Changes planned for obverse of Proof American Eagle platinum coins

Commission of Fine Arts, Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee considering alternatives
By , Coin World
Published : 09/15/16
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John Mercanti’s Statue of Liberty-themed Portrait of Liberty design that has appeared on the obverse of the Proof and bullion American Eagle platinum coins since 1997 will disappear from the Proof version for at least three years beginning in 2018.

The United States Mint will introduce in 2018 a new three-year series of Proof American Eagle platinum coins bearing designs reflecting the American core principles of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness espoused in the Declaration of Independence. The obverse designs will change in each of the three years, instead of the reverse, which has been the side traditionally bearing the changing themes.

The Proof coins for 2018, 2019 and 2020 will share a common reverse, yet to be decided. Designs other than the original Thomas D. Rogers Sr. Soaring Eagle design are being considered for that common reverse.

RELATED: All of the new Proof platinum American Eagle designs being considered

The reverse design of the Proof American Eagle platinum coins has changed annually beginning in 1998. Both obverse and reverse of the bullion version, in years when it has been offered, have been static, with the reverse retaining Thomas D. Rogers Sr.’s Soaring Eagle design first introduced in 1997, paired with Mercanti's obverse design. Both Mercanti and Rogers were sculptor-engravers at the U.S. Mint when the American Eagle platinum coins were introduced in 1997.

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For the 20th anniversary of the American Eagle platinum program in 2017, all versions of the coins will bear the original designs from 1997.

It has not been determined whether the Mercanti and Rogers designs will be further used for American Eagle platinum bullion issues after 2017.

No decision has been announced by U.S. Mint officials as to what obverse and reverse designs will appear on the bullion version of the American Eagle platinum coins, if such coins are offered, in 2018, 2019, or 2020.

Changing the obverse

The U.S. Mint tasked its engraving staff and outside Artistic Infusion Program designers to execute proposed designs for the three-year platinum American Eagle program from 2018 to 2020 inclusive.

“We asked artists to develop submissions for all three years, creating designs that not only well represent each individual theme, but that also work together harmoniously to give expression to the core American principles of ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,’” according to the Mint’s narratives accompanying nearly four dozen designs developed for review by the mandated committees. “Most participating artists also submitted optional reverse designs of American eagles to be considered with their obverse sets.

“Required obverse inscriptions for the platinum proof coin are ‘Liberty,’ ‘In God We Trust,’ ‘E Pluribus Unum’ and the year of issuance. An additional inscription of ‘Life’ has been added on some of the 2018 obverse designs and ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ on some of the 2020 obverses.”

The nearly four dozen proposed designs were scheduled for review Sept. 15 by the Commission of Fine Arts and Sept. 16 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

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