Rarity: Tens of millions of U.S. gold coins were produced from 1830 to 1933. Very few of them remain.
Historical Significance: Each of the coins in the 14-coin U.S. Gold Set has a colorful history behind it.
Eye Appeal: The coins in the set are more than just investment coins. They're beautiful works of art featuring unique American symbolism created by some of America's foremost artists.
The rare coin market is dominated by U.S. gold coins minted for commerce in America from 1838 to 1933. By volume, rare gold coins are the largest single segment of the rare coin market - and by far the most important. When the rare gold market heats up, the whole rare coin market gets warm. A rising rare gold market brings capital into the entire rare coin marketplace and creates profits for investors and collectors alike.
Until 1933, the United States produced gold coins for use in commerce, both within the United States and with our overseas trading partners. Mintages ranged from a few hundred of some coins to several million for others.
U.S. gold coins were issued for circulation in six denominations: $1.00, $2.50 (Quarter Eagle), $3.00, $5.00 (Half Eagle), $10.00 (Eagle) and $20.00 (Double Eagle). The total mintage of U.S. gold coins exceeded 100 million pieces from eight mints. However, very few of these coins remain today. Many have been lost or mishandled. Because most of the coins have been lost, original mintages have suffered heavy attrition. It is estimated that upwards of 95% of the original mintages are forever lost to mishandling, collector hoarding, or melting.
Twice in our nation's history, gold coins were melted by the government. These two government meltdowns transformed U.S. gold coinage from common monetary units into excellent long-term numismatic investments.
The first melting occurred in 1834 when the gold content of U.S. coins was reduced and nearly all gold coins minted from the period 1795 to 1834 were melted because their intrinsic value exceeded their face value.
The second melting occurred in 1933, when 90% to 95% of all U.S. gold coins held by individuals, banks, and the Treasury were recalled, thrown into huge melting pots, and poured into 100-ounce and 400-ounce gold bars. Franklin Roosevelt's order of 1933 saw the end of regular issue, legal tender U.S. gold coinage.
Of the surviving populations of U.S. gold coins left today, not all are actually actively traded on the market. Many have been hoarded in complete sets or long-term investment portfolios.
U.S. gold coins are among America's most popular collector coins. Because of the important coins that have become available through famous collections and from European bank vaults, few other areas in all of U.S. numismatics have been studied more than U.S. gold.
Due to the popularity of U.S. gold coins, the rarest coins within this area generally tend to appreciate the most over the long term. Serious collectors and professional coin dealers want items that few, or perhaps even no other collectors could own. The best performing coins are those which are not easily obtainable because they require relatively small increases in demand to drive prices higher.
One of the best known success stories of rare coin investing is the collection of New York attorney Harold S. Bareford. From 1945 to 1955, Mr. Bareford accumulated one of the most complete collections of U.S. gold coins ever seen. The total cost of the collection was $13,832. When this collection was auctioned in 1978, it realized $1,287,215.