The American Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. It was first minted in 1986 and is offered in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz denominations and is guaranteed to contain the stated amount (in troy ounces) of pure gold.
The obverse design features a rendition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' full length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left, with the Capitol building in the left background. The reverse design, by sculptor Miley Busiek, features a male eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a female eagle and her hatchlings.
The market value of the coins is generally about equal to the market value of their gold content, not their face value. Their actual selling prices vary daily based on the current spot price of gold. The United States Mint also produces a proof version for coin collectors. These coins are for the most part produced at the West Point mint in West Point, New York, and carry the West Point mint mark ("W") beneath the date.
American Gold Eagle Coins are offered in four different sizes. The most popular size contains one troy ounce of gold content, with the remaining three options containing a standard fractional weight. Each size contains a different legal tender face value.
All four denominations have been offered as bullion versions since the series was launched in 1986. Proof coins were initially only available in the 1 ounce size. In the second year of issue the 1/2 ounce size was added. In the third year, the remaining 1/4 and 1/10 ounce sizes were offered as proofs.
Gold Eagles are struck with a durable composition of 22 karat gold. The composition is comprised of 91.67% gold, 3% silver, and 5.33% copper. Coins are produced so that each size contains its stated weight in pure gold. The one ounce coin is 1.287 inches in diameter, has a weight of 1.0909 ounces, and contains on ounce of gold. The one-half ounce coin measures 1.063 inches in diameter, has a weight of 0.5455 ounces, and contains 0.5000 ounces of gold. The one-quarter ounce coin is 0.866 inches in diameter, weighs 0.2727 ounces, and contains 0.2500 ounces of gold. The one-tenth ounce coin is 0.650 inches, weighs 0.1091 ounces, and contains 0.100 ounces of gold.
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