The American Gold Eagle is the official gold bullion coin of the United States. Authorized by the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, the US Mint released the American Gold Eagle coin for the first time in 1986. During its first few years in the market, the bullion coin’s weight was more commonly used when pertaining to American Gold Eagles to avoid mistaking it for the pre-1933 $10 gold coin, which also used the term “eagle” as its official US designation.
Denominations of the American Gold Eagle range from 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, and 1 oz. As a guarantee, the US Mint ensures that the coins actually contain the amount of gold stated in each denomination and measures this in troy ounces. In compliance with the Gold Bullion Act, minting facilities in charge of American Gold Eagles are required to use gold that is responsibly sourced from gold mines or reserves in the United States only. Furthermore, as a rule, the law states that all American Gold Eagle coins shall be alloyed with silver and copper.
When used as a legal tender, the classic 1 oz American Gold Eagle coin is worth $50 at face value. Different variations of the coin are also available out in the market to serve either as legal tender or as a bullion coin. Each of these versions, of course, bears the following face values:
- ½ oz = $25
- ¼ oz = $10
- 1/10 oz = $10
By law, the American Gold Eagle coins are supposed to contain an additional silver alloy of 3% and 5.33% copper. This should result in an official gold bullion coin that is wear-resistant and bears a gold purity of .9167, which equates to 22 karats – the official standard for American gold coins observed until the year 1834.
A rendition of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ full-length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair is portrayed on the American Gold Eagle coin’s front side. Her hair flows as she carries a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. To her left, the Capitol building stands in the background.
Meanwhile, the reverse side of the coin features Miley Busiek’s depiction of a male eagle carrying an olive branch as it flies above a nest where a female eagle sits with her hatchlings. This design is set to be changed in 2021 with the intention of adding anti-counterfeiting measures to the coin. These new features will be incorporated into the proof and other numismatic Gold Eagle coins later on.