The 2010 Gold Eagle experienced another year of heightened demand, as the long running bull market for gold continued. The United States Mint began sales of the one ounce bullion coins on January 19, 2010, representing a later start than usual. The delayed release was a consequence of the resurgence in demand for bullion coins which occurred in November 2009. Typically, the US Mint will begin producing bullion coins bearing the following year’s date around this time, allowing them to take orders in December for delivery in early January. Amidst heavy demand, the Mint decided to continue production of 2009-dated coins through year end, delaying the production and release of 2010-dated coins.
For the start of sales, the Gold Eagles were subject to the US Mint’s allocation program, which limited the number of coins that could be ordered at the authorized purchaser level. Allocation was eventually lifted in March 2010. A few months later on June 10, the US Mint began accepting orders for the fractional weight bullion coins. Total bullion coin sales would show a decline from the prior year, but remain well ahead of historical levels.
The US Mint offered a full range of product options for the 2010 Proof Gold Eagle, starting on October 7. The annual collector offering had been canceled in the previous year and had remained somewhat in doubt until the US Mint began to satisfy full public demand for the bullion version of the coin. The proof gold eagles were available individually across the four standard sizes or as a four coin set. Maximum production levels were established for the individual and set options at 25,000 one ounce coins, 15,000 one-half ounce coins, 16,000 one-quarter ounce coins, 27,000 one-tenth ounce coins, and 39,000 of the 4 Coin Sets.
Collectors responded enthusiastically to the return of the Proof Gold Eagles and set a fast pace for sales. After only one week of availability, sales figures for certain denominations exceeded the total sales amounts for the comparable 2008-dated releases. The individual one ounce coin was the first to sell out, followed by the individual half ounce, and then the 4 Coin Set. Sales for the remaining options would continue into the following year, until the final individual options sold out on January 25, 2011. Total sales and corresponding mintage levels reached the highest levels in years.
Although the US Mint was able to offer the proof version of the coin, the 2010-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle was canceled. The Mint had hoped to offer the collectible uncirculated coin bearing the “W” mint mark in one ounce size, but for a second year this was not possible.
During 2010, the price of gold experienced a steady rise, establishing a series of new all time highs. After starting the year at $1,121.50 per ounce, the price pulled back to the $1,050 level before rising to a high above $1,250. After another pull back, gold rose steadily to a peak of $1,421.00, eventually closing the year at $1,405.50.
2010 Gold Eagle Specifications
Mint Mark: none (bullion), W (proof)
Composition: 91.67% gold, 3% silver, 5.33% copper
Weight ($50 Coin): 1.0909 troy oz (33.930 grams)
Diameter ($50 Coin): 1.287 inches (32.7 mm)
Thickness ($50 Coin): 0.113 inches (2.87 mm)
Designers: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (obverse), Miley Busiek (reverse)
2010 Gold Eagle Mintage
Bullion Mintage: 1,125,000 (1 oz), 81,000 (1/2 oz), 86,000 (1/4 oz), 435,000 (1/10 oz)
Proof Mintage: 59,480 (1 oz), 44,527 (1/2 oz), 44,507 (1/4 oz), 54,285 (1/10 oz)
Burnished Mintage: not issued