The West Point Mint, located in New York, is primarily a producer of uncirculated commemorative and proof coins today. It is one of the lesser known mints, but coins it has struck are recognized because they bear a W mint mark. For collectors of US gold coins, the West Point Mint is very important because today it produces not only American buffalo gold bullion coins, but all American Eagle series proof and bullion coins. In addition to gold coins, those buying coins of the commemorative type will most likely recognize it as a mint that produces silver and platinum coins too. This is a highly secure facility whose address is not released to the public. It has a fascinating history behind it. Since it never offers tours, a chance to learn about it is definitely something to take advantage of.
The West Point Mint was built in 1936, before it minted proof coins, it was known as the West Point Bullion Depository. Though it is now known for producing US gold coins, it was home to the highest concentration of silver of any of the US mints which caused some to call it the Fort Knox of Silver. While people buying coins today will likely have at least seen offers of coins coming from this mint, when it was first constructed it did not have mint status, primarily acting as a storage facility for the substantial silver holdings of the US instead.
With so many different countries now offering their own gold bullion coins in an effort to claim their market share of the South African Krugerrand market, the US decided to enter the market in 1986. The United States Mint created the Gold Eagle as the first gold bullion coin ever created by the US and while sales of this incredibly beautiful coin did not start until October of this inaugural year they sold in record numbers, in fact it was not until 1998 that this sales record was finally broken.The Gold Eagle was offered in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 ounce weights, which seems to be the same as most of the other countries issue. The only exceptions were Australia with eight different sizes of their Gold Nugget and China with its Gold Panda, China now offers only the five basic weights although they have changed the face values on their Pandas. Over the years it has been the largest and the smallest denominations that have been the biggest sellers.