The Gold and Silver American Eagle has a rich and colorful history. The modern coins are fashioned after the designs of renowned artist and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens which were used on the Gold Double Eagle from 1907 to 1933. The redesign of the coin was issued by President Theodore Roosevelt after his desire for more beautiful American coinage. This led to the design recognized and revered today by many to be the most beautiful American coin ever minted.
The obverse of the coin features Lady Liberty who represents victory. She is holding a torch to symbolize enlightenment and an olive brand to represent peace. She is backed by sunrays and the United States Capitol. The reverse of the coin feature a male and female bald eagle with their young to represent family, strength, and patriotism.
Coins minted from 1986 through 1991 are dated with Roman numerals whereas every 1 oz Gold American Eagle minted after 1992 is branded with Arabic numerals. These Gold bullion coins are available in multiple sizes including 1/10 troy oz, 1/4 troy oz, 1/2 troy oz and 1 troy oz. Each piece is identical in design save the markings on the reverse side of the coin that indicate its weight and face value.
In 1933, because of the Great Depression, the United States government made it illegal for citizens to hold monetary Gold. Citizens were required to sell their Gold certificates, coins, and bullion to the U.S. Treasury save a few exceptions including jewelry and numismatic coins. In 1975, private ownership of Gold was again made legal and in 1986, American mints began to make bullion coins. Pursuant to the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, these coins are made exclusively from American Gold.
The coin is minted at the West Point Mint in New York. The mint deals in large amounts of precious metals and is responsible for striking all proof and uncirculated American Eagles in Gold, Silver, and Platinum as well as all Gold commemorative coins.