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1999-W $5 Gold Eagle (Mint State)

The 1999-W $5 mint state Gold Eagle is one of the most unique coins in modern numismatics. It’s a coin that, much like the famous 1913 Liberty Head nickel, is not even supposed to exist today.



Some of the greatest U.S. coins of all-times have been coins produced by the United States Mint that were not actually meant to make it into the hands of the public. Non-sanctioned coins like the 1913 Liberty Head nickel have become the most sought-after and valuable coins in our history. A 1913 Liberty Head nickel, for example, was auctioned off in April 2013 for an astonishing $3.1 million.

In 1999, a panic swept across the nation over the coming of the new millennium. The great Y2K scare, as it is now known, sent the demand for gold to all-time highs. The West Point Mint’s production of Gold Eagles exploded in efforts to keep up with the new demand, and quality control took a back seat. It is still debated whether the West Point Mint intentionally or unintentionally used unpolished proof dies to strike a few “W” mintmarked issues. In early 2000, these special coins were discovered and completely surprised the coin-collecting community.

Several hundred of the “W” mintmarked examples were found, including some in original U.S. Treasury rolls. Early researchers discovered that a large percentage of $5 and $10 1999-W Gold Eagles went to jewelry fabricators in Japan. As a result, those scarce coins were melted and lost forever.



After years of constant pressure from the coin-collecting community to find out how many of these rare coins existed, a spokesman for the United States Mint indicated in 2005 that an estimated 6,000 mint state Gold Eagles were produced from each pair of dies. Today, more than 12 years after being struck, the population reports from the two major coin-grading services indicate a total of 5,000 coins have been sent to them to be certified and graded. However this number is quite deceiving, because many graded examples have been “cracked out” and returned in hopes of achieving a higher grade.

The most sought-after and valuable coin today is the coin that is more than just an attractive or scarce issue. Typically the most value lies in the coin that is the rarest of a large and popular series. The Gold American Eagle series is a widely-collected series that is now, thanks to the “W” mintmarked fractional Gold Eagles issued from 2006 to 2008, collected by date and mintmark. In order to complete the set, collectors must have the 1999-W mint state $5 Gold Eagle, the key coin for the entire $5 Gold Eagle Series.

Even these scarce key-date $5 Gold Eagles can still be obtained at reasonable prices. Collectors should not be surprised if these coins appreciate in price very quickly and significantly.

Estimated Mintage: 3,000 to 6,000

For More Information Regarding the 1999-W $5 Eagle (Mint State) struck with unfinished proof dies, contact your American Eagle Reserve Account Representative at 1.877.227.2646