1986 Proof Gold American Eagle - 1 Troy Oz (First Year of Issue)

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The 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin

Introduction to the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin

The 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin is a treasure trove of numismatic significance and artistic excellence. As one of the inaugural releases in the American Gold Eagle series, this coin holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and investors alike. With its captivating design, meticulously crafted from 22-karat gold, this proof edition of the American Gold Eagle series is a true masterpiece. In this exploration, we will delve into the historical context, design elements, composition, specifications, and the reasons why this coin continues to captivate the world of numismatics.

Historical Significance of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin

The year 1986 marked a pivotal moment in the history of American coinage. It was the year when the United States Mint introduced the American Gold Eagle series, a program aimed at producing gold bullion coins for both collectors and investors. This initiative was a response to the passage of the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, which paved the way for the minting of gold coins for investment purposes, a practice that had been dormant for decades.

The mid-1980s was a period of economic growth and optimism in the United States, characterized by the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The issuance of the American Gold Eagle coins reflected a renewed interest in gold as an investment vehicle. During this era, the precious metals market experienced heightened activity, with gold being considered a popular hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.

The launch of the American Gold Eagle series, including the 1986 proof coin, marked America's resurgence in the global gold coin market. It positioned the United States Mint as a competitor to other renowned international gold coins, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf and the South African Krugerrand. This historical context underscores the 1986 American Gold Eagle's importance as a symbol of America's return to the gold coin market and its broader economic implications.

The Design of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin

The obverse side of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin features an adaptation of the iconic Lady Liberty design by the renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This design originally graced the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold double eagle coin, minted from 1907 to 1933. In this depiction, Lady Liberty stands tall, striding forward with a torch of enlightenment in her right hand and an olive branch symbolizing peace in her left. She is set against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol and the rays of the sun. Her hair flows freely in the wind, and her robe drapes elegantly around her. Bordering the edge of the coin are 50 stars, representing the 50 states, a modification from the original 46 stars (46 states) in Saint-Gaudens' time. To the right of the coin is the year listed in Roman characters 'MCMLXXXVI,' meaning '1986.' This design beautifully captures the spirit of freedom and the essence of American ideals, making the coin not just a piece of currency but a work of art.

On the reverse side of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin, we find a design crafted by sculptor Miley Busiek, in collaboration with engraver Sherl Joseph Winter. This design portrays a family of eagles, symbolizing American unity and strength. The scene depicts a male eagle in flight, returning to his nest where a female eagle and their hatchlings await. The male eagle carries an olive branch, reinforcing themes of peace and family unity. This imagery is set against a backdrop of the United States, with the words "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum," and "In God We Trust" encircling it. Included on this reverse side is the Troy ounce weight and fifty-dollar face value, written as "1 oz. Fine Gold ~ 50 Dollars." The design reflects the enduring values of American society, emphasizing family, strength, and unity, and captures a sense of patriotic pride.

Composition and Specifications of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin

The 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin is distinguished by its meticulously defined purity, weight, and dimensions. Crafted from 22-karat gold, it boasts a gold content of 91.67%, complemented by an alloy of 3% silver and 5.33% copper. This composition, known as crown gold, is traditional for gold coins, enhancing their durability while preserving their shine. The most commonly sought-after 1 oz version of this coin has a weight of about 1 troy ounce or roughly 31.1 grams. The series also includes fractional sizes of 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz, each proportionate in weight. In terms of size, the 1 oz coin measures approximately 32.7 mm in diameter and 2.87 mm in thickness, with the fractional denominations being correspondingly smaller.

The 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin was produced at the West Point Mint in New York, as indicated by the mint mark "W" on the obverse side. Only a limited quantity of these coins were produced - 446,290 minted - making them inherently rare and highly collectible. These precise specifications, strictly regulated by the U.S. Mint, guarantee the high quality and authenticity of each coin.

The minting process of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin involves several stages that distinguish it from ordinary bullion coins. Proof coins are struck with special care, using polished dies and planchets (coin blanks), to ensure a more detailed and mirror-like finish. The dies are often struck multiple times on each coin, enhancing the design's sharpness and clarity.

Unique features of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin include its frosted, detailed images that contrast against the mirror-like background, giving it a distinctive cameo effect. This meticulous process results in coins with exceptional luster and detail, making them highly prized among collectors. Additionally, the proof coins typically have lower mintages compared to their bullion counterparts, adding to their rarity and collectibility.

Distinguishing the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin from Standard Bullion Coins

The 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin stands apart from standard bullion American Gold Eagles in several significant ways. Its distinctive finish, characterized by a mirror-like background and frosted, finely detailed images, creates a striking cameo effect. This contrasts with the more matte appearance of bullion coins.

Produced in smaller quantities, the proof coins are rarer and often more coveted by collectors, whereas bullion coins are primarily targeted at investors for their precious metal content. Additionally, the proof coins are typically sold in protective display cases with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), emphasizing their status as collectibles.

