About Numismatic Gold Coins

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    • The composition of gold coins has varied somewhat over the years, but most comprise 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper.


    • Gold coins in the United States were issued in dollars, quarter eagles ($2.50), three dollars, four dollars half eagles ($5), eagles ($10) and double eagles ($20). The designs for each changed several times over the course of their production. Most featured Lady Liberty or a Native American on the front and the bald eagle on the reverse.


    • The value of gold coins can fluctuate greatly among numismatists due to the price of gold, which is often turbulent due to the economy. Because American citizens were prohibited by Congress from holding monetary gold in 1934, many coins were sold back to the government and melted, making existing copies of gold coins rarer than most other coins struck by the U.S. Mint.

    Mint Locations

    • Gold coins were minted in several different cities over the years, including current mint locations of Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Former mints in New Orleans and Dahlonega, Ga.,--site of the country's first gold rush--also minted gold coins during their existence.


    • As with other coins, the numismatic grades of gold coins can vary greatly depending on condition. In general, a coin with little wear that retains most of its original luster will grade as uncirculated (MS-63) or better. A coin featuring plenty of contact marks by coming into contact with other objects and lots of wear of its features will grade as fine (F-12) or lower.

    Fun Fact

    • Americans were also prohibited from owning gold coinage abroad in 1961, in addition to the previous restrictions at home. Restrictions on owning gold coins were lifted Dec. 31, 1974.

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