Precious Metals

Mint producing development strikes for palladium coin

Developmental strikes for a palladium American Eagle bullion coin have been struck at the Philadelphia Mint using dies based on artwork that is similar in design to the planned production artwork mandated in the enabling legislation.

U.S. Mint officials said March 8 that images illustrating the developmental strikes are not available for public release.

Development of the planchets for the American Eagle palladium bullion coin is still underway, according to U.S. Mint officials, with striking issues, including die wear, to be assessed more closely when production validation occurs, after the initial developmental phase.

The Mint has a supply of palladium planchets in-house at Philadelphia for testing purposes.

Mint officials indicate “it is premature to comment” on comparing coining parameters for the palladium coin to other metals.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Com­mittee and the Commission of Fine Arts are scheduled to consider, at their respective March 15 and March 16 meetings, design sketches illustrating the mandated devices for the much-anticipated 1-ounce .9995 fine palladium bullion coin, which will bear a $25 face value.

The enabling legislation is the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010, Public Law 111-303.

The general designs have been known since before passage of the legislation; the act specifies that the obverse will replicate sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Winged Liberty Head dime design, and the reverse, a Weinman-designed eagle from the reverse of a 1907 American Institute of Architects gold medal. The designs to be released March 15 should provide hobbyists with a look at how the Mint’s artists interpret those older designs — and in particular, how the statutory inscriptions are incorporated into the reverse design taken from the medal.

Research began in 2016

The U.S. Mint began researching potential palladium suppliers in the spring of 2016. The research and development of the palladium American Eagle is being carried out by the Design and Engraving Department of the Manufacturing Directorate, which is located in the Philadelphia Mint.

While the authorizing legislation requires the bullion version of a palladium American Eagle to be produced at any facility other than the West Point Mint, where bullion issues are currently predominantly struck, no facility is specified yet.

Three of the other Mint production facilities have struck bullion coinage in the past.

The Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints have previously struck American Eagle silver bullion coins to augment West Point output. The Denver Mint has never struck any bullion coins in silver, gold or platinum.

The Royal Canadian Mint has been consulted in the U.S. Mint’s researching  and development of specifications for planchets.

U.S. Mint officials says the bureau has not yet established a firm pricing model for the palladium bullion coin relative to the bullion coins it produces in silver, gold and platinum. 

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