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Coin Q and A - Gold American Eagle Coin

10 Commonly Asked Questions About Gold American Eagles

John-Rothans

Written by John Rothans

May 12, 2018

Are Gold American Eagle Coins pure gold? How much are Gold Eagles? Why buy them? If you have questions about one of the U.S. Mint's most popular gold bullion coins, U.S. Money Reserve has answers. Check out our easy to follow American Eagle Q&A to learn more about a gold coin that symbolizes American tradition, unity, and freedom.

Gold American Eagle Coin Q&A

1. What is the Gold American Eagle Coin?

The Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. It was first minted in 1986, after President Ronald Reagan signed the Gold Bullion Act of 1985. The Gold American Eagle paved the way for the U.S. to begin competing with the likes of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and South African Krugerrand—two gold coins that had dominated the global coin market at the time.

2. Are Gold Eagles 100% gold?

Gold Eagles contain their stated amount of pure gold, plus small amounts of alloy (.03 silver; .0533 copper). This creates harder coins that resist undesirable scratching and marring. So, a 1 oz. American Eagle contains 1 troy ounce of gold at 22-karats (.9167).

Some people get confused when they read about a coin's fineness. Fineness, or purity, is the actual gold content in a coin, expressed parts per thousand. A Gold Eagle uses the durable 22-karat (.9167) standard established for gold circulating coinage over 350 years ago.

“Pure” gold, by comparison, has a fineness of 1.000. A coin of 1.000 fineness, however, would be easy to mold with your hands and so soft that it would be almost impractical to use.

Gold American Eagle Bullion coins are available in 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz. weights. These coins contain 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz. of gold, but technically weigh slightly more than their stated amount of gold.

3. How many different Gold American Eagle Coins are available?

The U.S. Mint produces bullion and proof Gold American Eagle Coins in 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz. sizes, as well as a burnished version. Sizes, prices, denominations, and diameters vary from coin to coin. Bullion American Eagles compare as follows:

Gold American Eagle Bullion Coin Details

Size Denomination Fineness Diameter Price
1/10 oz. $5 .9167 (22k) 16.5 mm View Price
1/4 oz. $10 .9167 (22k) 22 mm View Price
1/2 oz. $25 .9167 (22k) 27 mm View Price
1 oz. $50 .9167 (22k) 32.7 mm View Price

4. Who designed the front and back of the Gold American Eagle?

The front of the Gold American Eagle is a rendition of the famous Double Eagle designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, an American sculptor and monument builder who lived from 1848-1907.

Contemporary American sculptor Miley Busiek, born in 1941 and now known as Miley Tucker-Frost, designed the back of the Gold Eagle in 1986.

5. How many Gold Eagles are minted each year?

American Eagle coin mintages have varied since the U.S. Mint began production in 1986. For instance, in 1986, the U.S. Mint produced 1,362,650 one-ounce Gold Eagle bullion coins, but only 140,016 in 2007. You can view production figures for Gold American Eagle Coins in any given year on USMint.gov.

Per the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, the American Eagle is to be issued in “quantities sufficient to meet public demand.” However, there have been times when the Mint has been unable to satisfy demand:

  • In 2009, the U.S. Mint announced they had run out of 1 oz. American Gold Eagles, as demand for gold increased amidst the Great Recession. (Business Insider)
  • In 2013, they ran out of the 1/10 oz. American Gold Eagle after demand surged following the biggest drop in futures in three decades. (Bloomberg)
  • In 2015, the U.S. Mint sold out of one of the fractional-size 2015 American Gold Eagles, with no more to be struck that year. (Coin News)

6. Where does the gold for Gold Eagles come from?

Every 22-karat Gold American Eagle Coin is made from solid gold mined here in America. This was another stipulation set forth by the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, which said:

“The Secretary shall acquire gold for the coins issued… by purchase of gold mined from natural deposits in the United States, or in a territory or possession of the United States, within one year after the month in which the ore from which it is derived was mined.” In the absence of such gold, “the Secretary may use gold from reserves held by the United States to mint the coins.”

7. Where are Gold Eagles minted?

The entire family of Gold Eagle bullion coins is minted at the West Point Mint in West Point, New York. The West Point branch is the newest mint facility, gaining status as an official branch of the U.S. Mint in 1988.

West Point is the United States’ official production facility for gold, silver, and platinum American Eagle coins. The facility is also used as storage for part of the United States’ gold bullion reserves.

Within the West Point Mint, Proof American Eagles undergo a special minting process in order to achieve their beautiful “proof” finish.

“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 Philip N. Diehl, President of U.S. Money Reserve, former Director of the U.S. Mint, and the one who initiated the Platinum American Eagle program in 1995.

8. What does it mean for Gold Eagles to be “guaranteed by the U.S. government”?

Above all, it means peace of mind. Gold American Eagles are guaranteed by the U.S. government for their gold content, weight, and purity. This is unique, since the same cannot be said for all gold products on the market. The U.S. government's guarantee means that you can be sure Gold American Eagles contain the stated amount of actual gold in troy ounces.

9. Where can you buy Gold American Eagle Coins?

You can buy 1 oz. Gold American Eagle Coins online or over the phone from U.S. Money Reserve, America's Gold Authority®. You cannot buy American Eagle Bullion Coins directly from the U.S. Mint.

10. Is now a good time to buy Gold American Eagles?

Yes! It's almost always a good time to buy physical gold, especially when you're looking at purchasing a gold coin that's as sought after and timeless as the American Gold Eagle.

Gold American Eagle Coins have long been a popular choice for discerning gold owners. If you still have questions about coin sizes, history, or anything else, please call 1-844-307-1589 to speak with a knowledgeable Account Executive. Or if you're ready to buy Gold American Eagles, feel free to order online or over the phone. U.S. Money Reserve is here to help enhance your portfolio today!

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