If there was one coin that is the staple of coin collecting, it would be the American Gold Eagle. Making its initial debut in 1986, the coin has long been a favorite among both collectors and investors alike. It comes in many different sizes, variations, and versions, making it appealing to just about anyone who has an interest in gold.
The United States Mint is the one and only mint that has the rights to produce this coin. It is generally produced in mass quantities, in the tens and hundreds of thousands, on an annual basis.
The actual numbers for production depend on a handful of variables, including demand and the amount of readily available gold. Due to the shortage in raw gold materials in the most recent years, the availability of these coins has diminished, which in turn has helped to propel their values.
The American Gold Eagle comes in four different sizes and weights, which include 1/10th oz., 1/4 oz., 1/2 oz., and 1 oz. varieties. The most affordable size of the coin is of course the 1/10th oz. size, but the most in demand coin is the 1 ounce edition.
The actual gold percentage in each coin is smaller than you might expect, sitting at 91.67% pure gold, with the rest of the coin being made up of 3% silver and 5.33% copper. In other words, a 1 oz. gold bar or other piece of bullion will have .9999 gold content, whereas this particular coin has about 9% less.
Gold Eagle Design
Gold Eagle coins have one of the most designs in the world, with Lady Liberty on the obverse side and the famous swooping eagle on the reverse. This design for the reverse side of the coin was created by a sculptor named Miley Busiek. The design on both sides of the Gold Eagle is different than what is found on its cousin, the Silver Eagle.
The other markings on the coin include "Liberty" emblazoned across the top of the obverse of the coin, in addition to the year of production on that same panel. Beyond this, the reverse of the coin carries "United States of America" across the head of the coin along with the words "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust," the currency value of the coin itself, and it's minted weight.
Cost of Gold Eagles
Gold Eagles are very fairly priced if you are buying the standard uncirculated editions. These coins are the most plentiful and will have the lowest mark-up over the spot price of gold. When compared to other gold coins, the premiums on Gold Eagles are actually quite minimal.
This is not due to the fact that they are not in high demand, but instead because they have the highest production runs of any mainstream coins. Most all uncriculated Gold Eagle coins can be purchased for around $75 or less over spot price.
The real expensive Gold Eagles are the proofs and rare versions that include mint errors or limited production numbers. Many proof Gold Eagles will cost several hundred, if not $1,000 or more over the price of the gold content itself. When you add grading to the equation, you will be spending a lot more.
For the average investor, regular uncirculated and ungraded coins are the most cost-effective way to go. If you are looking to start a high-end collection, however, proof and graded coins will be of much more interest, though they will also put a bigger dent in your wallet.
Buying Gold Eagles Online
Gold Eagle coins are one of the most plentiful types of gold available on the internet. Some things to look out for when buying these coins include their price, condition, and authenticity. Make sure that the coin you are buying is an actual coin produced by the US Mint and not some knock off that was sold on TV.
Real Gold Eagles will always have a premium affixed to them, so be wary of any dealer selling coins at or even below spot price as they are most likely not legitimate.
Condition is another important characteristic with Gold Eagles. If a coin is not graded, make sure that they note whether the coins are in uncirculated or almost uncirculated condition.
Most dealers will only sell items that are in prime condition, but be careful not to buy an item that was heavily beat up. If you stick with credible websites such as those on this site, you won't have to worry about buying from unscrupulous dealers.