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    American Gold Eagles

    American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins

    The official gold coin of the United States, the American Gold Eagle coins are available on an annual basis in three familiar versions and four different weights. These stunning coins serve as a reminder of the majesty, longevity, and strength of the American nation. Each Gold Eagle coin from the United States Mint features images of the nation’s most iconic symbols, from its official national emblem of the American bald eagle to that towering symbol of freedom and democracy known to most simply as Lady Liberty.

    When looking for gold for sale, the American Gold Eagle comes to mind for most numismatists and collectors. The coins are struck by the United States Mint, and the metal content and purity of each is guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Learn more about the American Gold Eagle below.

    The History of the American Gold Eagle

    American Gold Eagle Coins were authorized for production by the United States Congress with passage of the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. Under the terms of legislation, the program was to contain four different weights in total (1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz) and include two different versions initially (bullion and proof). Congress set the face value for the coins as is standard practice with any legal tender issued by the United States Mint.

    The first American Gold Eagle coins were produced and made available for purchase in 1986. The bullion gold coin program was immediately available with all four weights, while the proof version of the coin featured only a 1 oz coin in 1986. The proof program expanded to include the ½ oz weight in 1987, and the ¼ oz and 1/10 oz coins in 1988.

    For the 20th anniversary of the American Eagle coin series, which includes the Silver Eagle, in 2006, the United States Mint introduced a new burnished version of the coin. The Burnished American Gold Eagle was introduced specifically for coin collectors. Although the United States Mint already had the proof version of the Gold Eagle available for collectors, the burnished version of the coin had a unique minting process that gave it enhanced value for those numismatists interested in the display and exhibition of visually brilliant coins.

    Design Background of the Gold Eagle Series

    The United States Mint chose a historic American coinage design for the American Gold Eagle. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was hand-picked by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to help revitalize US gold coinage with a brilliant new design.

    Saint-Gaudens crowning achievement was the Lady Liberty design that features Liberty in full-length figure, her hair and robe flowing freely in the breeze as she strides forward confidently from the nation’s capital. In her right and left hand are a torch for light, and an olive branch signifying peace; all the things she’ll need to guide the nation toward a peaceful, if unknown, future.

    His original design was used on the $20 Gold Double Eagle coin. In circulation from 1907 to 1933, it is considered the finest design on the greatest coin in American history. Saint-Gaudens himself never lived to see his design come to fruition on an American coin though, passing away due to complications from illness just months before the coins were released in 1907.

    In Saint-Gaudens’ original design, Liberty was featured striding forward with the US Capitol Building at her feet, the rays of the setting sun at her back, and 46 stars surrounding her along the coin’s rim. In 1912, Congress authorized the addition of two stars to his design to recognize the addition of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union. In order for the image to be used on the American Gold Eagle, two stars were added to recognize the post-World War II addition of Hawaii and Alaska to the Union.

    The reverse side of the coin features a family of nesting bald eagles, and was designed by Miley Busiek. In the image, a male bald eagle returns to the nest with branches in its talons. In the nest, a female is depicted standing vigilant guard over the young hatchlings in the nest. Busiek’s design was created in 1986, and is used exclusively on the American Gold Eagle.

    New 2021 Design for the Gold Eagle Reverse

    To mark the 35th anniversary of the American Gold Eagle, the United States Mint offers a brand-new design on the reverse field of the coins for the first time in the history of the collection. Created by US Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Jennie Norris, the new design for the reverse features the following elements:

    • The American bald eagle is featured in left-profile relief with incredible detail in the feathers on its head. The bald eagle gazes toward the horizon with its piercing glare cutting right through the viewer. The individual features of its body are easily visible, even the distinction between the features of its head and those of its body. The inscriptions arranged on the new design element include “United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” and “In God We Trust” above the head of the bald eagle. The inscriptions below include “50 Dollars” and “1 oz Fine Gold.” The fractional-ounce coins will feature the requisite markings of each coin’s individual face value and weight.

