2021 was a major year for Gold Eagles, as it was for Silver Eagles, due primarily to the introduction of a new reverse design to replace the Family of Eagles design by Miley Busiek that had been used since 1986.
The new design was the first one for a U.S. coin by artist Jennie Norris and was sculpted by Renata Gordon. The design features a stunning close-up profile of a left-facing eagle that features a prominent beak and detailed feathers on his head and neck. In addition, the obverse design based on the masterpiece by Augustus Saint-Gaudens for the $20 Gold Eagle was “refreshed” according to Mint officials to make the design more faithful to the original artistic intent of the designer. This includes details such as making the rays, stars, Capitol building and other motifs more distinctive and the eyes on Liberty more subtle as well as adding the artist’s initials on both sides. There are also new anti-counterfeiting features.
Second, 2021 was also a big year for the Mint because its sales of gold coins were the best in many years. The 2021 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coin (Buy on eBay) sales were the best in over 20 years, almost doubling in revenue from $2.1 billion to $3.8 billon with an increase in sales of total ounces of Gold Eagles of 70.5% over 2020. Numismatic sales also grew by 66% in 2021, largely fueled by the extensive range of Type 1 and Type 1 Silver and Gold Eagles offered.
Third, for only the second time since 1986 an error variety of a Gold Eagle, the $10 American Gold Eagle Type 2 Bullion Coin (Buy on eBay), was found with a West Point (W) mint mark that it is not supposed to have. The coin is believed to have been produced the same way the similar $5 and $10 Gold Eagles of 1999 were made using unfinished Proof dies. Although to date more coins have been found than the initial discover of several hundred with 4,072 graded so far by PCGS and NGC, this coin became the second-rarest Gold Eagle after the 2020-W V75 $50 Proof coin.
The price of gold began the year at $1946.60 and closed at $1828.60 – a decline of 3.5%. The year’s low was $1678, and the high for 2021 was $1954.40 with an average price of $1798.89. Gold sales, as noted above, were very strong at the U.S. Mint due to a high demand for all physical gold at the time combined with interest in obtaining the last of the original reverse coins and the first of the new design.
In total, 441,500 of the type 1 $50 coins plus another 15,000 that were the very last coins struck by the mint, or $456,500 were struck at West Point; for the $25 coin 31,000; $10 coin sales were 56,000l and $5 coins sold 150,000. Those would be strong numbers any year, but they do not include the type 2 bullion coins, which included 650,500 $50 pieces plus another 15,000 that were the very first coins struck for a total of 665,500 type 2 $50 coins all struck at West Point. Sales of $25 type 2 were 65,000; 108,000 for the $10; and 350,000 for the $5.
The Type 1 2021-W Proof Gold Eagles (Buy on eBay) went on sale on March 11, but they only last a few minutes except for the tenth-ounce coins that took about 15 minutes to sell out. With a product limit of 4,500 and mintage limit of 12,700, the $50 coin was priced at $2375 and sold 4,475 coins the first week. The $25 coin was priced at $1205 and had a product limit of 1,600 and a mintage limit of 9,800 and sold 1,583. The $10 was priced at $615 with a product limit of 2,700 and mintage limit of 10,900 and sold 2,675; and the $5 $260 with a product limit of 8,000 and a mintage limit 16,200 and sold 7,953. The 4-coin set was priced at $4,410 with a product limit 8,200 and no mintage limit and sold 8,085. Final sales were 12,558 for the $50; 9,741 for the $25; 10,837 for the $10; and 21,078, which included sales of the 2-coin Designer Set with examples of that coin with both reverses.
The Type 2 2021-W Proof Gold Eagles (Buy on eBay) went on sale on July 29. The $50 was priced at $2,700 with a product limit of 5,625 and mintage limit of 15,875 and opening sales of 5,569. The $25 was priced at $1375 with a product limit of 2,000 and mintage limit of 12,250 and opening sales of 1,980; the $10 coin was priced at $715 with a product limit of 3,375 and mintage limit of 13,625 and initial sales of 3,336; and the $5 coin was priced at $315 with a product limit of 10,000 and mintage limit of 20,250 and initial sales 9,916. The 4-coin set was priced at $5,055 with a product limit of 10,250 and initial sales 10,156. Final sales including the sets were similar at 15,731 for the $50; 12,163 for the $25; 13,511 for the $10; and 24,984 for the $5 again including the Designer sets.
The 2021-W Burnished Uncirculated Gold Eagle (Buy on eBay) only sold with new reverse was offered on October 7 at $2.620 and limited to a product and mintage limit of 9,100 coins and one per household limit. First day sales were 8,423 and final sales were 8,914.
2021 Gold Eagle Specifications
- Date: 2021
- Mint Mark: bullion (none), W: Proof Type 1 and Type 2 and uncirculated
- Composition: 91.67% gold, 3% silver, 5.33% copper
- Weight ($50 gold): 1.0909 troy ounces (33.930 grams)
- Diameter ($50 gold): 1.287 inches (32.7 mm)
- Thickness: 0.13 inches (2.87 mm)
- Designers: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (obverse), Miley Busiek, Jennie Norris (reverse)
2021 Gold Eagle Mintage
- Bullion Mintage (Type 1): 456,500* (1 oz), 31,000 (½ oz), 56,000 (¼ oz), 150,000 (1/10th oz)
- Bullion Mintage (Type 2): 665,500* (1 oz), 65,000 (1/2 oz), 108,000 (1/4 oz), 350,000 (1/10th oz)
- Proof Mintage (Type 1): 12,558 (1 oz), 9,741 (½ oz), 10,837 (¼ oz), 21,078**(1/10th oz)
- Proof Mintage (Type 2): 15,731 (1 oz), 12,163 (1/2 oz), 13,511 (1/4 oz), 24,984 (1/10th oz)
- Burnished Uncirculated Mintage (Type 2 only): 8,914
*Includes 15,000 last struck coins
**Also includes 2-coin Tenth Ounce Proof Designer Set