The American Silver Eagle Coin from US Mint

The American Silver Eagle Coin from US MintLiberty, the way which Augustus Saint-Gaudens depicted it, was the chosen design that would be shown on the American Eagle Gold Coins in 1986. The design from Saint-Gaudens made its first appearance on the United States’ $20, or known as the double-eagle, gold piece in 1907 and remained that way until 1933. Just like it’s gold counterparts, the American Eagle Silver Coins were being produced and sold in bullion finishes and proof since 1986. These have always had the features that were a rendition of sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s beautiful Walking Liberty design, originally created and followed through for the first half-dollar in circulation in 1916 in the Nation.

Why Investors are Interested in American Eagle Bullion Coins

American Eagle Bullion Coins are congressionally authorized, providing investors with a cost-effective and convenient way for them to add small amounts of physical gold, silver, or platinum into their investment portfolios. Ever since it was launched in 1986, gold, silver and platinum American Eagles became one of the leading bullion coin investment items. American Eagles are highly liquid, making silver and gold coins a valuable investment.

Why Collectors like Uncirculated Coins and American Eagle Proofs

The American Silver Eagle Coin from US MintCollectors are provided with proof versions from the United States Mint for its American Eagle Bullion coins. These American Eagle Proof Coins go through a special minting procedure that begins with manually adding burnished blank coins into presses that are fitted with custom dies. These blank coins are then struck a few times so that the detailed images can appear to float above a reflective-like field. After being analyzed by thorough inspectors, every American Eagle Silver and Gold Proof Coin is contained in a sealed and protective capsule that is then mounted in a beautiful satin-lined velvet case which includes an official Certificate of Authenticity. American Eagle Platinum Proof coins, on the other hand, are packaged within a unique customized portfolio presentation case. Since the United States Mint created these American Eagle Proof Coins, the content of each coin, it’s purity and weight are guaranteed by the US Government. These coins can be purchased straight from the United States Mint, whether it is the American Eagle Silver, Gold or Platinum Proof Coins.

The United States Mint added an addition to the American Eagle family of precious metal coins in 2006. This means that collectors are now able to add American Eagle Uncirculated Coins in gold or silver to their investment portfolio by purchasing them from the United States Mint. These American Eagle Uncirculated Coins are created in a process that is very similar to the American Eagle Proof Coins, which is manually loading specially burnished blank coins to be pressed and struck. These coins also carry a “W” mint mark to indicate that it was produced in the United States Mint at West Point. These coins are great for investors for the high liquidity, making it easy to sell gold coins to other interested investors.

The California Gold Rush Revisited

The beginning of the California Gold Rush all began in 1848 when James Wilson Marshall found some gold along the American River near Sacramento during his construction of a saw mill. However, his discovery didn’t spark any interests.

The California Gold Rush Revisited

It wasn’t taken seriously at the time until Sam Brannan had a bottle filled with gold dust and went around San Francisco shouting “Gold! Gold on the American River!” This started a small rush for gold from the residents of the city, which was then accelerated when in August 1848 when the New York Herald printed the news of this discovery.

Tens of thousands of gold seekers, who were called “forty-niners,” traveled from across the lands and facing many hardships to reach California with the prospects of mining gold for themselves. Some even coming from other countries like Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Australia. Keep in mind, this was during the mid 1800s when cars, let alone airplanes, existed. This meant that everybody who took a trek towards San Francisco faced many hardships along their way. Early on, many people traveled by sea, known as Argonauts. They would start from the East Coast and make their way all around the tip of South America, taking them from five to eight months to reach their destination.

The California Gold Rush RevisitedAnother popular sailing route was by reaching the east side of the Isthmus of Panama, and then traveling through the jungle by canoes and mules, eventually reaching the Pacific side. From there, they would wait for a ship that was sailing towards San Francisco. A great deal of people, however, took the overland route, travelling across the United States, following the California Trail. Regardless of the course of travel these gold seekers took, each had its own deadly hazards to deal with. In April 1847, it was reported that San Francisco consisted of only 79 buildings, which included adobes, frame houses and shanties. By 1849, that population boomed to 100,000. This large influx in population Americanized what was once a Mexican province.

With such a huge demand from the arrivals at San Francisco, many ships came with goods and supplies. In many cases, the ship’s captain would find that their crew would desert them in search for gold as well. This wound up leaving the docks of San Francisco bombarded with hundreds of abandoned ships. Some enterprising locals of San Francisco wound up turning these abandoned ships into hotels, taverns, stores, warehouses, and even a jail.

At the start of the California Gold Rush, people were able to find and pick up gold nuggets from off the ground. As time went on, gold was starting to be recovered through riverbeds and streams with techniques such as panning. Panning is a simple technique where some gravel would be scooped into a pan, which is then gently shaken so that the lighter materials would naturally spill out while the heavier materials like gold would stay at the bottom. As more time passed, methods became more sophisticated and relied on financing to run these operations.  Eventually, many gold mining and gold refining companies began to pop up.

Fort Knox Gold – How Much Is In There?

