The first release of the Gold American Eagle coin in 1986 was subsequent to the 1985 Gold Bullion Coin Act. It is the USA’s official gold bullion coin, which is best described with reference to the weight of the respective bullion coin e.g. the 1 ounce Gold American Eagle. The initial approval was to have the tenth, quarter, half, and one-ounce weights in both proof and bullion, but the former has been inconsistent. It is a 22-karat (crown gold) alloy with gold purity of 91.67%, 5.33% copper, and 3% silver. As with all US legal tender, the US Congress the face value was included on the coins.
With a reeded edge, the Gold American Eagle coin has a design with the inscription, “LIBERTY” and “[YEAR]”, and the full-length effigy of Lady Liberty whose hair and robe flow freely within the breeze while striding from the capital of the US. She holds out a torch in her right hand while her left one has an olive branch. Both signify light and peace. On the reverse, the Eagle coin features a family of bald eagles that are nesting. The male bald eagle has branches in its talons with its wings open as it flying back towards the nest. The female bald eagle appears to stand vigilantly on guard over her hatchlings in the nest. The obverse and reverse designs were by Saint-Gaudens and Miley Busiek respectively.
The Gold American Eagle coin comes in four sizes of one, half, quarter, and tenth ounces with diameters of 32.70 mm, 27 mm, 22 mm, and 16.50 mm respectively. The thicknesses range between 1.19 and 2.87 mm while the gross weights start from 3.393g for the tenth-ounce coin to 33.930g for the one-ounce coin.
The Gold American Eagle coin is minted by the US Department of Treasury called the United States Mint. The US Mint, which was established in 1792 in Philadelphia, is responsible for coinage production, control of bullion movement, trading and commerce although it does not produce paper currency. The Mint now has the Philadelphia, West Point, San Francisco, and Denver branches that mint coins.