WEST POINT, N.Y. — Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III pushed a button on a stamping press Monday and put the United States in the gold market with coins to compete with the popular Canadian Maple Leaf and South African Krugerrand.
A survey of dealers indicated that the coin should be popular.
The American Eagle coins, available for sale to the public on Oct. 20, will be minted in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce versions and sold in $50, $25, $10 and $5 denominations, but at prices tied to the gold market. The price of gold recently has hovered between $410 and $420 an ounce.
"The American people now have an opportunity they've never had before--to buy gold bullion coins produced in America," Baker said in ceremonies at the U.S. Bullion Depository at West Point.
A small room at the bullion depository near the U.S. Military Academy was jammed with numismatists who turned out to witness the minting of the first U.S. gold coin tied to the gold market and the nation's first legal tender gold coin since 1933.
The Eagle will be sold through coin dealers, banks and other financial institutions.