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THE AMERICAN EAGLE BULLION COIN

Pile of American Gold Eagles

HISTORY

The first Gold coin to be struck in the United States of America was the American Gold Eagle. It was minted in 1795, three years after the United States was founded. The coin was legal tender and was used for everyday purchases up until the early 20th Century. The modern Gold Eagle Bullion coin was minted in 1986, following legislation - The Gold Bullion Act 1985 - which states specifically that only newly mined Gold from mines in the United States can be used in the minting of these coins. The modern Gold Bullion Eagle coin is based on the original values of the early coins, as designated by The Coinage Act of 1792.

Visually, the modern American Gold Eagle Bullion coin is extremely attractive. The obverse of the coin depicts Lady Liberty standing upright and holding a torch and an olive branch. The word 'LIBERTY' is at the top of the coin, above Liberty's head. It is the reproduction of an earlier design by a famous American Renaissance artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. He was born in Dublin in 1848 of a French father and an Irish mother and died in New Hampshire in the United States in 1907. He was chosen to redesign the obverse of a Gold 'Eagle' coin by President Theodore Roosevelt at the start of the 20th Century. In 1907 only about 20 of these coins were actually minted, but were not thought to be suitable for commercial use. This was due to the fact that they would not stack properly because of the ultra-high relief quality of the coin. Although the coin was adapted to a high relief version, it was still deemed to be unsuitable to be used commercially. Approximately 12,317 of these coins were minted and are still highly sought after in the United States.

The reverse of the modern Bullion coin depicts a family of eagles with the male hovering over a nest of mother and chicks and carrying an olive branch, which symbolizes family unity and tradition. It was designed by Miley Busiek, an American sculptress, who was born in 1941 and still lives and works in the United States. She says that her idea for the design was born after watching President Ronald Reagan's acceptance speech in 1980 at the Republican National Convention. Apparently, his speech was about 'New Beginnings' and caring for each other as a nation. She stated that she was very amenable to the concept of America being a caring family, so sketched a family of eagles, America's national symbol. To the left of the family of eagles are the words 'E PLURIBUS UNUM'. To the right are the words 'IN GOD WE TRUST'. Towards the bottom of the coin and to the right of Lady Liberty is the year that the coin was minted. (Incidentally, between 1986 and 1991, Roman numerals were used, but nowadays the normal Arabic date format is used). At the bottom of the coin are the words '1oz FINE GOLD - 50 DOLLARS'.

SILVER EAGLE COINS

Since 1986, the United States Mint has been producing Silver American Eagle coins. The coins are only minted in one ounce size; smaller values are not produced at the present time. The obverse of the coin features the 'Walking Liberty', designed by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman in 1916. The reverse of the coin was designed by John Mercanti in 1986. It features an Heraldic Eagle behind a shield. In its right talon, the eagle is holding an olive branch, while its left talon holds arrows. To represent the 13 Colonies, above the eagle's head there are 13 five-pointed stars.

The Silver Eagle is an official American Bullion coin and has a face value of $1. It weighs 31.10 grams, has a diameter of 40.6 mm, and is minted from Silver which is .999 pure. The pure Silver content is 31.10348 grams or one Troy Ounce.

FOR INVESTORS

In the United States the American Gold Bullion coin appears to be the most popular for investors. The coins are a cost-effective method of adding a small amount of Gold to investment portfolios. Indeed, since 1986, when the coin was first minted, they have become one of the leading Gold Bullion coins for investment worldwide. One of the reasons for it being so popular amongst American investors is that the United States Government guarantees the weight, purity and Gold content of the coin. The coins can therefore be purchased with confidence by investors.

FOR COLLECTORS

The American Gold Eagle Bullion coin has proven to be very popular amongst collectors all over the World, not just in the United States. As previously mentioned in this article, it is a very attractive coin, is legal tender and easily portable. For United Kingdom collectors, an added attraction is that since 2000, the coins are free from Value Added Tax.

1 ounce coins are by far the most popular, both for collectors and investors alike. However, some people who began their collections in 1986 may have a desire to complete their collections by purchasing lower denominations of the Gold coins. Some of the low mintage ½ ounce and ¼ ounce Gold Eagle coins are quite scarce and therefore highly desirable for their rarity.

SIZES OF GOLD COINS

The American Gold Eagle Bullion coin is available in four sizes - 1 ounce, ½ ounce, ¼ ounce and 1/10 ounce. The 1 ounce coin has a face value of $50, the ½ ounce coin $25, the ¼ ounce coin $10 and the 1/10 coin $5.

  • 1oz - weight 33.9310 grams, diameter 32.7 mm, (fine Gold content 31.104 grams)
  • ½ oz - weight 16.9660 grams, diameter 27.0 mm, (fine Gold content 15.552 grams)
  • ¼ oz - weight 8.4830 grams, diameter 22.0 mm, (fine Gold content 7.776 grams)
  • 1/10 oz - weight 3.3930 grams, diameter 16.5 mm, (fine Gold content 3.110 grams)

Of the 8.33% of the alloy which is not Gold, 5.33% Is Copper and 3% is Silver. The reason for adding additional metals is that Gold is a very soft metal and the additions make it much more durable.

  • Weight - 16.718 grams, diameter 26.92 mm (fine Gold content 0.48375 per Troy oz)
  • Weight - 33.43 grams, diameter 34 mm (fine Gold content 0.9675 per Troy oz)

  • We have a range of American Gold Bullion Eagle coins and American Silver Bullion Eagle coins available for immediate delivery or professional, secure, vaulted storage.