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Gold American Eagles & Gold American Buffaloes

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Gold Eagles & Buffaloes

The original Gold American Eagle coin actually dates way back to the early 1790s when they took form in the Quarter Eagle ($2.5), Half Eagle ($5), and Double Eagle ($20) although its original value was $10. However, in 1933, the Great Depression took its toll, and the United States government decided to remove itself from the gold standard. President Franklin D. Roosevelt then signed Executive Order 6102 on April 5th which forbade “the Hoarding of Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates.” The Gold Reserve Act quickly followed in 1934 which made it illegal for United States citizens to own private gold. These events resulted in the discontinuing of the Gold American Eagle during the 20th century.

The Reemergence of the American Gold Eagle

Congress was adamant about bringing back an American gold coin in the early 1980s. It was not until 1985 that President Ronald Reagan signed into the law the Gold Bullion Coin Act which changed the precious metal market forever. With a persistent Congress, the Gold American Eagle was at the top of the heap when it came to U.S. Mint production. Another reason for its popularity other than the newness of an American gold coin since 1933 was that the law also included a clause that required that the gold used to produce the gold coins was to be mined within the United States. An American Gold Eagle coin would truly be just that: American.

The most interesting thing about the Gold American Eagle coin is that the design features both new and old elements. The obverse design on the coin is a revised version of Augustus Saint-Gauden’s design of the $20 Gold St. Gaudens coin as it features Lady Liberty holding a torch as she walks forward. The reverse of the American Gold Eagle coin, however, was designed by Miley Tucker-Frost (Busiek), a modern American sculptor. The reverse features a depicting of a male eagle holding an olive branch. The male is flying overhead a female and her nest filled with hatchlings. Sizes of the American Gold Eagle can currently be found in one ounce with a $50 face value, a half-ounce coin which has a $25 denomination, a quarter ounce with a $10 denomination, and a tenth-ounce that has a $5 face value. The coins are produced and minted from the U.S. Mint’s branch in West Point, New York, and are made from 22-karat gold.

American Gold Buffalo

While the American Gold Eagle is struck in 22-karat gold, the American Gold Buffaloes (which originated in 2006 with the 1oz pieces) are the first gold coins produced by the U.S. Mint that are comprised of .9999 24-karat gold. It was not until 2008 when the Mint would start to produce fractional pieces in the form of half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth-ounce denominations.

The design is modeled after the famed Buffalo nickel (1913-1938) and features the famous Indian Head design created by James Earle Fraser on the obverse. The reverse shows the famous depiction of the large bison modeled after Black Diamond who was housed in the New York City Central Park Zoo during the early 1900s.