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1997-W $50 proof Gold Eagle
1997 was the 12th year of production for the American Gold Eagle proof coin series.
In 1997 precious metal prices declined with gold in particular averaging $332.39 for the year from the 1996 average of $389.09. As a result demand for American Gold Eagles increased sharply, especially for the $50, 1 oz. coin, whose sales tripled from 1996 levels (from 189,148 to 664,508). This sharp increase also pushed the $50 gold eagle back to the no. 1 spot globally among gold bullion coins, a position it had not had since 1993.
But while sales of bullion Gold Eagles were up in 1997, sales of proof coins declined. For the $50 coin this meant a reduction from the 1996 level of 36,153 coins to 32,999 coins in 1997, and that includes 4,965 coins which were sold in a special Impressions of Liberty Set issued to mark the inauguration in 1997 of the American Platinum Eagle coin program.
1997 was also significant for the American Gold eagle program because maximum mintages for each denomination were reduced by the U.S. Mint. For the $50 coin mintages were cut from a maximum authorized level of 55,000 to 45,000. The Mint announced that this move was part of a concerted approach that would be extended to other products in an effort to make its coins more appealing to collectors and enable buyers to purchase coins that retain their value over time.
The approach at least initially had some success as the $5 Gold Eagle, whose maximum mintage was cut sharply from 70,000 to 45,000, sold out in nine weeks.
Why purchase this NGC PF69 UC 1997-W Gold Eagle $50 coin?
NGC has graded 1,953 of these coins. Of those 69% or 1,353 coins were graded proof 69, while 30% or 586 coins graded proof 70. Compared to the ratio of 69 to 70 coins in more recent years, the 1997-W saw a rather low number of 70 coins. As a result premiums for the proof 70 coins are very substantial, and this proof 69 example is a much more affordable coin of the same year.
It would make a fine addition to a collection proof Gold Eagles.
|Year of Issue:||1997|
|Display Weight:||1 oz|
|Weight in Grams:||31.1032 g|
|Weight in Ounces:||1 oz|
|Legal Tender:||United States|
|Obverse Design:||Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle design|
|Reverse Design:||Family of Eagles|
|Reverse Designer/Engraver:||Augustus Saint-Gaudens|
|Obverse Designer/Engraver:||Miley Busiek|