American Eagle Coin Value by Precious Metal
We are sorry to disappoint, but we will not be discussing the predatory bird kind of American Eagle. Rather the focus is on the bullion variety.
When it comes to investing in precious metals, the term “eagle” will often appear in conversations or websites. But what does it mean in the context of the precious metal industry?
In this article we’ll explore the various types of American Eagle coins. Including the gold eagle, silver eagle, platinum eagle, and proof eagle.
The above convocation of eagles has a story, and like all stories we must start at the beginning.
The year was 1986…
Tragedy struck the world first with the Challenger shuttle, three months later the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes, 5 days prior Geraldo Rivera opens Al Capone’s vault on TV and finds nothing, Tenzing Norgay died at 71, Carry Grant at 82, and to finish the year the Iran-Contra affair erupts; but all was not so bleak, it was the first observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Halley’s Comet reached its closest approach to Earth, March 11 was the one millionth day since Rome was founded April 21, 753 BC, the movie Top Gun was released, the first nationally broadcast episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show aired, and the first non-stop and un-refueled flight around the world completes in 9 days 3 minutes and 44 seconds by Voyager.
Also, bringing much needed joy to the world, the U.S. Mint launched the American Eagle Coin Program in 1986 with gold and silver bullion coins.
American Eagle Gold Coin
The American gold eagle coin is the most popular gold coin in U.S. Mint history. Which makes it the most common option for those looking to turn cash into gold. The gold eagle coin features a design of Lady Liberty on the obverse side. Originally a family of eagles but now a solo eagle on the reverse side. (Note: obverse = heads, reverse = tails.)
Their resilient beauty comes from their enduring strength. Made from a mixture of 1 troy ounce of .9999 pure gold and a combination of other metals to make it resistant to scratches. The end result is a 22-karat gold gold coin (91.67%). The American Eagle gold coin is the only coin approved for IRA use by the IRS, that is less than the .9999 purity standard.
The American Eagle gold coin is the only eagle in the series that is available in various sizes.
Composition is 91.67% gold, 3% silver, balance copper with a reeded edge.
Weight and diameter differs between the one, half, quarter, and tenth ounce sizes.
- The one ounce coin, $50 face value, is 1.287 inches (32.70 mm) in diameter, contains one gold troy ounce and weighs 1.0909 troy ounces (33.931 g).
- The one-half ounce coin, $25 face value, is 1.063 inches (27.00 mm) in diameter, contains 0.5000 gold troy ounce and weighs 0.5455 troy ounce (16.966 g).
- The one-quarter ounce coin, $10 face value, is 0.866 inch (22.00 mm) in diameter, contains 0.2500 gold troy ounce and weighs 0.2727 troy ounce (8.483 g).
- The one-tenth ounce coin, $5 face value, is 0.650 inch (16.50 mm) in diameter, contains 0.1000 gold troy ounce and weighs 0.1091 troy ounce (3.393 g).
Bullion coins don’t feature a mint mark.
The Quality of the Look has Improved Over Time
Note the quality of die cast. Observe the sharpness of the strike. Note the modern even color grade (read more about color). The newer model is demonstrative of the technology and effort to improve the best.
For good reason this coin is a popular choice for collectors, professionals, retirees, and basically everyone! Because what is not to love about Liberty and eagles? (Not to mention gold.)
American Eagle Silver Coin
This coin is very similar to the gold eagle, yet has one major distinction. The silver eagle coin was also the other saving grace in 1986 as introduced by the U.S. Mint. Made from 99.9% pure silver and features a “Walking Liberty” design by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman from the 1916 half dollar on the obverse side and a heraldic eagle on the reverse side. And since 2021, a new reverse shows an eagle carrying an oak branch coming to land.
Notice how Lady Liberty walks in profile, draped in the folds of the American flag. Her right arm extended and she carries laurel and oak branches in her left.
There is a good thing about this coin coming in less variety than the gold eagle. The 1 oz silver eagle coin is dramatically less expensive, making it affordable to all.
