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Although gold coins were authorized by Congress in 1792, the first gold coins were not struck until 1795 (the $5 denomination). The last gold coins were issued in 1933, when President Roosevelt took America off of the Gold Standard. Just as the “dollar” is the basis of all coin denominations of $1 and less, the “eagle” is the basis of most gold coins. Hence, a $2 ½ coin is a “quarter eagle,” a $5 coin is a “half eagle,” a $10 coin is an “eagle, and a $20 face value coin is a “double eagle.” Other regularly issued gold coin denominations are the $1 and $3 coins.
Some common U.S. gold coins may be available in lower grades at small premiums above the gold content—and are acquired mostly for their bullion value, while other gold coins are collected for their rarity and high quality.