United States Mint officials revealed Aug. 13 that the Mint adopted a “light frosting” on the Proof finish used for the 2013-W American Eagle platinum bullion coin, changing the finish’s appearance from that used in the past.
Collectors began questioning the distinctive appearance of the Proof 2013 coins after receiving them and comparing them to earlier Proof American Eagle platinum coins. One collector who contacted Coin World about his coin said he had submitted his coin to a grading service as potentially sporting an error finish.
In response to inquiries from Coin World and collectors, United States Mint officials released a statement Aug. 13.
“Following the positive response we received from collectors on the 5-Star General enhanced finish, the United States Mint decided to apply the same frosting finish on the new 2013 American Eagle platinum proof.
“We used this light frosting technique to accentuate the details of the design. The frosting used on the 2013 [American Eagle] Platinum Proof coin is lighter than was used on this coin series in previous years.
“Unfortunately, we did not notify customers prior to the availability of this enhanced design, which, in turn, has caused unnecessary confusion to our customers.
“It is the United States Mint’s intent to continuously make enhancements to our products for our collectors, now and in the future, to accentuate our artists’ designs and bring out more of the coin details.
“The United States Mint does not intend to change the finish on the 2013 American Eagle Platinum coin from what has been provided for sale.
“We apologize for any confusion this may have caused our customers.”
Where the light frosting was used
The Mint Office of Public Affairs clarified what finishes were used on the coin, and where, in a statement released Aug. 15.
“All the background of the obverse and reverse remained mirrored as in past years,” according to the statement.
“On the obverse design, all the letters remained frosted as in previous years while the rest of the design was less heavily frosted than past years.
“On the reverse design, the frosting of the letters was unchanged. The ‘ring’ was lightly frosted, the ‘gear’ was more lightly frosted, and the rest of the design was most lightly frosted.”
Platinum bullion coins in 2014?
Also concerning platinum, Acting U.S. Mint Director Richard A. Peterson said Aug. 13 that he is optimistic that the Mint will be able to resume production of American Eagle 1-ounce .9995 fine platinum bullion coins in the latter part of 2014, after a long hiatus. The West Point Mint last struck American Eagle platinum bullion coins for sale in November 2008.
Peterson spoke with Coin World at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill.
Peterson said that market research conducted by the U.S. Mint indicates a demand for platinum bullion coins, but currently only for the 1-ounce, $100 coin. Only a slim possibility exists that the Mint would resume production of the half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce coins, and then only should market research indicate a demand for the fractional issues, Peterson said.
The U.S. Mint is currently developing a supply chain for obtaining sufficient quantities of platinum planchets for the bullion version of the American Eagle.
Palladium bullion coin update
In addition to possibly resuming platinum bullion coins, the Mint is continuing to explore production of a palladium coin, as authorized by the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010. Palladium and platinum are among the platinum group metals.
Peterson said the Mint is conducting market research on the viability of production of a 1-ounce palladium American Eagle as a numismatic product, with no bullion version suggested. Nor are fractional versions being contemplated, Peterson said.
Peterson said a supply chain for palladium blanks is being researched. Mint officials noted in 2012 that the United States has only one primary palladium producer, the Stillwater Mining Co., which operates two mines in southern Montana.
Under the authorizing act, the metal to be procured for the contracted production of planchets for the palladium coins would have to be purchased from “palladium mined from natural deposits in the United States, or in a territory or possession of the United States. ...” ■