Home » Precious Metals to Invest In: The American Gold Eagle

Precious Metals to Invest In: The American Gold Eagle

by Paul-Martin Foss

In times of economic crisis investors of all stripes flee to the safe haven offered by precious metals. During the 2008 financial crisis stock markets lost more than 50% of their value while gold gained more than 25% in value. With stock markets today looking like they’re going to lose value in the future and gold trading below $1,250, many investors are starting to look again at gold as a hedge against financial risk. But with gold coins not having been used in commerce for decades most investors aren’t familiar with all the ways they can invest in precious metals.

One of the most popular gold investments today is the American Gold Eagle bullion coin. First minted in 1986, it was the first gold coin minted by the United States Mint since the 1930s. Today it is available in one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce weights, with legal tender face values of $50, $25, $10, and $5 respectively. Each coin is minted from a 22 karat alloy that combines gold with silver and copper and contains the specified amount of pure gold.

The obverse of the American Gold Eagle is adapted from Augustus Saint Gaudens’ famed Gold Double Eagle design of 1907, often regarded as the most beautiful design in American coinage. It features Lady Liberty walking confidently ahead of the sun’s rays, carrying a torch and an olive branch. The reverse of the coin is equally beautiful, depicting a male bald eagle in flight carrying an olive branch to his nest, where a female eagle waits with her young.

Because of their popularity in the United States, the American Gold Eagle coins are available at relatively low premiums to spot. Right now you can expect to pay around a 5% premium to spot on the one ounce American Gold Eagle for a single coin, with premia decreasing if you buy the coins in quantity. With tens of millions of these coins having been produced and consistently in demand by collectors and investors, they are both widely available and incredibly easy to sell when the time comes.

Even better, these coins are also eligible for investment as part of a gold IRA. With a gold IRA you can invest in gold coins with pre-tax dollars or roll over existing retirement assets tax-free to invest in gold. That way you can benefit from the tax advantages of traditional retirement accounts while still protecting yourself with an investment in gold. When it comes time to take distribution you can take the distributions either in the form of gold coins or in cash.

Coin Specifications


0.9167 (22 kt)


  • One ounce coin: 1.0909 troy oz (33.930 g)
  • Half ounce coin: 0.5454 troy oz (19.965 g)
  • Quarter ounce coin: 0.2727 troy oz (8.483 g)
  • Tenth ounce coin: 0.1091 troy oz (3.393 g)

Gold Content

  • One ounce coin: 1 troy oz
  • Half ounce coin: 1/2 troy oz
  • Quarter ounce coin: 1/4 troy oz
  • Tenth ounce coin: 1/10 troy oz


  • One ounce coin: 32.70 mm
  • Half ounce coin: 27.00 mm
  • Quarter ounce coin: 22.00 mm
  • Tenth ounce coin: 16.50 mm


  • One ounce coin: 2.87 mm
  • Half ounce coin: 2.24 mm
  • Quarter ounce coin: 1.83 mm
  • Tenth ounce coin: 1.19 mm

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