In contrast, bullion coins are usually offered in simpler packaging, focusing on their value as an investment in gold. These differences make the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin a preferred choice for numismatic collectors, valued for its artistic design and rarity in addition to its gold content. Although Money Metals still prefers bullion coins over Proof coins, adding a 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof coin is still a solid option for anyone with a precious metal portfolio.

Why Collect the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin?

The market performance and rarity of the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin have been influenced by several factors. As a relatively early issue in the American Gold Eagle series, it enjoys a degree of rarity that appeals to collectors. This rarity, combined with its historical significance and aesthetic appeal, can drive its market value above the historical gold value. The coin's performance in the market also depends on the fluctuations in gold prices and the overall demand among collectors and investors. Typically, proof coinsThe 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin is a numismatic masterpiece, marking the inception of the American Gold Eagle series in response to the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985. It features an iconic Lady Liberty design by Augustus Saint-Gaudens on the obverse and a family of eagles on the reverse, symbolizing American unity. Crafted from 22-karat gold, this coin boasts a gold content of 91.67% and is renowned for its exquisite proof finish. Its historical significance, distinctive design, and limited mintage make it a prized collectible and investment piece, connecting collectors and investors to America's rich coinage history.

A gold bullion investor should consider purchasing a 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin for several reasons:

Firstly, the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin holds historical significance as the inaugural release of the American Gold Eagle series. It marks the beginning of a prestigious coin series produced by the United States Mint.

Secondly, the coin offers collectible appeal. While gold bullion primarily focuses on the metal's melt value, the Proof version of this coin adds speculative collectible value. Its limited mintage, superior finish, and stunning design attract collectors who appreciate numismatic artistry.

Additionally, there's the potential for value appreciation. Over time, Proof coins can appreciate in value due to their rarity and demand among collectors. Gold bullion investors may benefit from potential capital appreciation beyond the gold's spot price, although we at Money Metals still hold bullion to be the superior investment for people who have not dedicated their lives to learning numismatics.

Furthermore, including a numismatic piece like the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin in a gold bullion portfolio adds diversity. It combines the stability of precious metals with the potential for collectible value growth.

As with other gold bullion, this coin represents a tangible asset that can serve as a hedge against economic uncertainty and inflation. Investors have the security of owning physical gold in a collectible, prestigious, form. Money Metals still advises that bars, rounds, and bullion coins are the better option for greater averages of return on investment.

The 1986 AGE coin's design, featuring Lady Liberty and American eagles, showcases exceptional artistry. Investors can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the coin while maintaining its gold melt value.

Finally, owning a piece of US Mint numismatic history can be a source of pride for gold bullion investors. It connects them to the legacy of American coinage.

In summary, adding a 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin to a gold bullion portfolio offers historical significance, collectible appeal, potential for value appreciation, diversification, tangible asset ownership, artistic beauty, and pride of ownership. It provides a well-rounded investment strategy for those who appreciate both precious metals and numismatic artistry.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to own a piece of numismatic history! The 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin is a true collector's gem, marking the beginning of an iconic coin series. Its exquisite design, historical significance, and limited mintage make it a valuable addition to any collection. Whether you're a seasoned numismatist or a new collector, this coin is a must-have. Invest in the beauty and legacy of American coinage with the 1986 American Gold Eagle Proof Coin. Act now and secure your piece of history today!

If you want to sell your 1987 Proof American Gold Eagle to Money Metals Exchange there is no minimum selling price, so when we say we will buy the item from you it can be for any amount or quantity. Still, you will be made fully aware of that amount before you send your metal item(s). Money Metals Exchange lists the sell-to-us price on most product pages and you can call in directly Mon-Sat during normal business hours to speak with one of our customer service representatives at our phone number:


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If you have any questions (FAQ) about the U.S. Mint's 1987 American Gold Eagle Proof coin, other American Gold Eagle Proof or bullion years, another year of American Silver Eagles or Proof Silver Eagle, an American Eagle proof set, a particular gold American Eagle coin, silver bullion coins, or a particular bullion coin, commemorative silver coins, world coins, storing your precious metal items in the Money Metals Depository, prices, buying or selling to Money Metals, payment method, shipping, insurance, delivery, or anything else, give us a call at our customer care phone number:


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Product Specifications
Mint Facility: US Mint
Denomination: $50.00 USD
Date: 1986
Quality / Type: Proof
Purity: 91.67% gold (22 karat), 3% silver, 5.33% copper
Metal Weight: 1 oz. - 1 troy ounce (1.0909 gross)
Diameter: 1.287 inches (32.70 mm)
Edge: Reeded
Obverse: Standing Liberty
Reverse: Nesting Eagles
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Our current buy pricing is $2,366.15 each and we will buy up to 10 at this price. Simply call us on any weekday to lock pricing at 1-800-800-1865.

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