The $5 American Gold Eagle

As all gold coin investors and hobbyists know, the value of an American gold eagle is about more than just its weight in gold. Yes, being able to experience the weight of a gold coin in your hand so as to almost “feel its value” is one reason people seek to acquire these coins. However, there’s also a rich history to them that goes beyond their mere physicality. The $5 American Gold Eagle is not only uniquely designed, but the design itself has deep symbolic meaning for any American.

Facts About the $5 American Gold Eagle

History

Having first been printed and released during the Reagan era in 1986 by the U.S. Mint, the $5 American Gold Eagle was first authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. Today, it is recognized as the official gold bullion coin of the USA.

Before the Gold Bullion Coin Act, in 1933, these coins were prohibited by Congress to be printed due to Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts to combat the Great Depression. In time, America would become prosperous again, thus Congress passed the Gold Bullion Coin Act in light of Americans turning to foreign treasuries to help them in their endeavors to collect more gold. The passing of this act encouraged American citizens to begin investing in American gold.

In short, the American Gold Eagle was born from the need for Americans to invest in American gold.

Composition

The $5 American Gold Eagle is composed of 22K gold, and alloyed with 3% silver and 5.33% copper. This is a way of composing gold coins that goes all the way back to the British monarchy beginning with King Henry VIII, and is generally referred to as “Crown Gold”.

Many believe this to be one of the best ways of composing gold coins. This is not only because it makes coins more durable, but it also prevents them from being filed.

All of the gold that is included in a $5 American Gold Eagle must be sourced from the United States by law. The coin’s content and weight is guaranteed by the United States government. Not only that, but they are manufactured right from the U.S. Mint in West Point, New York. When you are holding a real, authentic $5 American Gold Eagle, you’re holding a piece of America right in your hand.

Design

There are many different levels of design of the $5 American Gold Eagle. Let’s start with:

The Font

On the coin’s obverse, you will find the full-length Lady LIberty. This is a classic rendition of her; olive branch in one hand, torch in the other, and her hair flowing in the wind. This design was originally created by Augustus Saint-Gardens, an American sculptor who, in 1904, was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to produce a design in the style of the Ancient Greek and Roman coins. This arose from the desire to make American coins as beautiful as possible.

Other beautiful designs created by Augustus Saint-Gardens include:

  • The grand equestrian monuments in Chicago’s Grant Park
  • The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on the Boston Common
  • The William Tecumseh Sherman monument in New York’s Central Park

He has also designed a number of other coins, including:

  • The $10 Indian Head Gold Eagle
  • The $20 Gold Double Eagle

As a result of his immense contribution to American coinage, Augustus Saint-Gardens’ home in New Hampshire is currently preserved as a National Historic Site. This is a place where visitors commonly come to take sculpture classes and attend summer concerts.

The Back

The reverse side of the $5 American Gold Eagle is one factor that distinguishes it so much from other coins. The U.S. Mint decided on the classic Saint-Gaudens rendition of Lady Liberty for the coin’s obverse, but for the reverse side, they went with a design by Miley Busiek (today known as Miley Tucker-Frost). She was one of the first female designers to have her work used for the design of a U.S. coin.

Her design features a family of bald eagles (in contrast to the usual single bald eagle featured on many gold coins). This was the result of her inspiration stemming from Reagan’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he emphasized the importance of the nation working together for the common good. This design shows a male bald eagle carrying an olive branch to his nest, in which his mate and their offspring await.

Other designs that Miley Busiek created include:

  • The Seal of the President at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas
  • The Peace Through Strength monument on Army Navy Drive in Virginia

The Year

$5 American Gold Eagles that were printed from 1986 to 1991 include the year of their printing in Roman numerals. In 1992, the U.S. Mint decided to change the design, and all subsequent coins feature the year of their printing in Arabic numbers.

Value

While the $5 American Gold Eagle has a clear dollar amount, these coins are usually priced based on the current market value of its gold content. Thus, the value of these coins is dynamic and fluctuates with the precious metals market.

While these coins could technically be used for common purchases at their $5 value, you’d be a fool to do so. The value of these coins is typically 20-30 times greater than their face value at any given time. For this reason, these coins are mainly possessed and traded purely as investments.

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  • Over 40 years of experience
  • Over 60 prestigious awards
  • National recognition as an industry leader
  • Service as a consultant for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the United States Mint, and the Royal Canadian Mint

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