The American Gold Eagle is part of the U.S. Mint bullion coin program which produces coins minted from precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum specifically for investment purposes. After minting, the current year gold bullion coins are sold first to authorized purchasers. Through a network of distributors, the coins are then sold to the public at prices based on the market price of the metal plus a small premium. The American Eagle Coin Series is issued annually after being established by law with the passage of the Liberty Coin Act of 1985.
The Gold Eagle is fully guaranteed for gold content, weight and purity by the U.S. government, giving investors a high level of trust in the product. The US Mint is one of the most well-known and highly respected around the world, making this one of the most liquid physical assets that is considered a store of value.
The American Eagle Coin Series is one of two official gold bullion coins issued under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. The American Eagle Gold Coin is, along with the American Buffalo Gold coin, an official US Mint sovereign gold coin.
When comparing between the available options to buy the cheapest Gold Eagle coins, the weight of the bullion coin is added to help distinguish (e.g., "American Gold Eagle 1/2-ounce coin", or 1/2 oz AGE) and avoid confusion. This is particularly apparent when differentiating between the quarter ounce (1/4 oz) American Gold Eagle, which has a marked face value of $10 USD, same as that of the pre-1933 $10 Gold Eagle.
The nominal face values make Gold Eagle coins legal tender in the United States at their face values. However, these values are significantly less than the intrinsic value of the gold from which they are minted.
Although government minted bullion coins have little numismatic value, they are bought, sold and traded based on the intrinsic value of the underlying gold bullion. The cheapest gold eagle bullion coins those offered on the secondary market by online bullion dealers, with premiums offered being lower than current year coins because of the long and extensive mintage history of these coins.
Random Year Gold Eagles have been previously owned and then resold to a dealer or mint and are now available to buy at a lower price than new coins. These coins may show slight signs of wear or have minor scratches from handling. Despite this, the gold content remains the same. Secondary market offers a wide range of coins from random years, providing a broader inventory spanning many years.
The obverse design of the Gold Eagle was originally created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens for the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin, which was circulated from 1907 to 1933. It is often considered one of the most beautiful designs ever minted by the U.S. Mint.
The image features Lady Liberty in full stride, with flowing hair and a torch in her right hand, symbolizing enlightenment. In her left hand, she carries an olive branch, signifying peace. The Capitol building can be seen in the background, and the design includes 50 stars to represent the 50 states.
From 1986 to 1991 American Gold Eagle coins were minted with Roman numerals for dates. In 1992, the US Mint switch to using Arabic numbers for Gold Eagle dates.
In 2021, the US Mint updated the reverse design as a way to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the coin's First Issue. The design changes came part way through the mintage year due to logistical complications brought about by the pandemic lockdowns and supply chain issues.
The nomenclature used to describe the two different 2021 American Gold Eagle coins are noted with a Type 1 or Type 2 designation. The Type 1 designation is used to identify American Eagle Gold coins that were minted with the original reverse design. The Type 2 designation is used to identify American Eagle Gold coins that were minted with the new reverse design.
The Type-1 reverse features a male bald eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a female eagle and her hatchlings. It is meant to symbolize family tradition and unity and was designed by sculptor Miley Busiek.
The Type-2 reverse shows the head of a bald eagle with deep gazing eyes.
The fractional gold denominations of the American Gold Eagle coins are identical in design to the 1 troy oz coin with the exception of the marking on the reverse that indicate weight and face value.
The table below shows the last five years of mintage by denomination of Gold Eagles.
A complete mintage history of the American Eagle coin series, including proofs and other special coins belonging to the series, is available in our blog post about American Gold Eagle Coin Mintages
|Year||1 oz||1/2 oz||1/4 oz||1/10 oz|
Each of the currency denominations of the American Eagle Gold coin series are composed of 22 karat gold. This mixing of the gold into alloy with silver and copper, provides strength and rigidness to the coin that allows it to hold up to the durability needed for circulating currency.
The ratio of gold to other metals is measured as 91.67% gold. The remaining 8.33% is composed of 3% silver and 5.33% copper.
The copper in the alloy gives coins in the American Eagle Gold coin series additional strength and gives the coins an orange hue that causes them to stand out when compared to 24k gold coins.
Some characteristics are shared across all four denominations: