In hard times and in economies like we have been in for the past few years, modern paper money leaves little in the way of comfort. It has a perceived value currently, but who knows what the future could bring? Real tangible assets like gold and silver have long been a safe harbor for investors concerned about balancing their portfolios' stability. When considering an investment in gold or silver, many people decide to also include the numismatic value of coins into their investing strategy. What this means is that a "lump" of bullion silver or gold can be worth "X" amount, but when formed into a limited collectors coin and distributed from a limited minting, the value of the gold or silver in weight can be increased because of the collectibility of the coin. American Eagle Gold Coins and American Eagle Silver Coins are just such an opportunity to consider.

The United States Mint has been producing American Eagle Coins since 1986. Here is an excerpt directly taken from their website on the history of these beautiful collectors coins.

In 1986, Liberty, as depicted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, was selected as the design that would grace the obverse of the American Eagle Gold Coins. The Saint-Gaudens design first appeared on the United States' $20, or double-eagle, gold piece in 1907, where it remained until 1933. Like their gold counterparts, American Eagle Silver Coins have been produced and sold in both proof and bullion finishes since 1986. They have always featured a rendition of sculptor Adolph A. Weinman's magnificent Walking Liberty design, originally prepared and executed for the Nation's first circulating half-dollar coin in 1916.

The way the current distribution and minting works is that the U.S. Mint currently produces two types of coins. The first is the Proof coins. These are very specially minted for serious coin collectors and are separated from other minting procedures. Essentially the procedure of striking the coin is done multiple times so that the finish of the coin almost appears to be 3 dimensional. Since these are prodcued specially by the United States Mint, each coin's content and purity are guaranteed by the government.

The second type of coin is that of the Uncirculated Gold and Silver Amercian Eagle Coins. "Uncirculated" coins are also created through a specialized minting process. Although they are similar in appearance to American Eagle Proof Coins, these new uncirculated coins are identified by the presence of a mint mark, indicating where they were produced. The uncirculated coin is less expensive than the proof.

As to where you might want to look at purchasing these coins, I've found two places to be very effective. The first is directly through the United States Mint. They have an online store where you can order whichever coins you are considering. Mind you there is a small markup when buying directly from the mint, so do some other checking before you just buy. Ebay also is a great guage of the market place for Silver Eagle Coins. I find that Ebay is always an indicator of today's market price... not next years price. Look for items that have bids on them and watch them. You'll see quickly which coins make the most sense to purchase, both from the bulk bullion value perspective as well as a numistatic coin value.

As for me, I currently only own a few American Eagle silver coins. I was looking at purchasing some Eagle Gold coins, but I never pulled the trigger. Unfortunately for me these particular gold coins have dramatically increased in price in the past 5 years. Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it!

Just a note... Currently there is so much demand for gold bullion coins that the United States Mint has put a halt on minting the coins because there are not enough 22k and 24k gold blanks to make the coins from. That situation will hopefully change in the near future, but it just shows that many more people are considering gold (and even silver) coins as part of their investment portfolios.