HomeAuctionsAmerican Gold Eagle Struck at Launch Offered by GreatCollections

American Gold Eagle Struck at Launch Offered by GreatCollections

Travers American Gold Eagle
Travers’ American Gold Eagle PCGS MS68. Image: GreatCollections / CoinWeek.

GreatCollections is offering collectors a very interesting opportunity to purchase the 27th American Gold Eagle ever struck. Not only is this high-quality coin graded MS68 by PCGS, but it was also struck by the well-known New York coin dealer and numismatic author Scott Travers. In addition to the coin, this group lot includes a signed copy of Travers’s famous The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual, and an original invitation for the historic striking ceremony. Bidding for this notable group lot ends on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at 8:27:50 PM Pacific Time (11: 27:50 PM Eastern).

With 24 days remaining at the time of publication until the lot closes, there is serious activity on this lot. In fact, the highest of 11 bids stands at $9,100 USD.

Story of the 27th American Gold Eagle Ever Struck

On September 8, 1986, the elites of the U.S. financial and numismatic worlds assembled at the United States Bullion Depository (now Mint) in West Point, New York. They were there to witness the striking of the first American gold coin in over 50 years. As no gold coinage had been struck since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlawed the private ownership of gold in 1933, this was a momentous event.

As attested to by the event’s gold embossed invitation, Donna Pope (Director of the United States Mint) opened the ceremony, which was followed by remarks delivered by Mrs. Katherine Ortega (Treasurer of the United States) and Mr. James Baker III (Secretary of the Treasury). After the speeches, these three and the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury all struck the first four one-ounce Gold Eagles.

Even though striking began in September, they were not available to the public until the following month. That being said, 1,362,650 one-ounce coins and 572,551.61 ounces worth of fractional denominations were sold by December. The sales figures from 1986 would not be matched again until 1998.

Later, as with other, more recent coin-striking ceremonies, a number of people from the audience were allowed to strike coins, too. As a famous young numismatist, publisher, and editor of the late Ed Reiter’s COINage magazine, Scott Travers was invited to this prestigious ceremony. He has since gone on to become a nationally recognized authority on numismatic investing and coin collecting, having published seven books. His book The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual, which originally sold for $14.95 ($43.05 adjusted for inflation), has become a popular resource for the aspiring collector, winning 12 awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

As to its potential value, the First Strike certification by PCGS and the coin’s high level of preservation (MS68) set it apart from the average first-year-of-issue specimen.


In a callback to the earlier design last used in 1933, the obverse of the 1986 American Gold Eagle features a slightly altered rendition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ full-length Lady Liberty. Her hair dramatically blowing in the wind, Liberty holds a torch aloft in her right hand and an olive branch in her outstretched left. Liberty is striding away from the United States Capitol building (in the lower left background) with 26 sun rays radiating upwards. The legend LIBERTY is in the upper field, and the entire design is ringed by 50 stars.

The reverse of the coin, designed by American sculptor Miley Tucker-Frost (formerly Busiek, features a male eagle carrying an olive branch in flight above its nest. There is a female eagle and her eaglet sheltered in the nest. The legends E PLURIBUS UNUM and IN GOD WE TRUST are in the left and right fields, respectively, and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is at the top while the weight and the denomination (1 OZ. Fine Gold – 50 Dollars) are both at the bottom.

The first-edition copy of The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual (1984) that accompanies this lot is signed by Travers on the inside cover page.

Bidding ends on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at 8:27:50 PM Pacific Time (11: 27:50 PM Eastern).

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To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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