The list below (currently in progress towards completion) covers all the official American gold currency coins and bullion coins ever issued (except commemorative coins, patterns, territorial gold coins and the recent first spouse issues) with some interesting background for each.
The images are shown at approximately at the actual size of the coins. Holding the mouse pointer over any of the smaller coins will magnify it, allowing you to see its detail.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see the historical American gold coins which you can buy today.
Gold Dollar - $1
Liberty Head gold dollar, issued 1849-1854
90% gold, balance is copper. Weighs 1.6720g, and has an 0.0484oz Actual Gold Weight. Diameter is 13mm.
This is the smallest US coin ever minted. Some of these coins were produced in great numbers (millions in 1851, 1852 and 1853) and can still be purchased at a reasonable price.
Indian Head gold dollar (design 1) 1854-1856
90% gold, balance is copper. Weighs 1.6720g, and has an 0.0484oz Actual Gold Weight. Diameter is 15mm.
This design is known as the Small Indian Head dollar. This coin is the same weight as, but thinner and slightly bigger than its predecessor.The 1855 Dahlonega mint variety is the rarest and most expensive to collect.
Indian Head gold dollar (design 2) 1856-1889
90% gold, balance is copper. Weighs 1.6720g, and has an 0.0484oz Actual Gold Weight. Diameter is also 15mm.
This design is known as the Large Indian Head dollar. Rare and valuable examples include the 1856, 1859, 1860, 1861 and Dahlonega mint varieties, and the 1875 date. Proof versions of any of the Indian Head coins are hugely expensive.
Quarter Eagle - $2.50
Liberty Cap quarter eagle 1796-1807
Turban Head quarter eagle 1808-1834
91.6% gold. Weighs 4.37g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.1289oz. Diameter is 20mm (1808 coin), 18.5mm (1821-1827 coins), 18.2mm (1829-1834 coins).
These gold quarter eagles are also known as 'Capped Heads'. There are three similar designs in the series. There were only a few thousand of these coins issued each year, and all grades of coin are extremely valuable and expensive to collect.
Classic head quarter eagle 1834-1839
89.9% gold. Weighs 4.18g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.1209oz. Diameter is 18.2mm.
The 1838 Charlotte mint variety is the most valuable, due to the low mintage number.
Coronet Head quarter eagle 1840-1907
90% gold. Weighs 4.18g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.121oz. Diameter is 18mm.
The earlier dates in the series tend to be more expensive to buy; proof quality coins of any year are very, very expensive.
Indian Head quarter eagle 1908-1929
90% gold. Weighs 4.18g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.121oz. Diameter is again 18mm.
This shows on the obverse an Indian with a full feather war bonnet, and on the reverse an eagle standing on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch. The designer was Bela Lyon Pratt. This coin, and the $10 half eagle of the same period, are the only two US coins to be 'incuse' - they have a sunken rather than a raised design.The 1911 Denver mint coins are fairly rare and expensive to buy.
Indian Head 1854-1889
Half Eagle - $5
Liberty Cap 1795-1807
Turban Head (design 1) 1807-1812
Turban Head (design 2) 1813-1834
This series of half eagles is also known as the 'Fat Head' because of the obverse design . For more on the 1823 Half Eagle, see this page on Coin Link.
Classic Head 1834-1888
Coronet Head (design 1) 1839-1866
90% gold. Weighs 8.359g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.242oz. Diameter is 21.6mm.
This coin series was produced in great numbers, many years in the hundreds of thousands, and is a favorite with collectors. Note the value given on the reverse reads 'FIVE D.'
Coronet Head (design 2) 1866-1908
90% gold. Weighs 8.358g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.242oz. Diameter is 21.6mm.
Rarer issues for this coin include 1875, and the 1870, 1873 and 1878 Carson City mint coins.
Variety 5 Indian Head 1908-1929
Eagle - $10
Variety 1 Liberty Cap (design 1) 1795-1797
Liberty Cap (design 2) 1797-1804
Variety 2 Coronet Head (design 1) 1838-1839
Coronet Head (design 2) 1839-1866
Coronet Head (design 3 ) 1866-1907
Indian Head Gold Eagle (design 1) 1907-1908
Indian Head Gold Eagle (design 2) 1908-1933
90% gold. Weighs 16.718g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.4839oz. Diameter is 27mm.
This coin was also designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens. 1933 examples have a very high value, since most were destroyed before leaving the mint and are extremely rare.
More information: interesting video about the $10 Indian head gold Eagle.
Double Eagle - $20
Liberty Coronet Head (design 1) 1850-1861
Liberty Coronet Head (design 2) 1861
Liberty Coronet Head (design 3)1866-1876
Liberty Coronet Head Double Eagle (design 4) 1877-1907
90% gold, balance is copper. Weighs 33.436g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.9677oz. Diameter is 34mm.
In this coin 'Twenty Dollars' appears under the eagle on the reverse side, replacing the 'Twenty D.' of the earlier double eagles.
St Gaudens (design 1) 1907
St Gaudens (design 2) 1907-1908
St Gaudens (design 3) 1908-1933
Bullion Coins of the USA
1. American Gold Eagles
Issued 1986 onwards
The Gold Eagles are official coins issued by the United States Mint.
$5 – 1/10th ounce gold Eagle
91.67% gold - balance is silver and copper. Weighs 3.393g, and has an actual gold weight of 0.1oz (1/10th oz). Diameter is 16.5mm.
From the 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) to the 1991 (MCMXCI) issues, the dates on the coins are in Roman form. The obverse of the modern bullion gold eagles is the old Saint-Gaudens walking Lady Liberty design. The reverse shows an eagle landing on the nest. The photos of the one tenth ounce coin above were taken in bright sunlight - in reality the coin is not so 'washed out' and pale looking.
All the gold eagle bullion coins in the series are identical, except for the writing on the reverse which indicates the face value and gold weight.
$10 – ¼ ounce gold Eagle
$25 – ½ ounce gold Eagle
$50 – 1 ounce gold Eagle
91.67% gold - - balance is silver and copper. Weighs 33.931g, and has an actual gold weight of exactly 1 ounce. Diameter is 32.7mm.
The face value of the gold eagle bullion coins indicates they are legal tender, though of course the gold value is far greater than the face value, and the 1 ounce coin is now being sold for well over $1000.
2. American Gold Buffaloes
The gold Buffalo is a recent addition to the gold bullion coin range, as they were first issued by the US Mint only in 2006. Unlike the gold Eagles, these bullion coins are 99.99% gold.
$5 - 1/10th ounce
$10 - 1/4 ounce
$25 - 1/2 ounce
$50 - 1 ounce gold Buffalo
99.99% gold. Weighs 31.108g (1 troy ounce). Diameter is 32.7mm.
The design of the coin is based on the Indian Head nickel of 1913. The obverse shows an American Indian Head and the date of issue, while the reverse shows a buffalo, the weight and the value of the coin.
American gold coins to buy: