I was originally only going to rank 5 American gold runners, but as with the English they are generally underrated when it comes to treasure. They have some good options, just not as many.
Top 10 American Gold Runners:
I have used the Frontier on many occasions, and she is just fantastic. Decent speed, HUGE cargo, Hoist ability. She is expensive, but in this case the high point cost is justified.
2. Native Canoes
Native Canoes are generally some of the best treasure runners available to any faction, but for the Americans they are a life saver.
These canoes are unique because they're faster than the Spanish and Cursed canoes. They also have that treasure ability, which lets you create fun fleets like this one
This ship could be ranked a bit lower, but her size and gun ranks give her a nice bite. With an explorer she'll have room for 4 coins at 13 points.
4. USS James Madison
This is a fantastic ship that I've finally acquired. Very underrated ship, with an explorer you'll have 3 cargo spaces left over for gold that you can spot with her nice ability. Again, 3 masts is a nice bonus for a very fairly-priced gold runner.
Each of the next three are pretty equal in my opinion, I just ranked them this way based on their durability.
This one is a nice option to have at just 7 points. With a helmsman or explorer she'll make for a decent treasure runner.
The Rattlesnake is slow but very cheap. With a helmsman and explorer she'll be going L+S with room for 3 coins for 8 points total, a great deal for a faction like the Americans.
7. USS Annapolis
This one just needs a helmsman and she'll be ready to go. Her built-in explorer saves a valuable cargo space, but one mast is always a gamble in terms of fragility.
This one is similar to the James Madison but she's pretty expensive to use only as a treasure runner. If not for Savage Shores the Americans would really be lacking for gold runners.
This is another ship that runs out at S+S+S, grabs 3 coins, and comes back at S+S.
This is one of those ships that you don't know which crew to put on her. A simple setup with a captain, helmsman, and explorer would work great. Either way you're going to end up spending a lot of points on the Roanoke. Her access to Pirate crew makes things even more interesting because they have so many great named crew and the Americans have a relative lack of great named crew. Her cargo hold is big enough that you could even use the old Norvegia setup with Gilbert
! Depending on how you crew her, the Roanoke could potentially move up a few spots on this list.
Honorable mentions (in no particular order): Pawtucket
, USS Morning Star
, Speedy Return