Since 1986 the United States Mint has
produced gold Bullion coins in both proof and uncirculated
finishes. The American Eagle gold bullion program has four
denominations in four sizes. These gold coins are the five
dollar tenth ounce, the ten dollar quarter ounce, the twenty-five
dollar half ounce, and the fifty dollar one ounce piece.
The obverse design is based on Saint-Gaudens’ double
eagle. The reverse shows an eagle landing in its nest bringing
food to its young. All of the coins have the same design
except for the reverse inscription with the weight in gold,
the fineness, and the denomination. The first six years
used Roman numerals for the date as did Saint-Gaudens’
original in 1907. From 1992 on, Arabic numbers were used.
New uncirculated coins can only be obtained in the secondary
market from specially designated dealers who purchase them
from the Mint in quantity. Proof bullion American Eagles
can be ordered by individuals directly from the Mint. The
proof bullion coins were first made in Philadelphia and
have the P mint mark. In 1994, proof coins were made in
West Point and a W is the mint mark. Beginning in 2006,
uncirculated bullion coins were also made at West Point.
In 2006 the Mint issued “burnished” uncirculated
coins and a regular and a reverse proof issue. In addition
to being sold individually, the gold bullion coins have
also been sold in year sets. The 1995 set is notable because
it included a mint marked silver eagle dollar coin.
The American Buffalo gold bullion coin
has been issued since 2006 in one ounce size. In 2008, tenth,
quarter, and half ounce coins were also made. In that same
year burnished uncirculated coins were also issued along
with regular uncirculated and proof coins. All of the American
Buffalo gold bullion coins have been made at West Point
and have the W mint mark. They are the first coins to be
.9999 fine (24-karat) gold made by the United States Mint.
The design is taken from the Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel
of 1913 to 1938, which was designed by James Earle Fraser.
The principal design modification is the denomination, the
weight in gold, and the fineness of the gold on the reverse.
In 2007 the First Spouse gold bullion coins
were issued. They are denominated at ten dollars and weigh
one-half ounce. They honor the first spouses and have been
issued on the same schedule as the presidential dollar coins.
Each shows a portrait of the president’s spouse and
a reverse design emblematic of the person’s life.
When a president held office and there was no first spouse,
the coin had “an obverse emblematic of Liberty as
depicted on a circulating coin of that era and a reverse
emblematic of themes of that president’s life.”
The coins are struck in 24 karat gold and have been minted
in uncirculated and proof finishes.
In 2009 the Mint released a gold bullion
coin in imitation of Saint-Gaudens’ Ultra-high Relief
double eagle. The coin’s design is similar to Saint-Gaudens’
original although the motto IN GOD WE TRUST is added to
the reverse, which was not part of the original ultra-high
relief coin. This is a one year, one type bullion coin with
no proof mintage.
Other bullion coins made by the Mint are
the one ounce Silver Eagle dollar coin made from 1986 to
the present, the Platinum American Eagle Bullion coins,
made from 1997 to 2009, and the National Park bullion program,
which began in 2010. The silver eagle’s obverse is
based on the design of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar of
1916 to 1947. The reverse is a modified heraldic eagle.
The weight and fineness have been added along with the denomination.
The Platinum American Eagle coins have been made since 1997
and contain one ounce of pure platinum. There are fractional
denominations as well. From 1998 to 2007 the coins used
“Vistas of Liberty” for their reverse designs.
All the obverse designs showed Liberty facing forward, slightly
off to the left with LIBERTY seen at the top through the
rays. On the right is the date and IN GOD WE TRUST. In 2007,
a two coin set with one proof platinum half-ounce and one
“Enhanced Reverse” proof was issued. The National
Park silver bullion program consists of large size bullion
coins, which are actually medallions that correspond to
the designs of the National Parks quarters.