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
“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.