Palladium American Eagle bullion coins get high grades from services

Many submitted to grading services earning Mint State 70 designations
By , Coin World
Published : 10/06/17
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Early reports from Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. indicate the inaugural 2017 American Eagle palladium bullion coins are of superior quality, with many of the initial submissions grading Mint State 70.

While the coins are being issued as a bullion coin, the palladium American Eagles are being treated on the secondary market as a numismatic issue, with premiums to match.


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Secondary market promoters were apparently so confident in the anticipated high quality of the coins that many coins were pre-sold on eBay as being certified MS-70 by either service.

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The United States Mint sold 15,000 of the 1-ounce .9995 palladium $25 coins through its network of authorized purchasers on Sept. 25. U.S. Mint officials announced Oct. 5 that no more 2017 palladium bullion coins will be struck (all production occurred at the Philadelphia Mint). 

The bullion coins are the nation’s first palladium coins of any kind.

NGC, PCGS observations

Max Spiegel, senior vice president of sales and marketing for NGC’s parent, Certified Collectibles Group, said the grading service received its first submissions of the palladium bullion coin on Oct. 2.

“I am told that the quality is exceptional and we are seeing a high percentage of 70s,” Spiegel said.

Mark Salzberg, NGC chairman, said: “I think this is the most exquisite and successful design for a US coin of the modern era. It combines a classic obverse with a powerful reverse in beautiful high relief. The new Palladium American Eagle is truly magnificent.”

PCGS is experiencing similar results. “PCGS has received a significant number of palladium Eagles and more will be arriving this week,” PCGS Vice President Mark Stephenson said Oct. 3 via email. “The coins are very well-made, with most coins receiving PCGS MS-70 grades, and fewer that are receiving PCGS MS-69. A small number of coins are coming in with die flecks or strike throughs, which we also see on other bullion issues. However, we haven’t seen any coins that don’t grade at least PCGS MS-69 thus far.”

When the U.S. Mint offered the coins to authorized purchasers, palladium’s closing spot price was just under $920.

Secondary market prices have ranged from $1,050 to $1,100 for coins not graded by a third party grading service, based on completed eBay sales and confirmed sales from other marketers.

Palladium American Eagles grading Mint State 69 by either PCGS or NGC have been confirmed sold at about $1,200, and MS-70 certified coins from both services are selling in the $1,549 to $1,600 range, dependent on the service and the grading label used in the holder.

Palladium sales

Ron Friedman, president of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes Inc. (MTB Coins) in New York, one of the Mint’s authorized purchasers, said the firm purchased from the Mint its entire, undisclosed allocated amount of palladium Eagles for resale to wholesale buyers.

“Demand was very strong,” Friedman said. “I wish there were more coins available.”

Friedman added: “The release was very limited in scope. We felt obligated to sell our allocation to our loyal wholesale customers and not hold coins back for [third-party] grading.”

Kyle Klosinski, product manager for another Mint authorized purchaser, APMEX Inc., in Oklahoma City, said Oct. 3 “we didn’t get as many as we wanted. They were selling like hotcakes.” Klosinki said some of the allocation was sold wholesale, while retail sales included coins certified by major third-party grading services as well as coins that were not certified.

Klosinski said APMEX also purchased additional coins from other sources to fill customer orders.

“It’s been a balancing act,” he said. “Demand far outpaced supply beyond what the U.S. Mint anticipated.

“We didn’t want to get caught not being able to fill orders.”

The quality of the coins is beyond what Klosinski said he has seen on silver, gold and platinum American Eagle bullion coins. Much of that is due to the palladium coin being struck in high relief and with the coins manually packed in tubes of only 10 coins each, with spacing between coins and cushion material on both ends inside the tube.

Five tubes of 10 coins each were carefully packaged inside “mini monster boxes” containing a total of just 50 coins.

“The Mint paid more attention to the production quality and the handling,” Klosinski said.

In comparison, the American Eagle platinum bullion coins are packaged 100 coins per box, with five tubes of 20 coins each, without any sort of internal cushioning in the tubes.

American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins are robotically tubed, 20 coins per roll, then inserted into monster boxes of 500 coins, with each monster box containing 25 of the 20-coin tubes.

Design mandate

As mandated under provisions of Public Law 111-303, the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010, the palladium American Eagle, struck in high relief on both obverse and reverse, bears sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Winged Liberty design that first appeared on the Winged Liberty Head dime in 1916. The reverse exhibits Weinman’s eagle reverse from 1906 executed for the American Institute of Architects gold medal, first awarded in 1907.

Production technicians at the Philadelphia Mint used the original reverse plaster model from the AIA medal to execute the reverse dies for the palladium coin.

The palladium bullion coins are not sold directly to the public, but instead to several approved buyers, termed authorized purchasers, firms able to both sell and repurchase the U.S. Mint’s bullion issues, thus offering a two-way market. The authorized purchasers sell the bullion coins into the market.

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