American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins are the world’s bestselling gold bullion coins. Gold Eagles, as American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins are often called, are 22-karat (91.67% gold, 8.33% copper) and come in four sizes: 1-oz, 1/2-oz, 1/4-oz and 1/10-oz. The 1-oz coins are the more popular sizes.
Because American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins are 22-karat, they are resistant to scratches, dings, dents and other damages that easily befall 24-karat (pure) gold coins. Historically, the Western World has preferred alloyed coins because less gold is lost when alloyed coins are used in commerce.
Double Eagle gold coins, which were the $20 gold coins used as money in the United States until 1933, are 90% gold, 10% copper. Actually, the US Mint minted all old US gold coins with the same alloy. An alloy that is 90% gold, 10% copper is often referred to as 900 fine gold.
Most old European coins are 90% gold, examples being Austrian 100 Coronas,Hungarian 100 Koronas, British Sovereigns and the 20-franc gold coins minted by several European countries. Mexican 50 Pesos gold coins also are 900 fine gold.
Gold Eagles carry legal tender face values. The 1-oz coin is $50; the 1/2-oz $25; the 1/4-oz $10 and the 1/10-oz $5. In reality, the face values are meaningless because the coins sell for value of their gold content, plus small premiums.
American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins come from the Mint in durable plastic tubes. The 1-oz Gold Eagles come twenty to a tube; the 1/2-oz forty to a tube, the 1/4-oz forty to a tube and the 1/10-oz fifty to a tube.
More precisely, the Mint ships Gold Eagles in “Mint boxes” of 500 ounces. A box of 1-oz Gold Eagles contains 25 tubes, 20 coins to a tube; a box of 1/2-oz Gold Eagles contains 25 tubes, 40 coins to a tube; a box of 1/4-oz Gold Eagles contains 50 tubes, 40 coins to a tube; and, a box of 1/10-oz Gold Eagles contains 100 tubes, 50 coins to a tube.
Mint boxes are made of a rigid plastic. Gold Eagle Mint boxes are red, and Silver Eagle Mint boxes are green. A Gold Eagle Mint box measures ** X ** X **, whereas a Silver Eagle mint box is larger at 15″X9″X5″.
Gold Eagle coins are sold via the classic manufacturer-wholesale-retailer distribution system. The US Mint is the manufacturer; bullion houses are the wholesalers; and retailers such as CMI Gold & Silver Inc. sell the coins to investors.
The minimum order for gold coins at CMIGS is ten ounces.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, the US Mint has dedicated its production to the 1-oz Gold Eagles and the 1-oz Silver Eagles. The fractional-ounce Gold Eagle coins for 2009 were not released until December. Although the Mint produced more fractional-ounce Gold Eagles dated 2009 than in the immediate prior years, they are difficult to find and when found carry premiums well above premiums at which the coins have been sold in the past.
Investors wanting fractional-ounce gold bullion coins may have to settle for fractional-ounce Krugerrands, which come in the same four sizes as Gold Eagles. Krugerrands, like American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins, are 22-karat, and they are packaged the same as are Gold Eagles. Actually, it is more accurate to say that Gold Eagles are packaged the same as Krugerrands are packaged.
From 1975 until 1985, Krugerrands were the world’s bestselling gold bullion coins, and they dominated the US gold bullion coin market. However, in 1985 Congress banned the importation of Krugerrands as a slap on the wrist of White-ruled South Africa, the source of Krugerrands. The ban created a huge void in the gold bullion coin market in the US.
To fill the void, the US Mint introduced American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins. Not coincidentally, the Mint opted to mimic the Krugerrands with its new Gold Eagles: 22-karat and four sizes with dimensions identical to the four Krugerrand sizes. Further, Gold Eagles were the first, and still are, the only 22-karat gold coins turned out by the US Mint. It was great move as American Eagle Gold Coins have become immensely popular.
The Krugerrand ban lasted until 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected South Africa’s first black president. Afterwards, the South Africans made an attempt to reintroduce Krugerrands into the US. However, by then Gold Eagles had captured the gold bullion coin market in the US.
Today, Krugerrands are imported only when not enough Gold Eagles are available. Insomuch as the US Mint is not producing fractional-ounce American Eagle Gold Coins, fractional-ounce Krugerrands are being imported and generally are available.
At CMI Gold & Silver Inc, we always have recommended gold bullion coins over numismatic and “semi-numismatic” coins for several reasons. First, and most important, gold bullion coins provide the most gold for the money invested. They carry small premiums, 2% to 7%, depending on quantity and which coins. Numismatic coins routinely carry premiums of 20%, 30%, 50% and sometimes higher.
Second, and perhaps just as important as getting the most gold for the money, it is easy to ascertain the value of gold bullion coins when it comes time to liquidate. Selling numismatic coins, especially if bought from a telemarketer, can be a nightmare. We have had many clients fly to Phoenix from all over the country to sell their numismatic coins because they could not get fair prices where they lived (or where they bought the coins.)
If you would like to discuss buying and selling gold (or silver) with CMIGS, call us at 800-528-1380. We take calls 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST, Mondays through Fridays. The minimum gold order at CMIGS is ten ounces. Our Doing Business with CMIGS page provides an overview of buying and selling gold and silver with us.