Look at the edges of your new American Eagle gold bullion coins. You may find they’re different, based on new findings from the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
American Gold Eagles are produced by the United States Mint in sizes of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz. These correspond to coin denominations of $50, $25, $10 and $5. All editions have reeded edges. This year, however, NGC has found two distinct edge varieties among the smallest 2015 $5 Gold Eagles – the "Wide Reeds" and "Narrow Reeds."
No different than before, the "Wide Reeds" variant has standard sized edge reeding that has always appeared on prior-year coins. This year’s $5 Gold Eagle could also have what NGC has dubbed as the "Narrow Reeds" variety.
"The second style," describes NGC, "has much smaller and finer reeds that are more tightly spaced than those seen on prior issues."
The "Narrow Reeds" variety looks to be less abundant, at least based on the Gold Eagles that NGC has seen to date. The company did say that the relative rarity of the varieties is still unknown. Also unknown at this writing is the reason for the different reeding styles.
"This is the first time that a variation in reed sizes has been noted on the popular American Eagle bullion coin series," said NGC. "It is also the first time that the closely spaced "Narrow Reeds" have been used on One-Tenth Ounce Gold Eagles."
A reeded edge is imparted into a coin by the collar die when it is struck. In addition to adding this design element, the collar constrains a coin’s overall dimensions to give it a uniform diameter. Traditionally, reeds were used on precious metal coins to indicate during circulation that no metal had been removed from their edges. This feature, along with raised edge lettering, has been employed on all precious metal US coins since 1836.
Submitters may request the "Wide Reeds" or "Narrow Reeds" edge varieties on the NGC certification label by selecting VarietyPlus® on the NGC submission form.
The following two images show NGC labels used for each edge variety.