The release of the 2016 American Gold Eagle marks the 30th anniversary of the gold coin’s annual production. An official gold bullion coin of the United States, the American Gold Eagle is only produced with gold from mines located within the country. It is one troy ounce of 91.67% (22 karat) gold and includes an additional alloy of 3% silver and 5.33% copper to enhance its durability. The coin’s purity, weight, and content are guaranteed by the U.S. government and backed by the U.S. Mint. The 1-ounce version of the American Gold Eagle holds a face value of $50. The face values for 1/2-ounce, 1/4-ounce, and 1/10-ounce Gold Eagles are $25, $10, and $5, respectively.
The design on the obverse of the coin is based off of sculptor Saint-Gaudens’ Double Eagle, which originally made an appearance on a $20 gold coin produced by the U.S. Mint from 1907 to 1933. Beams of light surround Lady Liberty’s commanding presence as she is seen striding forward across a mountain top. In the patriotic scene, she carries a flaming torch representing enlightenment in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand as a symbol of peace. The word “Liberty” appears prominently in a semicircle across the top of the coin and a small depiction of the U.S. Capitol is visible in the bottom left corner. The mint year is displayed toward the bottom right. Fifty stars representing the fifty states in the union surround the perimeter of the whole coin. The design is modified from the 1907 design with 46 stars and the 1912 design with 48 stars.
The reverse of the coin, designed by sculptor Miley Busiek, depicts a family of eagles. The male eagle flies with wings fully outstretched toward his nest where the female eagle rests with her hatchlings. In his talons, the male eagle clutches an olive branch, a reminder of the same symbol of peace seen on the obverse side of the coin. “United States of America” is displayed across the top of the coin in a semicircle and “1 Oz. Fine Gold ~ 50 Dollars” is written in a semicircle at the bottom of the coin. The phrase “E Pluribus Unum,” which translates to “out of many, one,” is proudly engraved in the space located on the left of the Eagle illustration, while the iconic motto “In God We Trust” is inscribed on the right.
The 1-ounce American Gold Eagle is 32.7 mm in diameter and 2.87 mm thick.
The 1/2-ounce American Gold Eagle is 27 mm in diameter and 2.15 mm thick.
The 1/4-ounce American Gold Eagle is 22 mm in diameter and 1.78 mm thick.
The 1/10-ounce American Gold Eagle is 16.5 mm in diameter and 1.26 mm thick.