American Gold Eagles are offered in weights and denominations consisting of tenth ounce $5, quarter ounce $10, half ounce $25 and one ounce, $50. These coins are guaranteed by the U.S. government to contain the stated amount of actual gold weight in troy ounces. By law, the gold must come from sources in America, alloyed with silver and copper to produce a more wear-resistant coin.
The 22 kt gold alloy is an English standard traditionally referred to as crown gold. Crown gold alloys had not been used in U.S . coins since 1834, with the gold content having dropped since 1837 to a standard of 0.900 fine for U.S . gold coins. For American Gold Eagles the gold fraction was increased again to .9167 or (22 karat). It is authorized by the United States Congress and is backed by the United States Mint for weight and content.
The obverse design features a rendition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ full length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left, with the Capitol building in the left background. The design is taken from the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin which was commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt to create coins like the ancient Greek and Roman coins. The reverse design, by sculptor Miley Busiek, features a male eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a female eagle and her hatchlings.