The 1/4 oz. American Gold Eagle was authorized by the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. This act permitted the created of the American Gold Eagle coin series as the first official Gold Bullion coin of the U.S. The coins are issued in four different denominations of four different weights: $50 1 oz., $25 1/2 oz., $10 1/4 oz., $5 1/10 oz. These coins are issued in a variety of finishes as well – a plain business strike for the bullion coin and Proof, Reverse Proof and Burnished finishes for collectors.
One of the key features of this American Gold Eagle series is that the design on its obverse is an American classic taken from Augustus Saint-Gauden’s 1907 Double Eagle. It pictures Liberty standing with sun rays shining out from behind her. This design was specifically created under influence by President Theodore Roosevelt to revolutionize America’s coinage with beautiful designs. It has met with as much success on the Gold Eagle as on the original Double Eagle design, as this coin is immensely popular.
The reverse design, created by Miley Busiek, pictures a family of bald eagles in their nest. This new design was created just for the American Gold Eagle, and it brings the aspect of freedom to the design. Although this was not already an American classic like Saint-Gauden’s, it has certainly become one during the lifetime of the American Eagle series.
With a diameter of only 22 mm and a thickness of 1.83 mm, it is amazing how detailed the design appears. Per the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, this American Gold Eagle can only be struck out of gold that was mined inside of the U.S. This gold was refined to purity and mixed with copper to create an alloy of .9167 gold and a balance of copper. The resulting weight of this 1/4 Troy oz. gold coin is 8.48 grams.