Learn more about the value and history of this beautiful coin.
American Eagle gold bullion coins came into being via the authority of the Bullion Coin Act of 1985, and quickly became a favorite of gold bullion buyers. The coins are minted in 1/10 oz., 1/4 oz., 1/2 oz., and 1 oz. weights. Those weights specify the amount of gold in each coin, required by law and guaranteed by the U.S. government. The coins are 22-karat gold for durability. They are alloyed with silver and copper to strengthen the metal, so they actually weigh a little more than their stated weight. They are also slightly larger than 24-karat bullion coins. The Coin Act specified that the gold in these coins must come from U.S. sources and be bought within a year of being mined, at market prices.
After gold ownership again became legal in 1974, and following the peak gold price of $843 in 1980, gold ownership became very popular in the U.S. Most of the demand was initially met in the form of Krugerrands from South Africa, but that country’s racial policies caused Krugerrands to lose favor and eventually be banned in America. Canada stood ready to step into the gap with their Maple Leaf coins, but Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law the Bullion Coin Act that allowed American citizens to purchase and own American coins from American mints produced with American gold.
The weight, purity, and gold content of American Eagles are guaranteed by the United States government. This has made them some of the most trusted and desired gold bullion coins in the world, readily available in many countries.
The Coin Act brought America back to the 22-karat English standard of .9167 gold content that had prevailed prior to 1834. (From that time to 1985 America typically used a standard of .9000 fineness.)
The obverse (front) design of this coin was copied from the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin, minted from 1907-33. Lady Liberty in flowing robes steps up onto a rock outcropping, holding aloft the torch of freedom and the olive branch of peace. The Capitol building can be seen in the lower left background. From 1986-91, the date was in Roman numerals. Thereafter it was, and continues to be, in Arabic numerals.
American Bald Eagle
Until recently, the Miley Busiek design on the reverse side featured a bald eagle landing in its nest. Beginning in mid-2021, Renata Gordon’s profile of a bald eagle’s head replaced Busiek’s sculpture. Featured on both designs are “United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust,” and the year of mintage, weight, and content.
Coins minted from 1986 to1991 feature their date of mintage in Roman numerals. Beginning in 1992, the mint began using Arabic numerals.
From 1986 to 2021, the reverse side of the coin featured Miley Busiek’s design of an adult eagle landing in its nest. In mid-2021, the mint changed the design to Renata Gordon’s profile of an American eagle’s head.
American Eagles are guaranteed in weight, purity, and gold content by one of the most trusted nations in the world when it comes to financial matters. The coin’s content is produced according to a 350-year-old karat standard developed to preserve value despite constant use. America’s mints are superb, and meticulously design and produce American Eagle gold coins. In short, American Eagles are a superlative way to obtain and preserve value through bullion coins.
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