The history of United States gold coins dates back to the late 18th century. In 1792, the US Congress authorized the creation of the US Mint, and one of the first tasks assigned to the newly established institution was to produce gold coins for circulation. The first gold coin issued by the US Mint was the $10 gold eagle, which featured a design of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle on the reverse. Over the years, the US Mint produced a variety of gold coins in different denominations, including the $2.50 quarter eagle, the $5 half eagle, the $20 double eagle, and the $50 gold union. Each coin had its own unique design and history. During the Civil War, gold coins were used by both the Union and Confederate armies as a means of paying soldiers and purchasing supplies. After the war, the US government began to phase out gold coins from circulation and instead focused on producing paper currency.
In the early 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design a new gold coin to replace the traditional designs. The resulting coin, the $20 double eagle, featured a high-relief design of Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle in flight on the reverse. The coin was considered one of the most beautiful ever produced by the US Mint. However, due to production difficulties and the outbreak of World War I, the high-relief design was ultimately scrapped in favor of a lower-relief version. Today, the Saint-Gaudens double eagle is considered one of the most iconic and valuable coins in US history. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, which made it illegal for individuals to own gold coins or bullion. The order was meant to help stabilize the economy during the Great Depression by encouraging people to deposit their gold in banks. However, the order was eventually repealed in 1974, and US gold coins once again became a popular investment and collector’s item.
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