The 2008 Gold Eagle was released during tumultuous times. Global financial troubles caused a surging interest in gold which had implications for sales of the Gold Eagle bullion and collector coins.
For approximately the first six months of the year, 2008 Gold Eagle bullion coins sold around the typical levels of the past several years. Starting in July, sales increased dramatically, eventually forcing the US Mint to suspend gold bullion coin sales in August. Sales resumed two weeks later on a rationed basis, which limited the number of coins that could be ordered by authorized purchasers. Despite the suspension and rationing, sales had exceeded 800,000 cumulative ounces by year end.
The 2008 Proof Gold Eagle was offered for sale beginning on March 4, 2008, just as the price of gold reached a temporary peak. In the following weeks and months, the price of gold would fall to much lower levels. Throughout the decline, the US Mint did not adjust the prices for the proof Gold Eagles to reflect current gold prices. This resulted in unusually high premiums, which kept buyers wary of making purchases. Near the end of the year, prices were finally adjusted downwards and the remaining coins sold out quickly. The slow sales period in the early release period resulted in historically lower mintage levels for the various 2008 Proof Gold Eagles.
The US Mint also offered the 2008-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle starting on April 1. These were the newly introduced collectible uncirculated coins, carrying the “W” mint mark. The pricing situation was similar to the proof coins with a slow early sales period. The uncirculated coins eventually sold out in January 2009, with final mintages that set new lows. In particular, the 2008-W $10 Gold Eagle had a mintage of 8,883, at the time making it the lowest mintage Gold Eagle for the entire series.
During 2008, the price of gold ranged from a low of $712.50 to an all time high of $1,011.25 per ounce. Gold reached this high in March before several sharp declines brought the price to its low in October. Gold recovered to close the year at $880.25 per ounce, representing a slight gain for the year.
2008 Gold Eagle Specifications
Mint Mark: none (bullion), W (proof and uncirculated)
Composition: 91.67% gold, 3% silver, 5.33% copper
Weight ($25 Coin): 0.5454 troy oz (16.965 grams)
Diameter ($25 Coin): 1.063 inches (27.0 mm)
Thickness ($25 Coin): 0.085 inches (2.15 mm)
Designers: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (obverse), Miley Busiek (reverse)
2008 Gold Eagle Mintage
Bullion Mintage: 710,000 (1 oz), 61,000 (1/2 oz), 70,000 (1/4 oz), 305,000 (1/10 oz)
Proof Mintage: 30,237 (1 oz), 22,602 (1/2 oz), 18,877 (1/4 oz), 28,116 (1/10 oz)
Burnished Mintage: 11,908 (1 oz), 15,682 (1/2 oz), 8,883 (1/4 oz), 12,657 (1/10 oz)