The official gold bullion coin of the United States is the American Gold Eagle. While the American Gold Eagle does not match the popularity of its silver counterpart, it does offer a diversity of offerings that the silver program does not have, and is widely considered one of the most popular gold coin programs in the world today.
From time to time, JM Bullion receives Proof Certified American Gold Eagle coins for collectors to purchase. These coins have been received for certification by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation or Professional Coin Grading Service, and the evaluation process from these two grading companies is second to none in the world. In fact, the NGC and PCGS are considered the world leaders in this sector. Below you’ll learn more about the Proof Certified American Gold Eagles available from JM Bullion.
When the NGC and PCGS grade coins, proof or bullion, they use a numeric scale known as the Sheldon scale, which runs from 1 to 70, with the former identifying the lowest possible grade and condition, while the latter identifies a truly perfect and flawless coin. While the spectrum of possible grades is quite wide, the most commonly issued grades by the NGC and PCGS are 69 and 70, respectively.
As you browse the JM Bullion catalog of Proof Certified American Gold Eagle Coins, you’ll come across a variety of terms that may seem unfamiliar. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the commonly used terms so you better understand the value and condition of the Proof Certified American Gold Eagle coins you’re viewing in our online catalog:
The American Gold Eagle is part of the larger American Eagle bullion coin series from the United States Mint, which today includes a silver, gold, and platinum version of the coin. When the series was originally launched however, there was just the Silver and Gold Eagle available for purchase.
In 1985, the United States Congress passed the Gold Bullion Coin Act to authorize the design and production of an official gold bullion coin for the nation. In the United States, Congress alone has the power to authorize the coining of money and set the face value of any new coins introduced into circulation or released as commemorative products. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill in 1985, and production occurred for the first time in 1986.
Under the stipulations of the law, the face value of the coins was set at $50 (USD) for the 1 oz coin, with all fractional-weight coins bearing a face value indicative of its fractional value. For example, the ½ oz coins are worth a monetary value of $25 (USD), while the 1/10 oz coins have a face value of $5 (USD). The only fractional weight that does not bear a representative face value is the ¼ oz coin, which has a face value of $10 (USD).
A unique requirement was added to the text of the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, one which stipulates that all of the gold used in the production of American Gold Eagle Coins must come from “newly mined domestic sources.” In other words, all American Gold Eagles must be struck using only gold sourced from within the United States.
The American Gold Eagle Coin may have debuted in 1985, but its primary design on the obverse face was the brain child of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Saint-Gaudens was hand-picked by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to help revitalize US gold coinage with a brilliant new design. It took him two years to perfect the design that would eventually serve as the face of the $20 Gold Double Eagle coin. Not only is that original design considered the greatest in American history, the coin it originally graced is today considered the rarest and most valuable American gold coin.
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 Gold American 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 Gold American Eagle.
Over the course of 2021, the United States Mint introduced new reverse designs to its American Eagle silver and gold bullion coins. Each of the Silver Eagle and Gold Eagle coins received a redesign of the American bald eagle on the reverse fields. For the American Gold Eagle, a new design from Jennie Norris was chosen from a selection of some 34-plus designs submitted to the US Mint for consideration. Ms. Norris was previously a volunteer raptor handler and is a member of the US Mint Artistic Infusion Program. Her realistic depiction of the bald eagle was chosen as the new reverse design, first appearing on the Brilliant Uncirculated Gold Eagles before arriving on the Proof Gold Eagle and other versions. The design includes:
While the American Gold Eagle’s bullion coin was introduced in 1986 with all four available weights in production, the fractional-weight coins were phased in over the course of time for the Proof American Gold Eagle. When the program made its debut in 1986, only the 1 oz Proof American Gold Eagle coin was available for purchase.
One year later in 1987, the US Mint introduced the ½ oz Proof American Gold Eagle, and completed the program’s offerings in 1988 with the introduction of the ¼ oz and 1/10 oz Proof American Gold Eagle coins. Over the course of the coin’s history, the most popular coin in the series has changed with time. The 1 oz weight was originally the preferred option of most collectors.
Today however, it is often the ¼ oz and 1/10 oz coins that are the most popular. This is the result of several factors, including the rising price of gold and the compact nature of the two smallest coins in the series. They offer the best combination of lightweight gold and affordable pricing for collectors of any wealth level.
Proof American Gold Eagle coins are currently produced by the West Point Mint facility and bear the “W” mint mark of that location. However, not all Proof Certified American Gold Eagle coins are guaranteed to have that mint mark and origination point. All 1 oz Proofs have been struck over the years at the West Point Mint.
However, the Philadelphia Mint handled the original production of the ½ oz Proof American Gold Eagle from 1987 to 1993, as well as the ¼ oz and 1/10 oz Proof American Gold Eagles from 1988 to 1993. As such, these weights from those year ranges have the “P” mint mark from the Philadelphia Mint. Since 1994, all weights and versions of the American Gold Eagle have been struck at West Point.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to JM Bullion with any questions you might have about these Proof Gold Eagles. We are available to you on the phone at 800-276-6508, online through our live chat, and via our email address. Please feel free to visit our Payment Methods FAQ if you have any questions about payment methods and applicable minimum purchases.