With 2010 Fractional Gold Eagle Coins due from the United States Mint in two days — Thursday, June 10, it is a good time to review the history and general values associated with last year’s versions.
First introduced in 1986 to allow buyers a convenient and cost-effective method of adding gold to their investment portfolios, the U.S. Mint strikes four different sizes of the American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins — the standard one ounce, along with fractional 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce and 1/10 ounce sizes.
Last year’s fractionals were released on December 3, 2009, which is atypical. They are usually issued much earlier and available for most of the year. But exceedingly high demand for the one ounce coins resulted in delays. Considering these circumstances, slighter mintages could have been expected for the smaller coins.
However, the Mint was able to fulfill a large demand in a relatively short period of time. Buyers were quick to grab what they could. 345,000 fractionals were sold on the day one, leading to a sell-out of the 1/10 ounce size and rationing of the remaining inventory of 1/4 and 1/2 ounce sizes. Within a few weeks, the product supply vanished.
In total, 110,000 of both the 1/2 and 1/4 ounce 2009 American Gold Eagles were sold along with 270,000 of the 1/10 ounce size. In less than three weeks, last year’s sales surpassed 2008 (and these coins were available for much of that year).
The question is, however, what are 2009 fractional coin values today?
1/2 oz Gold Eagle Values
In looking at auction site eBay (which can often be used as one of the barometers to get a feel on market conditions for modern coins), ungraded 1/2 ounce Gold Eagle sales last month bottomed toward $660 and topped around $725. Comparatively, the spot price for a half ounce of gold during that same time-frame ranged from $540-$620.
Graded MS70 1/2 ounce eagles performed best at an average $790 price.
1/4 oz Eagle Values
Roughly three dozen ungraded 1/4 ounce Gold Eagles were on eBay in May. The best buyer deal was found near $345. The top price paid reached $380. Spot gold fell between $270-$310 for a quarter once.
MS70 graded coins ranged in the $380-$445 spectrum.
1/10 oz Gold Eagle Values
By far, the most popular fractional on eBay was the 1/10 ounce size — obviously also the most affordable. A few hundred of them were placed up for sale last month. Eliminating listings with multiple coins, the top price reached $166 while the lowest price fell toward $140. This compares to the value of their gold content during the time of between $108-$124.
Graded MS70 samples touched $180 on the low end. "First Strike" designated MS70s achieved over $225 — almost twice what the gold in the coin was worth.
May 2010 Gold bullion sales were the highest since June 1999 with 216,000 ounces sold. Given that the Mint is releasing the fractional eagles much earlier this year as compared to last and during a time when there is enormous demand for U.S. bullion coins, it would appear that the Mint is more confident in fulfilling market demand. Should it fail to do so for any significant stretch of time, 2010 fractional values will rocket higher and likely top the 2009s.