The coins of the Classic Group (spanning from 1986 to 1991) have seen exceptional investment performance, with yearly price increases ranging from nearly 9% to 21% since 2010, far above average returns in the stock market or even the gold bullion market.
When the modern U.S. Mint began making gold coins in 1986, the first major release was the Gold American Eagle. Each year, the mint creates a standard "Business Strike" version of the coin, made for general bullion circulation, and a much smaller number of special issue "Proof" coins, specifically for investors and collectors.
Only a very small percentage of the proofs receives a "Proof 70" certification, a perfect score which establishes the rarity. The value of bullion coins floats up and down with the market price of gold, but rare coins, such as Gold Eagle Proof 70s, don’t trade on an index and are therefore much less volatile. Instead, their value is determined by supply and investor demand. These coins are also known as Investment Grade Coins.
In 1986, the first year of issue, the Mint only made a 1oz coin, with a $50 face value. In 1987, a 1/2oz coin with a face value of $25 was added to the series. Each subsequent year, the Mint has produced 4 sizes: 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz ($10 face) and 1/10 oz ($5 face). All of the coins in the Classic Group feature Roman Numeral dates, which makes them unique among U.S. coinage.
Classic Group Gold American Eagle Performance
(Based on an 9 year trend)
Date of Issue
Price in 2010
Current Trading Price
Rank in group
1986 (1oz only)
1987 2-Coin Set
1988 4-Coin Set
1989 4-Coin Set
1990 4-Coin Set
1991 4-Coin Set
Source: Mintage figures provided by the United States Mint. "Proof 70 Sets" indicates the maximum possible population of perfect condition sets for the year given (NGC, July 2020).
Total Increase for Gold Eagle Classic Group: 148%
The Classic Gold American Eagle Date Run
The Classic Gold American Eagle Proof 70 Date Run includes one of each of every denomination of Gold Eagle minted from 1986 to 1991 — a total of 19 coins and 9.9 ounces of pure gold. Every coin is graded by NGC in Proof 70 Ultra Cameo condition — the highest grade available.