The United States Mint is expected to begin striking Palladium Eagles, adding a fourth precious metal option its extremely popular program of American Eagle Coins. Each will be composed of one ounce of .9995 fine palladium and feature an extremely well-known design from artist Adolph A. Weinman.
That design is known by many as “Winged Liberty.” It was used on the circulating dime from 1916-1945 which many refer to as the “Mercury Dime," and is thought of as one of the most attractive ever featured on a coin from the United States.
Congress authorized the Palladium Eagles under the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010. Introduced in the House of Representatives only on September 22, 2010, the legislation whisked through both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on December 14th as Public Law 111-303.
Production Requirements, Expectations and Designs of Palladium Eagles
Before any of the coins may be produced, however, the Secretary of the Treasury must commission an independent third-party marketing study into the possible demand for the strikes — that has begun. If sufficient demand is shown to insure that Palladium Eagles would be self-funding, then the United States Mint will begin their production within one year after that report is submitted to Congress.
Demand for the Palladium Eagles is expected to be relatively high owing to several factors working in their favor. First, the coin would mark the first time the United States Mint created a coin from this precious metal. In fact, few mints from around the world have used the major metal in any of their releases.
Second, the price point would offer a stepping stone of sorts between two of the other American Eagle coins currently in production at the United States Mint — American Gold Eagles and American Silver Eagles. Gold averaged $1,225 an ounce for 2010 whereas silver averaged $20 an ounce on the London Fix. Palladium prices stood firmly in between the two at $526 an ounce for the year.
Third, the use of Adolph A. Weinman’s well-liked “Winged Liberty” design will be a drawing factor. Collectors are expected to seek the new coins as a means to obtain a larger version of the design that they have admired for years.
Weinman’s work will also be featured on the reverse of the coins, albeit a much less well-known design. It is to be based on his 1907 American Institute of Architects medal and features the image of an Eagle.
Versions of American Palladium Eagle Coins
Three different versions of the Eagles may be produced by the United States Mint. The legislation specifically calls for an investment-grade bullion Eagle, but also authorizes numismatic proof and uncirculated versions if the Treasury Secretary deems a public desire for them.
The bullion Palladium Eagles would be struck at any United States Mint facility other than West Point. If proofs are produce, they must be done so at West Point. Another requirement of the authorizing legislation dictates that if the collector proof or uncirculated versions are minted, their surface treatment should vary in some respect from year to year.
These coins will have a face value of $25 and will be legal tender. As mentioned, their fineness will be .9995.
The specific diameter and thickness of each eagle is left to the discretion of the Treasury Secretary.
Inscriptions will include IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, .9995 FINE, and $25.