With so many cashless transactions and electronic transfers going on these days, it’s easy to forget that the value of our money is somewhat based on gold. It wasn’t until 1971 that the United States went off the gold standard. The gold standard meant that every dollar that was printed had an equivalent amount of gold held by the United States. This means that if you went to a bank with your money, you would be able to exchange it for an equivalent amount of gold. During this time, for almost 80 years,  a large amount of America’s gold was being held at Fort Knox. Although we have gone off the gold standard, it makes you wonder how much gold can be found at Fort Knox.

Fort Knox Gold - How Much Is In There?

Fort Knox was built in 1936 in Kentucky in order to hold large amounts of gold. In 1933, an executive order was issued by President Roosevelt for everyone American citizen to give up ownership of all of their gold, including certificates, bullion and coins. It became illegal to privately own gold. The US government had $4 billion worth in gold, but by the time everyone turned in their gold, the amount has risen to $12 billion. With all of this gold, the Federal Government decided to build a massive vault to hold it.

The primary vault at Fort Knox, which is used to hold gold and other important items, has a 21-inch thick door weighing 20 tons. Visitors are not allowed into the building and the code for entry is only known by a small amount of employees. Within this vault are smaller vaults, all which require their own entry code. The facility is protected by a special force known as the United States Mint Police.  On top of all that security, Fort Knox also has complex security that includes barbed wire fences, electric fences, alarm systems, cameras, microphones, artillery, and attack helicopters.

These days, the Fort Knox vault holds 368,000 standard, 400 oz. troy gold bars, weighing a total of 4,578 metric tons. Interestingly, that only makes up for about 3% of the gold refined that has ever been found in our human history. Fort Knox currently holds around $180 billion worth in gold, with gold being worth $1,276 per ounce. The gold bars held at Fort Knox come in a variety of purity, some yielding 90% gold while others are minted at 99% gold. Besides gold bars, For Knox also has rare gold coins within their vaults. Surprisingly, Fort Knox is not the largest gold depository found in the United States, that would go to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which holds 7000 metric tons of gold bullion within their underground vault. However, some of this gold is owned by other nations. Combining the gold held by Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan, that makes for more gold held in US soil than any other country.

Famous Gold Mines of the World

Based on production data made available in 2010, let’s take a look at 10 largest gold mines found in the world.

There are some variety in opinion when it comes to which gold mine deserves the ranking of Number 1. Some opinions believe that by production, the largest gold mine in the world is the Muruntau gold mine found in Uzbekistan. However, others believe that position should be given to the Gasberg gold mine found in Indonesia. At the end of the day though, most of the opinions weight towards claiming Grasberg as the largest mine found in the world.

Another problem that is causing a difference in opinion is on how much these mines below are actually producing. It is often difficult to gain figures on yearly productions, on top of the production data not being standardized as well as the data not being calculated based on the same calendar.

Besides reports that come from the mining companies themselves, the most valuable sources come from the Raw Materials Group in Sweden, the Intierra Resource Intelligence in Australia, and the Metals Economics Group in Nova Scotia.

Based on those sources and a few others, here is a list of 10 of the largest gold mines found in the world.

10 largest gold mines

1. Grasberg Gold Mine – According to an annual report made by Rio Tinto Plc, the Grasberg gold mine in Papua, Indonesia produces 2,025,000 ounces of gold. The majority of this gold mine is owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Other than gold, the Grasberg mines also produce copper and silver.

2. Muruntau Gold Mine – 250 miles to the west of Uzbekistan’s capital is the Muruntau gold mine. It is approximated that the Muruntau gold mine produced 1,800,000 ounces of gold just last year. The mine is an open-pit operation that is state-owned by Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Cominbat.

3. Carlin-Nevada Complex – The Carlin-Nevada Complex is owned by the state of Nevada, producing 1,735,000 ounces of gold in 2010. This mining operation includes both underground and open-pit operations.

4. Yanacocha Gold Mine – The largest gold mine in Latin America is the Yanacocha gold mine found in northern Peru. The Yanacocha gold mine is owned by Newmount Mining and Buenaventurda, and produced 1,460,000 ounces of gold last year.

5. Goldstrike Gold Mine – The Goldstrike gold mine is located to the northwest of Elko, Nevada. It’s owned by Barrick Gold Corp. and produced 1,240,000 ounces of gold last year.

6. Cortez Gold Mine – The Cortez gold mine is located to the southwest of Elko, Nevada. The Cortez gold mine is owned by Barrick Gold Corp. and produced 1,140,000 ounces of gold last year.

7. Veladero Gold Mine – Owned by Barrick Gold Corp., the Veladero gold mine can be found in Argentina. Last year, it produced 1,120,000 ounces of gold.

8. Lagunas Norte Gold Mine – Located in north-central Peru is the Lagunas Norte gold mine. The Lagunas Norte gold mine produces 808,000 ounces of gold and is owned by Barrick Gold Corp.

9. Lihir Gold Mine – The Lihir gold mine is located in Papua New Guineau, producing 790,974 ounces of gold in 12 months. Owned by Newcrest Mining Ltd. and is also the largest gold producer in Australia.

10. Super Pit/Kalgoorlie – The Super Pit/Kalgoorlie gold mine is an open-cut mine located in Western Australia that produced 788,000 ounces of gold last year. The Super Pit/Kalgoorlie is owned 50/50 by Barrick Gold and Newmon