Burnished American Gold Eagles

Burnished American Gold Eagles

Until 2006, the US Mint only produced Brilliant Uncirculated American Gold Eagles and Proof finishes. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of the first gold bullion coin in the US, a Burnished coin was made. A burnished coin was produced for each size variety (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz), but switched to only minting 1 oz coins in 2009, due to a stall in proof and burnished Gold Eagle production. All Burnished American Gold Eagles sport a "W" mint-mark, signifying its place of origin: the West Point Mint. Burnished American Gold Eagles come in a capsule with a presentation box and Certificate of Authenticity.

Production of the Burnished American Gold Eagle

The US Mint claims that the actual process of minting the burnished coins is very similar to the proof version but the outcome is quite different. Burnished coins greatly resemble brilliant uncirculated Gold Eagles, wherein they carry that same frosted finish, instead of a glossy one. The complicated and precise process begins with a blank put through a spinning drum. When that blank comes out, on the other end, a specialist handles the coin with white gloves to ensure maximum care. The coin is then placed, by hand, into the coin press, where a high pressure strike is released. This gives the burnished coin a more refined look, making every little detail sharper. Although the finish, of the burnished coin, has a matted look, the background is more mirror-like, giving the illusion that Lady Liberty is floating.

History of the American Gold Eagle

When the Gold Bullion Act of 1985 was passed, the legislation demanded that there would be four weight sizes offered and two different types of coins minted. This resulted in the American Gold Eagle containing the 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz in sizes. There were also two conditions minted, brilliant uncirculated and proof (although the proof condition was only offered in 1 oz increments at first). The legislation also specified that the precious metals used, in the making of the American Gold Eagle, would come from domestic sources. Depending on the year, size of the coin, and market demand, the Gold Eagles' mintages vary greatly. The American Gold Eagle is released annually and displays the same design. The US Mint throws out its dies each year to ensure a crisply minted coin every time.

The American Gold Eagle is considered to be 22-karats, instead of the ideal 24-karats. The 22-karat alloy is also referred to as "crown gold" since this was the English standard of metal content and hasn't been used since 1834. The American Gold Eagle actually contains one solid ounce of .999 pure gold, and it also weighs more than one ounce, due to the silver and copper added. This alloy of metals results in a wear-resistant coin, allowing for it to uphold over time. Both the weight and gold purity are authorized by the US Mint and are recognized, by the US Congress, as true gold bullion coins.

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