The American Gold Eagle is the official bullion coin of the United States. The first coins were struck in 1986 and were inspired by Augustus Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece. Highly liquid and easily traded, these coins are guaranteed by the federal government and respected worldwide for their undeniable quality and purity.
Like many popular gold bullion programs from national mints around the globe, the American Gold Eagle features the same designs on each side each year. The value in these coins comes from the high standards of design and production used by the United States Mint.
America’s Gold Eagle program was launched in 1986, the same year as its counterpart, the American Silver Eagle. Although the bullion coin was struck in all four weights (1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz) in 1986, the 1 oz Proof American Gold Eagle was the only weight struck in the proof mintage that year. That makes the 1 oz coin the longest-running mintage in the proof series. The ½ oz proof coin was added in 1987, with the ¼ oz and 1/10 oz coins added in 1988.
Since 1988, proof American Gold Eagles have been struck in all four weights each year except 2009 when no proof coins were struck. Although the 1 oz Proof American Gold Eagle was the first coin struck in the proof series, it often has the lowest mintage of any of the four weights. Some 446,290 1 oz proofs were struck in 1986, but that number had dropped to 87, 133 by 1988. As of 2013, roughly 24,710 1 oz proofs were struck.
On the obverse side of the American Gold Eagle is a modern reproduction of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Gold Double Eagle design. The reverse side features Miley Busiek’s depiction of a family of bald eagles, with a male returning to the female and hatchlings in the nest.
The 1 oz Proof American Gold Eagle is produced by the United States Mint. Although the Mint operates four major facilities, the proof American Gold Eagles are only struck at the West Point Mint in New York. Each coin bears a “W” mint mark as an identifying marker.