The American Gold Eagle is among the many leading gold bullion coins you will find investors snatching up around the world. This stable of modern gold bullion coins includes the South African Gold Krugerrand, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, the Chinese Gold Panda, and the British Gold Britannia, among a long list of other coins available. The official gold bullion coin of the United States of America, the American Gold Eagle is a beautiful specimen with a unique reverse design and options to satisfy any investor or collector.
However, the American Gold Eagle is not the only gold bullion coin you will find available for purchase from the United States Mint at JM Bullion. Other options include the annual American Gold Buffalo and the special 2016 American Centennial Gold coins. Scroll down to learn more about all of the American Gold Coin options you’ll find at JM Bullion.
The American Gold Eagle is the only bullion coin from the United States Mint still available with fractional-ounce options. The American Platinum Eagle was the only other option to offer this to investors and collectors, but the 2008 date mark was the last time the US Mint offered fractional-ounce coins in that series.
Introduced in 1986, the BU American Gold Eagles were available immediately with 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz gold options for investors. All four coins share the same design elements and metal content, with face values in proportion to the weight of gold in the coin. The face value of each coin is set at the following figures:
The coins in the BU American Gold Eagle release are available annually from the US Mint and struck to meet the demand of investors. Each coin is available in Brilliant Uncirculated condition with individual coins in each of the four weights offered in individual protective plastic flips. 1 oz gold coins are also available in tubes of 20 coins or Monster Boxes of 500 coins, with 25 tubes in the box. The 1/2 oz and 1/4 oz gold coins are offered in multiples of 40 per tube. The 1/10 oz coin comes in a tube of 50 for multiples.
As with other gold bullion coins minted to match demand, the BU American Gold Eagles can see wild fluctuations in demand from one year or decade to the next. In the first two years of availability, the series saw higher demand for each weight than it would see in any given year for the next decade. However, the highest period of demand for the BU American Gold Eagle actually came in the late 1990s as fears of Y2K and its fallout, combined with the Dotcom bubble bursting on Wall Street, pushed investors toward gold. The 1998 and 1999 releases of the BU American Gold Eagles set mintage records for the series, and in particular, for the 1 oz and 1/10 oz coins. The highest recorded mintages in the series, regardless of weight, include the following issues:
In the vast majority of years between these massive peaks in demand, the BU American Gold Eagle sees much lower demand. For instance, the 2019 series saw just 30,000 1/2 oz gold coins sold and 38,000 1/4 oz gold coins sold. Even the 1 oz coin and 1/10 oz coin managed just 108,000 coins and 195,000 coins, respectively.
Like the other versions of the American Eagle coins, the Proof American Gold Eagle is available as an official collectible version of the coin. While the BU American Gold Eagle debuted in 1986 with all four weights available, the release of the Proof American Gold Eagles was staggered by comparison to run out over three date marks. The 1986 release included only the 1 oz Proof American Gold Eagle. In 1987, the 1/2 oz Proof American Gold Eagle was introduced, and that was followed in 1988 by the 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz Proof American Gold Eagles.
Proof American Gold Eagles are produced in much lower numbers than the BU American Gold Eagles. Additionally, the coins feature mint marks that the BU versions of the coin do not have on either face. The obverse side of 1 oz Proof American Gold Eagle coins has always featured a “W” mint mark from the West Point Mint. From 1987/1988 until 1993, the fractional-ounce Proof American Gold Eagles were produced by the United States Mint at the Philadelphia Mint location with a “P” mint mark present. As of 1994, these coins have also been produced at the West Point Mint with a “W” mint mark.
All Proof American Gold Eagles are packaged individually with a capsule inside of a United States Mint display box and a Certificate of Authenticity. The color of these boxes has varied over time, with the US Mint having used both brown and blue presentation cases. Generally speaking, Proof American Gold Eagle mintages have fallen steadily and remained low throughout the history of the series with the exception of occasional spikes in demand, though those spikes are nothing like the spikes seen in the demand for the BU American Gold Eagles.
The following date marks and weights remain the individual records for mintages in the history of the Proof American Gold Eagles:
Each year, the United States Mint also issues a low-mintage Proof American Gold Eagle Set. This set features matching date marks on all four versions of the Proof American Gold Eagle in a single set with a Certificate of Authenticity and a four-coin display box. In 2009, responding to intense demand for gold blanks and with its coin presses stretched to the max, the US Mint suspended the proof coin program for one year. It returned to production in 2010.
On the 20th anniversary of the American Eagle Series, the United States Mint introduced a second collectible option for both the American Silver Eagle and American Gold Eagle coins. The Burnished American Gold Eagle was, initially, available in four weights just like the BU American Gold Eagle. From 2006 to 2008, the United States Mint issued the Burnished American Gold Eagle in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz gold options. There were also 4-Coin Burnished American Gold Eagle Sets available in each of these years. All coins in the Burnished Gold Eagle range have “W” mint marks from the West Point Mint on the obverse and ship, like the proofs, inside of capsules with a Certificate of Authenticity and a display box.
Demand for the Burnished American Gold Eagles has been even lower than that of the Proof American Gold Eagle. These coins are, by far, the lowest minted in the American Gold Eagle Series. The highest recorded mintage in the Burnished gold Eagle range is just 45,053 coins for the 2006 1 oz gold coin. The next highest mintage after that is just 22,501 for the 2007 1/10 oz gold coin, followed by 20,642 for the 2006 1/10 oz gold coin.
