Mintages of early US gold coins were limited to the supply of gold and the capacity of the mint. Early mintages were coined using gold from native sources or from converting foreign gold coins that were in circulation. This limited gold supply contributed to the interruptions in gold coin production until 1834, when gold supplies increased.
The United States began minting gold in 1795, with the introduction of the $5 Half Eagle and the $10 Eagle. The following year, the Quarter Eagle was introduced, first struck without stars on the obverse (they were quickly added later the same year). Two new denominations were made possible with the 1848 discovery of gold in California. The first was the 1849 issue of the US gold dollar and the second was the Double Eagle, introduced a year later in 1850. 1854 saw the emergence of the $3 gold piece and the $4 gold Stella was first coined in 1879.
The United States government first proposed a $50 gold coin in 1877, but it would take over 100 years for this concept to move past the pattern stage, with the introduction of the first American Eagle bullion coins in 1986.
Coin Images courtesy of PCGS CoinFacts