The term “eagle” originated very early in the
history of the United States. In 1792, the U.S. government
began minting coins, and one of the first it produced was
a ten-dollar piece that was called the “Eagle,”
which showed a portrait of an eagle, America’s new national
bird. The Liberty Head $10-dollar gold eagle was minted from
1838 until 1907.
The United States stopped producing gold coins in 1933. The
Great Depression, and the failure of thousands of banks made
it necessary for the Government to take more control of the
gold supply. The Gold Reserve Act of 1933 required that people
turn in all gold coins and gold certificates. For a while,
it was against the law for people to own gold or gold certificates,
unless they were collectors and had a special license. All
of the gold that was surrendered to the Treasury was melted
down and stored at a building in Fort Knox, Kentucky.