The 2011 Gold Eagle was first available on January 3, 2011. This was the date when the United States Mint began accepting orders for the one ounce bullion version of the coin from their authorized purchasers. In contrast to the start of sales in the prior two years, the allocation program was not imposed, meaning that the coins could be ordered in unrestricted quantities. Sales of fractional weight coin began in February.
After several tumultuous years for the US Mint’s most popular gold bullion coin offering, the present year turned out to be much more orderly. When demand for gold started to surge in 2008, Gold Eagles were frequently subject to sales suspensions, rationing, and delayed releases for some options. This occurred despite the legal requirement to supply the coins in quantities necessary to meet public demand. The situation seemed to culminate with the cancellation of the collector versions of the coins in 2009.
For 2011, the US Mint was no longer subject to the requirement to fulfill public demand for bullion coins before collector coins could be produced. This was the result of legislation passed towards the end of the prior year, which modified production requirements. Even without the change in law, the US Mint did have sufficient precious metals blanks and production capacity for numismatic offerings.
Sales of the 2011 Proof Gold Eagle began at the US Mint on April 21, 2011. The US Mint increased some of the maximum product limits from the previous year. Limits for individual options were established at 30,000 one ounce, 15,000 one-half ounce, 16,000 one-quarter ounce, and 30,000 one-tenth ounce coins. The limit for the four coin set was 40,000 units. The offering experienced slower demand compared to the prior year, although the individual one ounce coins managed to sell out of the maximum mintage. Sales of the other individual options also managed to sell out, but the four coin set option remained available for sale until December 31, 2012 when sales finally concluded as part of a “Last Chance” sale.
On May 5, 2011, sales of the 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle began at the US Mint. This represented a separate collector offering that had been canceled for the prior two years. The one ounce coins were struck on specially burnished blanks and carry the “W” mint mark. The offering carried no mintage limit, but was struck based on customer demand. When a sell out was achieved on January 16, 2012, the last reported sales were 8,729, representing a new low for the series. This would later be undercut by the following year’s option.
During the year, the market price of gold rose from an initial level of $1,388.50 to an all time record high of nearly $1,900 per ounce reached in September. Gold would close the year at $1,531 per ounce, representing the twelfth consecutive annual gain.
2011 Gold Eagle Specifications
Mint Mark: none (bullion), W (proof and uncirculated)
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)
2011 Gold Eagle Mintage
Bullion Mintage: 857,000 (1 oz), 70,000 (1/2 oz), 80,000 (1/4 oz), 350,000 (1/10 oz)
Proof Mintage: 48,306 (1 oz), 26,781 (1/2 oz), 28,782 (1/4 oz), 42,697 (1/10 oz)
Burnished Mintage: 8,729 (1 oz)