Proof American Eagle Coins are among the most esteemed coins produced by the U.S. Mint. With their frosted, sculpted foreground and glamorous shine, these ever-popular gold and silver coins naturally stand out. But Proof American Eagle Coins are more than just magnificent to look at—they can act as powerful means of wealth preservation, too. Find out what makes this family of coins truly unique and take advantage of firsthand insight into their background and production from Philip N. Diehl, President of U.S. Money Reserve and former Director of the U.S. Mint.
A cut above: The minting of Proof American Eagle Coins
From start to finish, Proof American Eagles are just that—American. “The American Eagle Gold Proof Coin is 100% American—minted in America by American workers from gold mined in America,” says Diehl, who served as the 35th Director of the U.S. Mint from 1994-2000. While there, Diehl came to appreciate how essential precious metals are to those who choose to protect their wealth with physical U.S. government-issued gold and silver.
The U.S. Mint has produced gold and silver proof versions of the American Eagle Coin since 1986, after the Gold Bullion Act of 1985. Among the United States six minting facilities, the West Point Mint is responsible for the production of the entire family of Proof American Eagle Coins. The West Point Mint also produces all uncirculated gold, silver, and platinum coins, American Buffalo gold bullion coins, and commemorative coins as authorized by Congress.
To achieve their beautiful “proof” finish, American Eagle Coins must undergo a special minting process.
“The U.S. Mint goes to extraordinary lengths to produce a stunningly beautiful coin, including multiple strikes and polishing of coin blanks to obtain the design detail and shining field characteristic of the coin,” says Diehl.
The process begins by manually feeding polished coin blanks (essentially pieces of gold or silver that look like blank coins) into presses fitted with special dies, reports The U.S. Mint.
Each coin is then struck, or stamped, multiple times. This part of the process is what gives Proof American Eagles their frosted, detailed images that seem to “float above a mirror-like field.”
After the coins leave the U.S. Mint, many of them are then carefully examined by an independent coin grading service and given a grade of 1 to 70, with 70 considered perfect, museum quality. The coins are then encapsulated and sonically sealed in an impact-resistant, tamper-proof plastic case. This part is especially important since a proof coin’s condition can be a major factor in determining its potential.
Details, details, details: The design of Proof American Eagle Coins
The minting process may be widely understood, but “there’s a history to the design of the Gold Proof Eagle that even most collectors do not know,” says Diehl.
The obverse (heads) of the Gold Proof Eagle is based on a classic Greek design by one of the nation’s greatest engravers, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. His design was originally used for the $20 “double eagle” gold coin, first issued in 1907.
“The design, selected by President Theodore Roosevelt, himself, features Lady Liberty striding toward the viewer. Many collectors consider the design to be the finest in the history of American coinage,” adds Diehl.
Now for the kicker. Ready? “Almost 80 years later the Saint-Gaudens’ design was chosen for the obverse of the American Eagle Gold Coin,” says Diehl. “But fashions had changed. When the design was sent to Treasury Secretary James A. Baker for final approval, he sent it back to the Mint with instructions for Lady Liberty to shed some pounds. Mint engravers altered Saint-Gaudens’ design by slimming Liberty’s arms and legs, a change that ignited controversy among numismatic artists and many collectors. But politics prevailed over art.”
Silver Proof American Eagles, on the other hand, feature an alternative portrayal of LadyLiberty by early twentieth-century sculptor Adolph A. Weinman. On the coin’s obverse (front), Lady Liberty strides across the coin, draped in the American flag. Her right hand extends outward and she holds branches of laurel and oak in her left. The reverse design, by sculptor/engraver John Mercanti, features an eagle with a shield. The eagle holds an olive branch in its right talon and a bundle of arrows in the left.
Strong portfolios start here: Buying Proof American Eagles
Just beginning to build your precious metals portfolio? Diehl’s best advice is to “start now while the Mint is producing low mintages and precious metal prices are down. If your means are limited for gold-buying, purchase the ‘fractional’ Proof Eagles: the half-ounce, quarter ounce, or tenth-ounce coins.”
As your portfolio grows, work towards owning all of the years and denominations of issue for a coin program, also known as a “date run,” and in the highest grade you can afford. The fewer coins in a grade, the more likely a coin could be highly sought after in the marketplace. The higher the grade, the more perfect—and, often times, pricier—the coin. And since proof coins are typically produced in lower numbers than their bullion counterparts, they can often achieve a greater level of rarity and appreciation.
“The annual mintage of Gold Proof Eagles,” in particular, “has varied greatly over the years,” from a high of almost 450,000 pieces to a low of about 35,00 pieces, shares Diehl. This isn’t just a fun fact. Scarcity matters! “The number of coins produced in a year (the coin’s ‘mintage’) is one of the factors that determine the long-term performance of a coin,” continues Diehl.
So how does the U.S. Mint determine a coin’s mintage? “The Mint sets annual mintages based on several factors, including its changing marketing strategies and revenue requirements, public demand, and on rare occasions, shortages of gold blanks available to the Mint. Annual mintages have declined dramatically in recent years—a favorable development for buyers since scarcity tends to support higher prices.”
The range of sizes of American Eagle Gold Proof Coins makes them “affordable for everyone,” notes Diehl, but that doesn’t mean that there are enough coins to go around. Supply is limited. Bolster the power of your portfolio with American Eagle Gold Proof Coins, some of the rarest and most sought-after gold coins ever produced. Call 1-844-307-1589 to secure yours today!
Secure yours: Where to buy Proof American Eagle Coins
Where can you buy Proof Gold and Silver American Eagle Coins? From U.S. Money Reserve, America’s Gold Authority® and the only gold company led by a former U.S. Mint Director. Call 1-844-307-1589 to enhance your precious metals portfolio with the power and potential of proof coins. Secure your purchase today before it’s too late!