Gold Eagle Coins are produced by the United States Mint in limited quantities each year. Demand for Gold Eagle Coins does not necessarily match the gold commodity market. For example, in their first year of production, 3.6 million American Gold Eagle Coins were sold, but in 2010 when gold prices had reached a new high, only about 1.73 million Gold Eagle Coins were sold.
Types of Gold Eagle Coins
The U.S. Mint produces a special batch of “proof” Gold Eagle Coins that are first burnished or buffed before being stamped two or more times with their trademark images to two eagles and lady liberty. This gives them a unique polished appearance. Other Gold Eagles are also “uncirculated” meaning they have not been sold and resold. These uncirculated coins have a distinguishing ‘W’ on them. Gold Eagle Coins are not the same as “Double Gold Eagles Coins” which were produced between 1850-1933 and ironically only have one eagle on them.
Gold Eagle Coins do not all weigh the same amount. Some contain a little over 1/10th of an ounce of gold whereas others contain a little over one full ounce. In total there are four sizes of Gold Eagle Coins. The less a Gold Eagle Coin weighs, the lower its value as the price is tied to the spot price of gold which is measured in troy ounces or 31.1 grams. For example, if a one ounce Gold Eagle coin is valued at $1,700 then a half ounce coin will cost approximately $850. Each weight of Gold Eagle Coins has a corresponding dollar face value with the lowest being $5 and the highest $50.
The purity of Gold Eagle coins is also important. Anything but 24 karat gold is a composite of gold and other metal. Lower karat gold is stronger, but also only 91.67% pure gold which makes it slightly cheaper by weight. Since Gold Eagle Coins are 22 karat gold to protect them from damage, a one ounce coin actually weighs 33.93 grams to ensure the coin contains a full troy ounce of gold bullion. Both the purity and weight of Gold Eagle Coins are guaranteed to be a minimum of 99.9% pure by the U.S. Government.
The U.S. Mint does not sell Gold Eagle Coins directly to the public, instead it deals directly through specialized dealers. Gold Eagle Coins protect against inflation because unlike currency, gold coins can only be mined in limited quantities. Additionally, investing in gold coins is a way to diversify risk from other financial products such as stocks. For example, if corporate profits decline, then stock prices tend to also lower. However, since Gold Eagle Coins are not typically tied to corporate profits, their value can remain steady even if stock prices lower provided the value of the dollar is not also rising. Read more about Gold Eagle Coin Investing.