This is a popular choice for a novice or simply for a more cost effective purchase of precious metals. Silver is a reliable, an asset recognized worldwide .
Observe the official findings made by Congress:
“Congress finds that—
(1) the American Eagle Silver Bullion coin leads the global market, and is the largest and most popular silver coin program in the United States;
(2) established in 1986, the American Eagle Silver Bullion Program is the most successful silver bullion program in the world;
(3) from fiscal year 1995 through fiscal year 2001, the American Eagle Silver Bullion Program generated—
(A) revenues of $264,100,000; and
(B) sufficient profits to significantly reduce the national debt;”
Public Law 107–201 107th Congress, July 23, 2002
American Eagle Platinum Coin
The platinum eagle coin made itself known upon joining the convocation in 1997, presenting in 99.95% pure platinum. Featuring a myriad of designs of Lady Liberty on the obverse side and a majestic eagle on the reverse side.
The platinum eagle coin brings a certain panache to the Eagle series.
- Portrait of Liberty (1997)
- Vistas of Liberty (1998 to 2002)
- Foundations of Democracy (2006 to 2008)
- Preamble to the Constitution (2009 to 2014)
- Torches of Liberty (2015 and 2016)
- 20th Anniversary re-birth of Portrait of Liberty
- Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Series (2018-2020)
- First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof Coin Series (2021-2025)
These beauties are not as commonly purchased as gold or silver eagles. Making their availability more likely and allows for even greater diversity in your precious metals portfolio.
American Eagle Palladium Coin
Entering the scene fashionably late. And yet looking like a million dollars, is the last of the ensemble the American Eagle Palladium coin. Congress authorized production in 2010, but looking good takes time, and finally she was ready, seven years later. The American Eagle Palladium Coin is the only palladium bullion coin whose weight, content, and .9995 purity are guaranteed by the U.S. government.
If you have that feeling like you have seen her somewhere before… but cannot quite place where. That is because the obverse features a high-relief likeness of the 1916 Mercury Dime obverse by artist Adolph A. Weinman, with a bust of Liberty wearing a cap with wings. While the reverse features a high-relief version of Weinman’s 1907 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal reverse. As an eagle and a branch.
American Eagle Gold Proof Coin
The proof eagle coin is a special type of coin. Produced by the United States Mint from 22-karat gold and features a frosted design on a mirror-like surface. Incredibly, done solely by die cast. The proof eagle coin is in high demand, by collectors and those wishing to diversify their portfolio alike.
Proof eagle coins are available in various sizes and designs. Including each of the eagles, gold eagle, silver eagle, platinum eagle and palladium eagle. Due to limited production and high demand causes these beauties sell for a premium cost.
Better to hear directly from the source, hot off the production line:
U.S. Mint March 28, 2023:
“Struck in 22-karat gold at the West Point Mint, these popular coins are collector versions of the official United States Mint American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins. In 2021, for the first time since their introduction more than three decades before, the reverse (tails) of American Eagle Gold Proof Coins debuted a newly designed portrayal of an eagle, created by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer Jennie Norris and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Renata Gordon. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST,” along with the face value and weight.
“The coins’ obverse (heads) features Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ full-length figure of Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. To render a closer reflection of Saint-Gaudens’ original vision, legacy details of the obverse design also were restored in 2021, including modifications to the U.S. Capitol Building, stars, torch, sun rays, and other design elements based on the original bronze cast.”
These are Eagles from 2022, on the left is an uncirculated coin, the right is a proof.
American Eagle Silver Proof Coin
The U.S. Mint at West Point has produced since 1986 the American Eagle Silver Proof Coins. A must have for collectors, over the counterpart versions American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins. These popular silver proofs were updated in 2021. Now with a refreshed obverse and a completely redesigned reverse to mark the 35th anniversary of the American Eagle Coin Program.
Like its bullion counterpart, the obverse of the American Eagle Silver Proof Coin features sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s full-length figure of Liberty in full stride, enveloped in folds of the flag, with her right hand extended and branches of laurel and oak in her left. Using technological advancements in the design and minting process, the coin encompasses some of Weinman’s original details, which renders a closer reflection of his original vision, including the addition of his traditional artist mark. Inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “2023,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
Note the artists’ initials highlighted on the image below.
