Precious Metals

U.S. Mint seeks redesign of silver and gold Eagles

The U.S. Mint could be introducing new designs for the American Eagle silver and gold bullion coins for the first time in more than 30 years if approval being sought from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is granted.

The designs for each respective program have been in use since the silver American Eagle and all four sizes and denominations of gold American Eagles were introduced in the fall of 1986.

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The contemplated initiative was publicly disclosed March 27 by U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder near the end of remarks delivered during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show banquet in Pittsburgh. Any changes in designs, whether obverse, reverses or both, would have to be approved by the Treasury secretary, Ryder said. Ryders's presentation was videoed by Rick Snow from Eagle Eye Rare Coins, Tucson, Arizona.

This is not the first time design change has been suggested for the American Eagle program. At its April 8, 2014, meeting, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommended to the U.S. Mint a different Eagle design for the American Eagle silver dollar reverse. 

The design the CCAC suggested was originally submitted among proposed reverse designs for the 2015 U.S. Marshals Service gold $5 coin. It is reminiscent of the eagle that U.S. Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht designed for the reverse of 1836 to 1839 Seated Liberty or Gobrecht dollars.

The CCAC considered only redesign of the American Eagle silver dollar reverse, not its obverse, nor the obverse or reverse of the gold American Eagle. 

The U.S. Mint has redesigned the obverse or reverse in several multi-year Proof American Eagle platinum coin series, but the bullion versions in that program use the same obverse and reverse designs introduced on the platinum series when introduced in 1997.

The American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins are the most recognizable and best selling bullion coins in the world.

The obverse of the silver American Eagle replicates sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty design for the obverse of the half dollar introduced in 1916. The Heraldic Eagle reverse was designed and sculpted by Chief U.S. Mint Engraver John Mercanti, who retired in 2010.

The obverse of the gold American Eagle is adapted from sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Striding Liberty from the $20 double eagle introduced in 1907. The Striding Liberty design was paired with artist Miley Busiek’s Family of Eagles motif.

Ryder said the Mint is also investigating anti-counterfeiting options for U.S. bullion coins, which are under attack from counterfeiters. Some options could include application to the coins themselves, he said. 

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