American Arts Gold Medallions preceded American Eagle bullion coin program

Heritage Auctions offers 1980 1-ounce Grant Wood issue
By , Coin World
Published : 10/21/14
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In its Nov. 6 to 10 Beverly Hills sale, Heritage Auctions is offering a 1-ounce 1980 American Arts Gold Medallion depicting Grant Wood. The medal is graded Mint State 67 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

The United States Mint’s five-year production beginning in 1980 of half-ounce and 1-ounce American Arts Gold Medallions was a precursor program to the American Eagle bullion coin program launched in 1986.

A different person was depicted on the 1-ounce medallion offered each year from 1980 through 1984, for a total of five honorees. Overall, 1,596,000 were struck, 1,262,393 were sold, and 333,607 pieces were unsold and melted by the Mint. 

Five half-ounce American Arts Gold Medallions were also offered, with different honorees, and overall, 2,005,000 pieces were struck, 834,403 were sold and 1,170,597 were melted unsold.

Most issues of the American Arts Gold Medallions encountered in the marketplace are bought and sold at their precious metal bullion value, without numismatic premium.

How many examples of each issue have been privately melted during the past more than three decades is unknown.

Of the 500,000 Grant Wood 1-ounce Gold Medallions the Mint struck, it recorded 312,709 as sold and 187,291 as melted, unsold.

Heritage reported selling an example at auction Oct. 21, 2012, for $1,703.75. That example was graded MS-65 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. The price of gold just before the close of the auction was $1,737.

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