The reverse features an eagle as it approaches a landing, carrying an oak branch, as if to add it to a nest. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “1 OZ. FINE SILVER,” and “ONE DOLLAR.” United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer Emily Damstra created the design that retired United States Mint Medallic Artist Michael Gaudioso sculpted.
In addition to the redesigned reverse and enhanced design details on the obverse, the American Eagle Silver Proof Coins are minted in high detail using new technology and include a reed pattern variation. The Mint benchmarked its efforts against anti-counterfeiting programs implemented by major mints around the world. These features will make the coins more difficult to counterfeit.” From the U.S. Mint Feb. 24, 2023
Where are Eagles born?
All coins are hatched by an Act of Congress, each of their specifications are set out by law. Specifically, these are the laws that gave birth to the most popular coinage in U.S. Mint history:
The concept for each coin is hatched by an Act of Congress, each coin’s particulars are set out by law. Specifically, these are the laws that gave birth to the most popular coinage in U.S. Mint history:
The Legal Creation of a Coin
31 U.S.C. § 5112 (“(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall mint and issue, in qualities and quantities that the Secretary determines are sufficient to meet public demand, coins which-(1) are 40.6 millimeters in diameter and weigh 31.103 grams;(2) contain .999 fine silver;(3) have a design-(A) symbolic of Liberty on the obverse side; and(B) of an eagle on the reverse side;(4) have inscriptions of the year of minting or issuance, and the words “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, “United States of America”, “1 Oz. Fine Silver”, “E Pluribus Unum”, and “One Dollar”; and(5) have reeded edges.”)
31 U.S.C. § 5112 (“(i)(1) Notwithstanding section 5111(a)(1) of this title, the Secretary shall mint and issue the gold coins described in paragraphs (7), (8), (9), and (10) of subsection (a) of this section, in qualities and quantities that the Secretary determines are sufficient to meet public demand, and such gold coins shall-(A) have a design determined by the Secretary, except that the fifty dollar gold coin shall have-(i) on the obverse side, a design symbolic of Liberty; and(ii) on the reverse side, a design representing a family of eagles, with the male carrying an olive branch and flying above a nest containing a female eagle and hatchlings;(B) have inscriptions of the denomination, the weight of the fine gold content, the year of minting or issuance, and the words “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, “United States of America”, and “E Pluribus Unum”; and(C) have reeded edges.”)
The above manifested in the below:
Why the Eagle?
The Congressional history behind this coin reveals why:
31 U.S.C. § 5112 (“(d)(1) United States coins shall have the inscription “In God We Trust”. The obverse side of each coin shall have the inscription ‘Liberty’. The reverse side of each coin shall have the inscriptions ‘United States of America’ and ‘E Pluribus Unum’ and a designation of the value of the coin. The design on the reverse side of the dollar, half dollar, and quarter dollar is an eagle.”)
AMENDMENTS 1997- “Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 105-124, §4(d), substituted ‘The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Congress, shall select appropriate designs for the obverse and reverse sides of the dollar coin.’ for ‘The eagle on the reverse side of the dollar is the symbolic eagle of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.‘”
At long last, our story ends right were it began. With the courage required to do that which no one has done and the great risk involved in doing so, revealing the Eagles are symbolic of our national sense of pride. Because every one of us was born of the same blood, for no matter where our ancestors started from, they all shared the common traits of explorers, with great courage, and knew of sacrifice.
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were the first step in a long journey that brought you and really the entire precious metal industry our beloved eagles, symbolic of courage and honor. Presented in such beautiful and various artistry, in the form of common coins, yet have proven to be anything but common.
In a year that began with great tragedy, the American Eagle coins were born to represent our national commitment to bravery, exploration, and unity. Perhaps most of all, the Eagles represent that we are always capable of being triumphant, no matter what. As to that intended mark, each eagle has landed.