    Jennie Norris is the designer of note whose artwork was chosen from a group of more than 34 designs to be the new face of the collection. Ms. Norris has a background as a professional graphic designer, illustrator, and award-winning artist. Her works have featured in the gift and stationery industry, as well as other retail products for the likes of Crayola, Sea World, Hasbro, Hershey, JoAnn Stores, Target, and Costco. In this particular design, Ms. Norris drew on her years of experience working as a volunteer raptor handler to capture the true beauty of the American bald eagle.

    Bullion Gold Eagle Coins

    The leading product in the American Gold Eagle lineup is the bullion coin. As mentioned earlier, the bullion coin has been the most stable product in the lineup. It has been offered by the United States Mint every year, in all four weights, since its introduction in 1986. The bullion coins have followed a fairly predictable up-and-down mintage flow over the course of more than 30 years of availability.

    When the bullion Gold Eagles were introduced in 1986, demand exceeded 1.3 million for the 1 oz coin alone, with the ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz coins hitting 599,000, 726,000, and 912,000 respectively. Demand for the coins cooled throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, before peaking again in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. The early to mid-2000s saw another significant decline in mintage figures, until the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, when the gold eagles soared to new heights. Ebbs and flows are traditionally determined by spot prices, demand for precious metals in other sectors, and the overall performance of global stock markets.

    Proof Gold Eagle Coins

    For those numismatists who love to collect gold coins, the Proof American Gold Eagles are an excellent cornerstone piece of any personal collection. The difference between bullion and proof coins is significant when it comes to the inherent value of the coin itself. All American Gold Eagle coins, regardless of style and finish, bear a face value reflective of the gold content by weight issued by the United States government.

    However, the Proof American Gold Eagle coin has a greater value than even its bullion counterpart. All versions of the coin have a value well beyond their face value, holding a value that is in line with the price of gold and based upon the purity and metal content of the coin.

    Burnished Gold Eagle Coins

    It wasn’t until the 20th anniversary of the American Gold Eagle coin series in 2006 that the United States Mint expanded the program to include a special burnished coin. Aimed directly at numismatists who collect and display or exhibit their beloved American Gold Eagles, the Burnished American Gold Eagle (also referred to as an uncirculated Gold Eagle) is struck using a special coining process that is similar to the one used in the production of proof coins.

    The United States Mint begins the coining process for burnished gold eagles by loading all of the blanks, known as planchets, into a spinning drum. In the past, this step in the process used wet sand as a friction agent that served as a polishing media to give the blanks a unique finish before even being struck. Today, the US Mint uses countless 6mm balls to create a smooth, matte-like finish on the surface of the blanks.

    Once each blank has been sent through the spinning drum, the individual blanks are taken out one at a time by mint employees wearing white gloves. The blanks are transferred by hand, wearing gloves, to the coining press in order to avoid contaminating the finish of the blanks with oil and dirt from human skin. Each blank is then hand loaded into the coining press for striking. All blanks are struck under greater pressure than bullion coins and regular circulation currency, creating a striking finish.

    Although the Burnished American Gold Eagle undergoes a similar coining process to proof coins, the appearance of these coins is often compared more closely to that of the bullion coin in the series. The polishing process the coins go through before striking, along with the higher pressure coining process, leaves each coin with a softly frosted appearance. The process also creates a more detailed appearance to the design features, such as Lady Liberty and the bald eagles on the reverse.

    Each design set’s frosted finish gives it the appearance of floating above the background field of the coin, which is deeply-mirrored. The major distinguishing characteristic for the casual observer is the presence of a mint mark on the Burnished American Gold Eagle. While the bullion coins do not feature a mint mark, all burnished gold eagles have a “W” mint mark to identify the West Point Mint as the production facility.

    Certified Bullion Gold Eagle Information

    Certified Gold Coins offer the best option for those seeking coins with visual brilliance and a lack of significant flaws. Most modern bullion coins sent for certification with the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and given a grade between 1 and 70 on the Sheldon Numeric Scale. Certified Gold Eagles and Certified Proof Gold Eagles are a favorite among investors and collectors.

    Purchasing American Gold Eagles from JM Bullion

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. JM Bullion customer service is available at 800-276-6508, online using our web chat, and via our email address. Our Payment Methods page is a great resource to help provide quick answers to common payment questions.