America’s Golden Eagle bullion coins were first issued in 1986, the same year as Australia’s gold Nugget coins were first introduced. Unlike the Australian Nugget, the Gold Eagle is 91.67% pure gold - the rest of the alloy being made up of copper (5.33%) and silver (3%). Although the coins contain a comparable quantity of pure gold, the alloyed metals make each coin slightly larger and heavier than their ‘four 9s’ contemporaries. For this reason, the ‘1 oz.’ Gold Eagle actually weighs 1.0909 troy ounces.
The face features an image of the spirit of Liberty designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and the reverse features two eagles – one in flight – designed by Miley Busiek. The eagles depicted are the national bird of the United States of America, the bald eagle.
Between 1986 and 1991 the US mint produced Gold Eagles dated with Roman Numerals. However, from 1992 until the present, the dates are in the international standard Arabic numbers.
The term ‘Eagle’ and even ‘Gold Eagle’ can be confusing when referring to American coinage, as America printed actual gold specie until 1933 with an eagle on the reverse, and these $10 coins were also referred to as ‘Gold Eagles’.