2012 American Gold Eagles

American Gold Eagle - Click to Enlarge

American Gold Eagle - Click to Enlarge

Gold Eagles have been released by the United States Mint since 1986 making the 2012 American Eagle Gold Coins the twenty-seventh year in which they have been issued. Since that introduction, each Gold Eagle has been struck from 22-karat gold.

Congress authorized the American Eagle Gold Coins under the Bullion Coin Act of 1985. That Act sought to provide the bullion Eagles as a low-cost investment option for those looking to add small amounts of gold to their portfolios. It also sought to insure a market for gold mined in the United States and its territories.

President Ronald Reagan had these comments when he signed the Bullion Coin Act of 1985:

"I have given my approval today to S. 1639, the "Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985." I have previously indicated support for legislation to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and sell gold bullion coins. Indeed, when I issued Executive Order No. 12532, concerning South Africa, on September 9, 1985, I specifically requested that the Treasury conduct a study ``regarding the feasibility of . . . expeditiously seeking legislative authority to accomplish the goal of issuing such coins.'' Legislation prepared pursuant to this directive was under review within the administration at the time S. 1639 was passed by the Congress. Although I would have preferred that the Congress defer action on S. 1639 until the administration's proposal could have been submitted and duly considered, I support the principal objectives of this legislation.

I must note, however, that certain provisions are troublesome. Specifically, enactment of this legislation may raise questions about the willingness of the United States to honor its international obligations. In this regard, my administration will strongly support the prompt enactment of appropriate legislative clarifications, should any prove to be necessary. In addition, I am also concerned about a provision of this legislation that would effectively prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from using gold held in the United States' reserves in producing gold coins. In my view, this restriction denies the United States a potentially major source of revenue. At a time when we have committed ourselves to eliminating the budget deficit over the next several years, a limitation of this nature is especially unfortunate. Therefore, I am instructing the Department of the Treasury to work closely with the Congress to provide the Secretary of the Treasury with authority in minting gold coins to use gold from sources, including the Nation's reserves, that the Secretary deems necessary or appropriate."

Additional terms of the Act required that the bullion coins be struck to meet demand. That demand sky-rocketed in 2009 leading the US Mint to cancel production of associated proof and uncirculated Gold Eagles as it could not procure enough blank planchets. Since then, Congress has modified the law to allow the Secretary of the Treasury the discretion to also produce numismatic Eagles even if bullion demand is not being met.

Bullion Gold Eagles are struck in one ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce and 1/10 ounce sizes with face values of $50. $25, $10 and $5, respectively. Those same sizes are also typically struck in the Proof Gold Eagles and have also been struck in the Uncirculated Gold Eagles, both of which are produced for numismatic purposes.

The bullion Eagles are the only gold bullion coins whose weight and purity are guaranteed by the United States government. As such, investors may purchase them and add them to their individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

2012 American Gold Eagle Design

Showcasing a design many to consider being one of the most beautiful ever struck on an American coin, the obverse contains Augustus Saint-Gaudens depiction of Liberty first seen on the 1907-1933 $20 Double Eagle Gold Piece. She is shown in a flowing gown with a torch in one hand leading the way and an olive branch in the other. Behind her, rays of sunshine are seen along with the US Capitol Building. The inscriptions of "LIBERTY" and the year of minting are also shown on the obverse.

Mrs. Miley Frances Busiek designed the reverse of the coin which shows the nest of a family of eagles with one adult soaring above. The reverse includes the inscriptions of "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the size and face value of the strike.

2012 American Gold Eagle Specifications

Mintmark: W for Uncirculated and Proof, None for bullion
Composition: 91.67% gold, 3% silver, 5.33% copper
Weight: 33.930 grams or 1.0909 troy ounces
Diameter: 32.7 mm or 1.287 inches
Date of Issue: 2012
Mintages: Based on Demand
Obverse Designer/Sculptor: Augustus St. Gaudens
Reverse Designer/Sculptor: Mrs. Miley Frances Busiek

Gold Eagle Resources