The U.S. Mint is seeking potential contractors for a possible
competitive solicitation to perform a marketing study determining the
demand regarding palladium bullion coin investments.
The market study is mandated in the American Eagle Palladium
Bullion Coin Act of 2010, Public Law 111-303.
The coins will be issued only if the marketing study supports
public demand, said Gordon Hume, the deputy director of the Mint’s
Office of Public Affairs.
Mint spokesman Michael White said May 5 that the Mint posted a
Request for Information April 13 at Fedbizzops at www.fbo.gov/,
outlining the proposal. Potential interested parties can also contact
the Mint’s Dean E. Bidle, chief of headquarters operations
procurement, by telephone at (202) 354-6606 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The act, which was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont.,
requires that the Treasury secretary mint and issue 1-ounce .9995 fine
palladium bullion coins with a $25 face value not more than one year
after the submission of the study to the Treasury secretary and to Congress.
Hume said May 5 that the Mint has not yet begun producing models
or dies, and will not unless the study supports the Mint’s producing
Public Law 111-303 grants the Treasury secretary authority to
issue both Proof and Uncirculated versions of the palladium coins in
addition to the bullion coins. The Proof and Uncirculated coins would
both be considered numismatic products to be directly sold to the
The authorizing act also permits the finish of the Proof and
Uncirculated versions to be changed annually in subsequent years
following the inaugural release.
Interested parties have until June 17 to respond to the RFI to be
considered for the possible competitive solicitation to perform a
The act authorizing the palladium coins, signed into law by
President Obama on Dec. 14, mandates “that a Marketing Study be
conducted, and submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury and the
Congress, analyzing the market for palladium bullion investments and
evaluating whether the demand for palladium bullion coins produced by
the United States Mint would be adequate to ensure that the coins
could be minted and issued at no net cost to taxpayers. The Act
requires that this study be performed by a reputable and independent
According to the April 13 RFI, once the contract has been awarded,
it is anticipated that it will take no longer than 90 days to complete
According to the RFI proposal, “The scope of the resulting
contract will include the full range of market analysis services to
achieve the purposes of Public Law 111-303, section 2, paragraphs
(v)(1) and (v)(8).”
Pursuant to the solicitation, “offerors” will be required to
prepare and submit:
➤ A proposed performance work statement for a structured and
comprehensive study to accomplish the purpose.
➤ Credentials supporting “offeror’s” status as reputable and independent.
➤ Measurable performance standards and the method of assessing
contractor performance against the performance standards.
➤ Pricing arrangement with performance-based incentives that
correspond to the performance standards.
The American Eagle palladium bullion coin authorized under Public
Law 111-303 is mandated to have an obverse that represent a
high-relief rendition of the obverse of the Winged Liberty Head dime
(1916 to 1945), and a reverse depicting a high-relief rendering of the
reverse of the American Institute of Architects gold medal, introduced
Both the original coin and medal designs are the work of American
sculptor Adolph A. Weinman.
The AIA medal reverse is similar to the reverse of the Walking
Liberty half dollar (1916 to 1945), also a Weinman creation.
The half dollar reverse depicts a bold American eagle, wings
unfurled and ready for flight, adjacent to a mountain pine growing out
of a rock.
Weinman created the AIA medal designs in 1906, with the first gold
medal presented Jan. 8, 1907, to English architect Sir Aston Webb.
With few exceptions, the Weinman-designed AIA medal has been
awarded annually since.
According to Richard Guy Wilson in his 1984 reference, The AIA
Gold Medal, “a standing eagle with upraised wings plucks a laurel
branch rooted to a rock,” on the AIA medal’s reverse. “On the rock,
‘.a.i.a.’ is inscribed and below, ‘.a.a.weinman. m.c.m.vii....’ ”
Under Public Law 111-303, the Proof version could be struck only
at the West Point Mint in New York. Proof American Eagles struck at
the West Point Mint bear the production facility’s W Mint mark.
If the Treasury secretary opts to approve production of an
Uncirculated version, according to Public Law 111-303, “the Secretary
shall, to the greatest extent possible, ensure that the surface
treatment of each year’s Proof and Uncirculated version differs in
some material way to the previous year.”
While the Proof version would be struck only at the West Point
Mint with the W Mint mark, an Uncirculated version of a palladium
American Eagle could be produced at any of the remaining three Mint
production facilities – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver.
Previous Uncirculated versions of the gold, silver and platinum
American Eagle with Mint mark have been produced only at the West
Public Law 111-303 does not specify whether an Uncirculated
version of the palladium American Eagle would carry the Mint mark of
the facility where it is struck.
The Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints have both produced Proof
American Eagle silver coins with their respective P and S Mint marks,
as well as bullion versions without Mint marks of American Eagle
silver and gold coins.
The metal to be procured for the contracted production of
planchets for the palladium coins must be purchased from “palladium
mined from natural deposits in the United States, or in a territory or
possession of the United States, within 1 year after the month in
which the ore from which it is derived was mined,” according to Public
“If no such palladium is available or if it is not economically
feasible to obtain such palladium, the Secretary may obtain palladium
for palladium coins described in paragraph (12) of subsection (a) from
other available sources.”
Paragraph 12, subsection (a) specifies “A $25 coin of an
appropriate size and thickness as determined by the Secretary, that
weighs 1 troy ounce and contains .9999 fine palladium.”
Currently, the United States has only one primary palladium
producer, the Stillwater Mining Co. (www.stillwaterpalladium.com/), which operates two
mines in southern Montana.
According to the Stillwater website, the firm’s two mines produce
a high grade ore containing a palladium-to-platinum ratio of just over
3 to 1.
“After mining, the ore is refined by Stillwater at a site near
Columbus, Mont., to a purity of 60 percent PGMs [platinum group
metals], then shipped to Johnson Matthey for final refining of
palladium, platinum and other metals at a facility in New Jersey,”
according to the Stillwater website. ■