Quarter Ounce Certified Proof Gold Eagles

Quarter Ounce Certified Proof Gold Eagles

The American Gold Eagles are produced annually, by the US Mint, and carry the same design year after year. In order to preserve the crispness of the strike, the US Mint throws out the dies every year, and makes brand new ones for the succeeding year. The American Gold Eagles are 22-karat pure, containing an alloy of silver and copper lending to the coin's resistance to wear. Compared to other gold bullion coins, the American Gold Eagle is a larger and stronger coin.

The American Gold Eagles were first released in 1986, but the Proof American Gold Eagles were minted in just 1 oz increments. By 1988, the Proof American Gold Eagle Coin became available in four sizes: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz. Unlike the brilliant uncirculated coins, that are only packaged in tubes of 10, the Proof American Gold Eagle's packaging is more aesthetically pleasing. The coin itself is encased in an appropriately fitted capsule then placed into a velvet presentation box with its Certificate of Authenticity. The presentation box is then protected by an official US Mint cardboard box.

Since the Proof American Gold Eagles are not minted, at the same rate as the brilliant uncirculated coins, their value is higher and is the ideal investment not just for collectors, but investors as well. The proof finish is described as mirror-like and although it contains the same alloy as the brilliant uncirculated version, making it a more durable coin, the proof finish is more sensitive to contact, resulting in an easily scratched coin. Numismatists prefer keeping their Proof Gold Eagles in their original packaging for protection.

Background of the American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagle is the United States' official gold bullion coin and remains an homage to one of the most influential gold coins in the nation's history. The obverse follows the artistic design created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, for the $20 Gold Double Eagles, issued from 1907-1933. Saint-Gaudens was exclusively picked by president, Theodore Roosevelt, to design an image that would be a part of US history, while also reinvigorating US gold coinage.

Since the passage of the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, the American Gold Eagle Bullion coins have been diligently produced each year. Ronald Reagan signed the bill into action, forever changing the US precious metals industry. The first American Eagle was released in 1986 and was offered in sizes of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz.

Design History of the American Gold Eagle

Repurposed in 1986 for the American Gold Eagle, the infamous design was created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907. 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 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. Dressed in a light robe, Lady Liberty is depicted as a warrior, with only a torch and an olive branch as her weapons. The word, "Liberty," is written above her head, and 50 small stars encircle the coin's rim.

As per the country's Founding Fathers' request, the Bald Eagle became 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.

Production of the American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagle minting process varies slightly depending on the ideal finish of the coin. There are three finishes offered for the American Gold Eagle Bullion coins: Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof, and Burnished. The Burnished finish is only offered in 1 oz increments when production was halted in 2009, prohibiting other sizes to be minted to save money. The Proof American Gold Eagle has been minted alongside its Brilliant Uncirculated counterpart since 1986.

Each American Gold Eagle 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 Proof American Gold Eagles

Certified coins are placed in airtight, official holders, marked by the grade they received and the name of the certifying grading agency. Since Certified coins' condition is more specified than a Non-Certified coin, their value can greatly increase. Collectors and numismatists appreciate Certified coins since most of the work is done for them and they can just reap the benefits of owning a Certified coin.

There are many coin grading agencies out there but only two that are revered worldwide. The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) are two companies that issue coins their grades. These companies not only certify coins, but they also encase the graded coin into an official holder, preserving the coin and marking the holder with its earned grade. This alone has changed the coin collecting game, while also offering a peace of mind for collectors and investors.

Purchasing a Certified 1/4 oz Proof American Gold Eagle

When investing in Certified coins, there are a few traits of the coin that are important to know before moving forward. The most important trait is the coin's grade. Learning about the Sheldon Numeric Scale isn't necessarily a priority for investors but can deem useful when looking to purchase Certified 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.

Certified Coin Terms

  • 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.

Highest Mintages

Since the Proof American Gold Eagles are produced at a slower pace, than the BU coins, they also have much lower mintages than their bullion counterparts. Below are the highest minted Proof 1/4 oz American Gold Eagles and their mintages for reference.

  • 1988-98,028
  • 1990-62,674
  • 1991-50,839

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