Certified Half Ounce Gold Eagles

Certified Half Ounce Gold Eagles

The American Gold Eagle is the official coin of the US and is the investment preference of most collectors and financiers. With its first appearance over 30 years ago, the American Gold Eagle is the most recognized gold bullion coin in the country!

Offering its loyal followers a highly collectible numismatic value, along with its undoubtable precious metals purity, the American Gold Eagle is the perfect fit for any investment goal: long or short term. Each year, investors anxiously anticipate the release of the American Gold Eagle.

Design of the American Gold Eagle

The design used for the American Gold Eagle was created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907 and repurposed in 1986 by Miley Busiek. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was an American Sculptor, who specialized in the ideals of the American Renaissance. His design, of the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin, was the inspirational design of the American Gold Eagle. Although some aspects of the original design have been updated, such as the number of stars that hug the edge of the rim, the American Gold Eagle is a modern homage to the classic.

The obverse design, of the American Gold Eagle, showcases Lady Liberty, dressed in a flowing robe, carrying a torch and olive branch in either hand. The Lady Liberty design has been used as a symbol of patriotism since the US began minting their own currency and her message of courage and power still reigns true. The word, "Liberty," is written above her head, and 50 small stars encircle the coin's rim.

The Founding Fathers determined that the Bald Eagle would become the nation's emblem; representing strength, independence, and leadership. Miley Busiek features a Bald Eagle family, on the reverse of the American Gold Eagle; a male, female, and a hungry baby. The representation of these three eagles depicts the country's strength,in the past, present, and future. The king of the birds of prey nests within a bed made of olive branches with the coin's weight, purity, and monetary value written underneath the eagle family.

History of the American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagles are the first gold coins to be minted since 1933, in the United States. 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 US mines.

Many people confuse the American Gold Eagles with the "double eagles" of the Pre-1933 gold coin program. The double eagles are the $10 gold coins that once held the title of highest monetary value gold coin. In the 1820's and 30's, Congress was asked, on multiple occasions, to authorize the minting of a new gold coin. During the famous gold rushes, there were very large transactions taking place that would leave traders and prospectors with pockets full of small denomination gold coins. This system was neither safe or ideal for anyone so a larger denomination gold coin was the only answer. The $20 Liberty was first produced in 1850, maintaining its design until 1907, when the $20 Saint-Gaudens design took over.

Production of the American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagle coin program rivals other popular gold coin series worldwide. Each coin is guaranteed by the US Mint and Treasury for it's weight and purity. The US Mint prides itself on the high quality and precise production value of the American Gold Eagle. To make the perfect coin, the process is extremely meticulous. The 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. The individualized care, per coin, results in a clean, crisply minted product. Investors and collectors are aware of the caution that is used minting the American Gold Eagle, making it the official bullion coin in the United States.

Certified 1/2 oz American Gold Eagles

Learning about the Sheldon Numeric Scale isn't necessarily a priority for investors but can deem useful when looking to purchase Certified 1/2 oz American Gold Eagles. Dr. William Sheldon was an American psychologist by trade and a numismatist as a hobby. In 1948, Sheldon developed the Sheldon Numeric Scale, which became the foundation of grading and certifying coins. The Sheldon Numeric Scale dictates that a coin's condition can fall between 1 and 70. Before this groundbreaking system, coins were graded mostly by physical appearance and could receive one of three grades.

When purchasing a Certified 1/2 oz American Gold Eagle, there is information provided on the coin holder that is important to know. The first thing to notice is the coin's strike type:

  • MS: Short for "Mint-State;" refers to coins that have never been in circulation and are the same condition as when they were originally produced. Mint State coins will receive a grade ranging from 60-70 on the Sheldon Numeric Scale.
  • PF/PR: Abbreviation for "Proof;" refers to the method of coin manufacture, made for eye appeal among collectors.
  • SP: A "specimen" coin is a combination of strike type (somewhere in the middle of Mint State and Proof).

A Certified American Gold Eagle (or any certified bullion coin) will most likely come in one of two grades:

  • MS/PF70: Bullion coins that have kept their original mint luster and contain zero post production flaws.
  • MS/PF69: Bullion coins that contain 2 or less minute imperfections but still carry their original mint luster.

Other certification terms often used for bullion coins:

  • First Strike: PCGS term designates coins that have been certified within the first 30 days of production by the contributing mint.
  • Early Release: NGC term designates coins that have been certified within the first 30 days of production by the contributing mint.
  • UCAM/DCAM: Shortened for Ultra-Cameo and Deep-Cameo, these terms refer to the coin's visual brilliance that is apparent on the surface by an unyielding, frosted finish and a deeply mirrored background luster.

Important Dates

The amount of 1/2 oz American Gold Eagles produced yearly varies. Although the American Gold Eagles were first released in 1986, making it a high demand year, that was also one of the highest minted coins in the program. Since the American Gold Eagle's value is dependent on its gold purity and its numismatic value, collectors and numismatists tend to look for the lower minted dates. When it comes to the 1/2 oz American Gold Eagle, most of the dates minted carry much lower mintages than the 1 oz. In fact, there are only a few years where the mintage went above 100,000. The majority of the 1/2 oz eagles have low mintages but here are the most minted 1/2 oz coins:

  • 1986: 599,566 minted
  • 1998: 169,029 minted
  • 1999: 263,013 minted
  • 2009: 110,000 minted

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