Since its 1986 introduction, the American Eagle has become the king of all IRA approved gold coins because of its continually increasing popularity.
Owing to the fact that American Eagle coins are made of 22 carat, many believe that they contain less than coins that are made with 24 carat. But this just isn’t true.
In reality American Eagles contain the same amount of as other coins that are .9999 pure, which all contain .31 grams or 1 troy ounce.
Eagles contain 1 troy oz, but unlike other coins they contain small amounts of silver (3%) and copper (5.33%). This is to maintain the structural integrity of the coin, and makes it slightly larger than the 24 carat coins.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens created the first Eagles coin when he was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 to make America’s coinage more attractive. This design has become legendary and is the reason that American Eagles coins are so widely known today.
The obverse side of the American Eagle coin features Saint-Gaudens’ design of Lady Liberty with flowing hair, in her right hand she holds a torch, an in her left an olive branch.
The U.S. government guarantees that the coins contain the stated amount of actual gold weight in troy ounces, and as stated by federal law, the precious metal is obtained from American sources.
Generally because they may command a collectible premium, proofs and certified coins are not approved for IRA’s.
The American Eagle is available in four sizes: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz making the coins affordable for even the smallest of IRA accounts. But recommended at the best value is the 1 oz coin
At the time of this writing, American Eagle 1-oz coins sell from reputable dealers for $1,517, or about $75 cheaper than the Vienna Philharmonic 1-oz coins.
Next on the list for bargains when it comes to 1-oz coins comes from Canada…
Arguably the Canadian Maple leaf is one of the least attractive of the IRA approved coins, and this could be the reason why it sells at a much lower premium. The obverse of the coin displays a portrait of the present Queen Elizabeth, with the most recent mintage displaying versions of the 79 year old lady monarch.
Unfortunately, in truth – if these coins were to feature a Victoria’s Secret model rather than an aged Queen, they would be considered more attractive and therefore be much more popular.
But what the Maple Leafs lack in aesthetics, they make up in gold content. Maple Leafs are made of 24 carat and are .9999 pure.
A downside to the Maple leaf is that the softness of 24 carat when combined with the Maple Leaf’s milled edge and tubed storage causes wear marks to show more easily on the coin, in opposition to the slightly harder and more rigid American Eagles coins.
The Maple Leaf was first minted in 1979 when the obverse featured a 39 year old Queen Elizabeth. At that time
only a 1-oz version of the coin was available for purchase.
The most recent Maple Leafs to be minted are available in five sizes: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, and 1/20 oz
which makes the smallest coin very affordable, but again, if you are looking for the most value it is recommended that you aim for the 1-oz coin.
Right now as this is being written, Maple Leaf 1-oz coins sell for $1,505, or about $87 cheaper than the Vienna Philharmonic 1-oz coins.
Although these coins are the cheapest at the moment because of their undesirable portraits, when the price of the precious metal rises, that discount will disappear. This is because any perceived disruption in coin supplies will cause investors to value a coin only on its content.
You can learn more about coins on our IRA approved precious metals page.