The American Gold Eagle Coin is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. It was authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985 and first released by the United States Mint in 1986. The Gold Eagle is offered in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz denominations. The gold used to produce these coins must come from mines in the United States, by law. A Gold Eagle coin will include an additional alloy of 3% silver and 5.33% copper for a more wear-resistant coin of .9167 purity. This is equivalent to 22 karats, which had long been the English crown gold standard for gold coins, and before 1834, for American gold coins as well. The Gold Eagle’s purity, weight, and content is guaranteed by the United States Government and backed by the United States Mint. The 1 oz. American Gold Eagle carries a face value of $50. The face values for 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz Eagles are $25, $10, and $5, respectively.
The artwork on the obverse of the coin is reminiscent of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, a twenty-dollar gold coin produced by the United States Mint from 1907 to 1933 and designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt in an effort to beautify American coinage. It depicts Lady Liberty, striding forward on mountaintop with the rays of the sun behind her, carrying a flaming torch in her right hand to represent enlightenment and an olive branch, a symbol of peace, in her left. The word, “Liberty” appears prominently across the top of the coin and an image of the U.S. Capitol is visible at the bottom left. The mint year is displayed toward the bottom right. Fifty stars, representing the fifty states in the union, surround the artwork, modified from the 1907 design with only 46 stars and the 1912 design, with 48.
The reverse of the coin, designed by sculptor Miley Busiek, depicts a family of eagles. The male eagle, clutching an olive branch in his talons, flies toward his nest where the female eagle rests with her hatchlings. “United States of America” is displayed across the top and “1 Oz. Fine Gold~50 Dollars” can be read at the bottom. The words, “E Pluribus Unum” and, “In God We Trust” are inscribed to the left and the right of the eagles.
A 1 oz. American Gold Eagle is 32.7 mm in diameter and 2.87 mm thick.
A 1/2 oz. American Gold Eagle is 27 mm in diameter and 2.15 mm thick.
A 1/4 oz. American Gold Eagle is 22 mm in diameter and 1.78 mm thick.
A 1/10 oz. American Gold Eagle is 16.5 mm in diameter and 1.26 mm thick.