From 2009 to 2010, the United States Mint had to suspend its Burnished American Gold Eagle coins for the same reason it suspended its proof coins in 2009. In 2011, when the Burnished American Gold Eagle returned, it was offered only in 1 oz gold. That continues to this day and the mintages are much lower in this series. The highest mintage since the return in 2011 was in that return year when 8,729 1 oz gold coins were sold.
Each year, the various versions of the American Gold Eagle are offered with certifications from either the Professional Coin Grading Service or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. These coins are judged for the quality of the strike and the mint luster, as well as the condition of the surface area and design elements. Once graded, the coins are sealed inside of protective plastic slabs with labels identifying the grades assigned to each one. This applies to the BU, Proof, and Burnished American Gold Eagles. You’ll find the following grades applied to these Certified American Gold Eagles:
The American Gold Eagle coins were introduced by the United States Mint in 1986. The launch of the new modern gold bullion coins marked the first time in 53 years that the United States issued a gold coin and the first time in 152 years that the US Mint had issued such a pure gold coin.
American gold coin denominations in the original Eagle Gold coin series, with values of $2.50, $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00, were available from 1792 (1849 for the $20 coin) until 1933. When the United States ended its use of the gold standard in 1933, it marked the end of gold coining in the nation and the collection of circulating gold coins to melt down into gold bullion bars. Moreover, the introduction of the American Gold Eagles with 22-karat gold marked the first time such pure gold coins were produced in the US dating back to 1834.
In 1834, the US Mint lowered its gold purity in coins below 90% gold and then set at 90% gold from 1837 to 1933. The modern American Gold Eagles feature 91.67% gold in every coin with a combination of 5.33% copper and 3% silver for a durable gold coin.
The historical significance of the American Gold Eagles extends beyond its issuance and purity to the obverse side of the coins. The obverse face of each American Gold Eagle coin has the image of Lady Liberty from Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Originally designed in 1907, the image was used on the $20 Double Eagle Gold Coin from 1907 to 1933. It features Liberty walking in front-facing relief with a torch held out in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. Rays of sunshine frame her figure from behind, the US Capitol Building is visible at her feet, and a ring of 50 stars encircles the design element. For proof and burnished coins, the mint mark is on this side within the rays of sunshine.
On the reverse face of American Gold Eagles is the image of a family of American bald eagles. Designed by Miley Busiek, this image is exclusive to the American Gold Eagle Series and depicts a male eagle flying over the nest as a female eagle shelters in the nest with a young hatchling. Only one element of the design on these coins, aside from the mint marks, has ever changed. The coins issued from 1986 to 1991 had Roman numerals for the date marks, while all of the coins released from 1992 onward have Arabic numerals for the date marks.
Introduced in 2006, the American Gold Buffalo set its own marker in American history with its debut. The 1 oz American Gold Buffalo coin features 24-karat .9999 pure gold content and became the first-ever 24-karat gold coin in American history when it debuted. Like the American Eagle bullion coins, the American Gold Buffalo revives a historic design from early-20th century America. The Buffalo Nickel was designed in 1913 by James Earle Fraser and is the basis for the American Gold Buffalo design.
On the obverse of American Gold Buffalo coins is a right-profile bust of a stoic indigenous tribal figure. He looks to the right and has braided hair with feathers woven into his hair at the back of his head. Inscriptions on this face include “Liberty,” a date mark at the bottom, and a “W” mint mark from the West Point Mint for the Proof American Gold Buffalo Coin. The reverse side of American Gold Buffalo coins includes the left-profile image of an American bison. The buffalo featured here is inspired by Black Diamond, a bison that was a resident at the Central Park Zoo in New York City in the early 20th century. Inscriptions on this face read “United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust,” “$50,” and “1 oz .9999 Fine Gold.”
BU American Gold Buffalo coins arrive in either protective plastic flips or mint tubes of 20 coins. Each individual coin is in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. As with other bullion coins, the Gold Buffalo is struck to meet demand each year. The highest mintage in the series of the history remains the 2006 debut coin with 337,012 coins, while 2019 has the lowest mintage figure to date with just 61,500 coins sold.
Each year, the United States Mint offers the Proof American Gold Buffalo as a collectible option alongside the BU American Gold Buffalo. The Proof American Gold Buffalo coin has the same features of the BU version and is packaged individually inside of presentation cases from the US Mint with a capsule and a Certificate of Authenticity. Just like the BU American Gold Buffalo, the Proof Gold Buffalo coin’s highest mintage dates to the 2006 debut when 246,267 coins were sold. The lowest figure to date is the 2015 release with a total sales of just 16,591 coins.
The Proof American Gold Buffalo coins have two unique releases that other American Gold coins do not offer. In 2008, for just one year, the Proof American Gold Buffalo was also available with fractional-ounce coins in 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz gold weights. In 2013, the US Mint issued a Reverse Proof American Gold Buffalo coin with frosted background fields and mirrored designs. This was issued to mark the centennial of Fraser’s original Buffalo Nickel design.
Following the 2006 introduction of the 24-karat American Gold Buffalo coin, the United States Mint increased its production of other 24-karat gold coins. All of these Commemorative American Gold Coins are issued with limited mintage figures and are part of celebratory programs that mark historic moments in American history.
American Gold Eagles are available annually from the United States Mint and carried by JM Bullion. You can contact our customer service team with questions at 800-276-6508. We are also available online through our live chat and email address features.