Proof gold coins are valuable collector’s editions, not only because they carry the market value of gold, but also because their rare proof status makes them even more valuable. Stunning American Gold Eagle Proofs are a wonderful addition to any collection.
Proof coins were traditionally the first coins minted from a set, meant to check the dies of the coin and to archive the coins. Today, however, these types of coins are made specifically for collectors and a special minting technique is used to give them their glossy finish along with a high level of detail.
Proof Gold American Eagles are popular collectible gold bullion coins minted by the United States Mint. First introduced in 1986, American Gold Eagles are offered in four sizes: one ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/10 ounce. They contain the stated weight of gold in troy ounces and are alloyed with a small amount of silver and copper to give the coin more durability.
The front of the coin features Lady Liberty holding a torch and an olive branch and states the mint year. This design comes from the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin which was introduced in the early 20th century. On the back is a male eagle returning to a nest containing a female eagle and its hatchlings. The reverse also states the weight of the gold in troy ounces and the face value of the coin.
Since the 1986 introduction of the Proof American Gold Eagle, the United States Mint has featured the same design elements on the obverse and reverse. With the arrival of the 35th anniversary in 2021, the US Mint decided to move forward with a redesign of its reverse visuals. Both the Silver Eagle and Gold Eagle received new designs of the American bald eagle on the reverse of the coins, each one getting its own distinctive design element. Created by Jennie Norris, a member of the Artistic Infusion Program at the United States Mint, Ms. Norris created the following image:
Several differences exist between minting proofs and regular coins. The dies that strike the proof coins are treated with chemicals. Standard coins are struck with the dies only once. Proof coins, however, are struck twice or more, which doesn’t usually create any discernible doubling of the images, but does cause the detail on the coin to appear quite a bit sharper than an ordinary coin. Proof coins are also handled individually and with great care.
Because of the way proof coins are minted, the detailing of the design takes on a frosted look, while the flat parts are almost mirror-like in their smoothness.
The 22-karat alloy which composes American Gold Eagles is known as crown gold, a high standard that hadn’t been used in gold coins since 1834. The U.S. Mint raised the standard from 90 percent gold to 91.67 percent specifically for the American Gold Eagle, setting it apart from other gold bullion coins.
Just like circulated and uncirculated coins, proof coins have their own scale of grading. Grading companies like the NCG or PCGS use the prefix PF or PR to denote proof grading, then assign a number denoting quality, which will be between 60 and 70 unless the proof coin has accidentally made it into circulation.
Depending on how well the proof Gold Eagle was made, handled, and stored, small imperfections on the coin can occur, which change the grade. A PF70 or PR70 is extremely rare and means there are no discernible imperfections caused in post-production, even when magnified at 5x.
Investors prefer graded coins because gold bullion coins aren’t only worth the gold’s market price. Proof coins are worth more the higher their grade or rarity. Having a coin graded by a professional company ensures that any investor is getting exactly what they are looking for and is guaranteed a coin in the exact condition that the label states.
Proof coins are rarer than regular coins because the mints create fewer of them, which means mints sell them at a higher price than the same standard bullion coins. This gives them a high premium among collectors, whether or not they’ve been graded.
The number of proof coins minted each year is a major factor in determining the rarity of these coins. Certain years, like 1998, 2001, and 2002, had lower numbers of one-ounce Gold Eagle proofs minted than average, for example. Because proof coins are rare and specifically made to be collectible, the specific value of gold and the fluctuation in the gold market has less to do with the pricing than with uncirculated bullion coins.
Generally, the ratio of proof coins to uncirculated coins is one to five and can often be less. Each year, the mint takes orders for proof runs, and once those orders have been filled, the only place to obtain proof coins is through dealers or private sellers.
Proof Gold Eagles are a beautiful addition to any coin collection. Explore the Proof Gold Eagle coins available on JMBullion.com, and add some of these stunning coins to your collection today.
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