in Arabic numerals.

On the reverse of the coin is a design crafted by Miley Busiek. The design displays an eagle flying towards the nest of his mate and hatch-lings while holding an olive branch in one of his talons. Also displayed on the backside of the coin is the percentage of the coins gold content along with its face value. Coinage laws are the reason for the face value displayed on the coin.