Bullion American Gold Eagle Coins
The American Gold Eagle coin is one of two (with the Gold Buffalo Coins) official U.S. Mint gold bullion coins. They are hardened 22-karat gold mixed with trace amounts of silver and copper to guarantee the soft gold component is balanced with rigidity. This creates a wear resistance against cuts and marks commonly seen on pure .999 fine gold coins.
These coins are guaranteed by the U.S. government and carry a legal tender face value.
Certified American Gold Eagle Bullion Information
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service grade coins on the Sheldon Numeric Scale between 1-70. This scale was developed in 1948 by Dr. William Sheldon to identify the condition of coins meticulously.
Bullion gold coins are graded with a strike type, including:
- MS: Mint State, which applies to grades 60-70 and identifies coins struck similarly as coins in circulation
- PF: Proof, which are coins struck using a unique method to attract coin collectors
- SP: A hybrid strike between Mint State and Proof
Most Certified American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins are rated at either MS 69 or MS 70:
- MS 69 coins are considered almost perfect coins with an allowance of up to two minor imperfections and must still maintain the original mint luster
- MS 70 coins are considered perfect with no imperfections even under magnification, and must still maintain their original mint luster
Proof American Gold Eagle Coins
Proof coins are designed to catch the attention of collectors. When they are struck, the striking process leaves behind a mirror-like, glossy finish making them more appealing and collection-worthy.
Another main difference between bullion and proof coins is the coin’s “mint mark.” A mint mark is a letter stamped into the coin to show where it was minted. The American Gold Eagle coins typically have a “W,” which stands for the West Point Mint facility.
Certified American Gold Eagle Proof Coins
When certifying proof coins, the NGS and PCGS use the same Sheldon Scale to grade both bullion and proof coins. However, proof coins have an additional grade classification. In addition to the PF 69 and PF 70 grade, which have the same grading definitions as bullion’s MS 69 and MS 70, proof coins can be graded with a UCAM/DCAM.
UCAM/DCAM, short for Ultra-Cameo and Deep-Cameo, refers to proof coins with a strong, frosted finish on the design set and a mirrored background. These contrasting finishes are meant to make the design appear as if it’s floating above the background, another eye-catching quality.