Composition: (22 karat)
- 1/10 troy oz coin
- Diameter: 16.50 mm
- Thickness: 1.19 mm
- Weight: 0.1091 ozt
- Face value: $5
- 1/4 troy oz coin
- Diameter: 22 mm
- Thickness: 1.83 mm
- Gross weight: 0.2727 ozt (8.483 g)
- Face value: $10
- 1/2 troy oz coin
- Diameter: 27 mm
- Thickness: 2.24 mm
- Gross weight: 0.5454 ozt (16.965 g)
- Face value: $25
- 1 troy oz coin
- Diameter: 32.70 mm
- Thickness: 2.87 mm
- Gross weight: 1.0909 ozt (33.930 g)
- Face value: $50
US production of gold coins for circulation ended in 1933 following President Roosevelt's
Executive Order 6102 of April 5, 1933. Individuals were ordered to deliver gold
coins, bullion, and gold certificates to a Federal Reserve bank or branch by May 1 of that
year. There were exceptions for ordinary citizens: jewelers and artists could have "such
amount of gold as may be required for legitimate and customary use", anyone could retain
"gold coin and gold certificates in an amount not exceeding in the aggregate $100.00 belonging
to any one person", and collectors could keep gold coins considered "rare and unusual."
In 1985 Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to begin producing gold and silver bullion coins.
Gold coins are produced in a 22 karat standard in four weights, one-tenth ounce ($5 face),
one-quarter ounce ($10 face), one-half ounce ($25 face), and one ounce ($50 face).
On the obverse is a full-length image of Liberty, facing forward with an olive branch in her
left hand and a raised torch in her right hand. Draped in a long, flowing gown, her hair is
swept to the left with the sun visible behind the U.S. Capitol building. Rays extend upward from
behind the Capitol and Liberty. At the top is the word LIBERTY, the torch separating
I and B. Fifty tiny six-point stars (representing the number of states) are arrayed just inside
the flat rim.
The reverse displays a family of eagles in the center of the coin, with an adult and
juveniles resting in a nest of sticks and branches. Above the nest in the air is another
adult eagle clutching a branch, wings outspread as if preparing to land. Around the flat
rim is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at the top, and 1 OZ. FINE GOLD ~ 50 DOLLARS at the bottom.
E PLURIBUS UNUM is in the space above the left side of the aerie, and IN GOD WE TRUST to
the left, each phrase in two lines. Just below the nest are the designer's initials MB
(Miley Busiek, now Miley Frost) to the left, and the original engraver's initials JW to the right.
From 1986 through 1991 Roman numerals were used for the date, after 1991 Arabic numerals
were used. The designer's initials ASG is below the date, just above the rock.Gold Eagles
are minted in Philadelphia and West Point; P and W mintmarks are located at the lower right
below the date. Before 2006 the W mintmark was used only on proofs; the P mintmark was used
only on early (1987 or 1988 through 1991) tenth-ounce, quarter-ounce, and half-ounce proof coins.
Ultra High Relief Gold Eagle 2009
Though intended as a bullion coin, Gold Eagles are also collected for their numismatic
interest. Whether by accident or by intent, these coins are not found in circulation.
Tens of thousands of the tenth-ounce, quarter-ounce, half-ounce, and ounce coins have been
certified as Mint State and as proof, though the number of certified coins varies by
date. Greater numbers are certified as MS69 and PR69, and to a lesser extent MS70 and
PR70, than as other grades. Nearly all 69's and 70's were given the Deep Cameo designation.
Gold Eagles prices tend to follow bullion prices, with an added premium for the certification;
fractional coins are proportionally more expensive than the full ounce coins. Some proof examples
and "perfect" 70 grades have an additional premium, especially coins dated 1986 through the
early 2000s. Other higher priced issues are the 1999-W $5 and $10 Unpolished Proof Dies
and, to a lesser degree, some First Strike pieces and the 20th Anniversary coins.