The pirate opens his treasure chest, the dragon enters its lair, the king surveys his vault. All are filled with golden treasure, gold jewelry, gold tableware, gold ornaments and gold coins. We would all love to have a trove of these beautiful and valuable items for ourselves, as gold offers the promise of security in uncertain economic times like these. There are many ways to collect gold, but gold coins may be the very best.
Gold has established the monetary value of currency throughout much of history. Historically, coins have been minted from this precious metal since around 500 B.C. in Persia, with their gold coin known as the daric (Garg, 1992) right up to the present day. The United States itself has a long history in the production of gold coins, but many of these are now beyond the means of the average coin collector.
In general, there are many way to collect gold. Gold coins, however, are often considered one of the best, as they do not focus solely on the metals; instead, they combine the appreciation of artistry, numismatic value, and precious metal content. With gold outpacing the market in the past ten years, gold coins have become increasingly expensive – and much more difficult to procure. Demands for gold and the price of gold have reached record highs given the current economy, and many investment professionals advise that now is the best time to diversify portfolios with hard asset gold.
Not all gold coins are out of reach, though. There are affordable options for collectors, given the U.S. Mint’s production of American Eagle gold bullion coins in a variety of denominations. The compact tenth-ounce gold piece, for example, is one of the most popular pieces of the Mint’s ongoing Gold Eagle series. The five-dollar gold piece contains one-tenth of an ounce of pure 22 karat gold and sells for $229 dollars.
American Eagle bullion coins were first congressionally authorized for production in order to provide affordable and convenient ways to add silver, gold, and platinum to investment portfolios. These coins are meticulously produced and each coin’s content, weight, and purity is guaranteed by the United States’ government.
The obverses of these coins were all designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, with the “Standing Liberty” design, originally used on U.S. twenty-dollar gold pieces from 1907 through 1933. On the reverse of the gold Eagle coins is the homely “Family of Eagles” engraving; a male eagle with an olive branch approaches a nest with a female eagle and her hatchlings, designed by Miley Busiek.
The American Eagle gold coins are made in four denominations: a $50 coin with one ounce of gold; a $25 coin with a half an ounce of gold; a $10 coin at a quarter of an ounce of gold; and the $5 coin at a tenth of an ounce of gold. Each coin is made of 22 karat gold. These coins are not made available directly through the U.S. Mint; here at International Coins and Currency, we offer the $5 denomination, given its affordability and popularity; and we even have the new 2013 issue!
If you’re interested in reading more about the history of the American Eagle coin (silver, specifically) and the history of its design and rebirth in modern America, check out the blog we posted in January here.
Jennie Lutton, for ICCoin.com
(ed. A. Paulger-Foran)
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Garg, S., & Gupta, P.L. (1992). Chapter 2. In D.W. MacDowall & S. Sharma (Eds.) Indian Numismatics,
History, Art, and Culture: Essays in the Honour of Dr. P.L. Gupta. (n. pag.). Delhi: Agam Kala