Precious Metals

2021 American Eagle gold bullion coin struck with Mint marked die

Professional Coin Grading Service has graded and encapsulated 61 2021 American  Eagle, Reverse of 2021 quarter-ounce gold bullion coins that the grading service determined were struck at the West Point Mint with unfinished Proof obverse dies bearing the production facility’s W Mint mark.

While Proof American Eagles bear the Mint mark of production origin, the bullion issues are not intended to bear a Mint mark.

The 61 coins were discovered by numismatist Gerald Medel from Lakeside Coins in San Diego, California, from coins he and fellow numismatist Todd Pollock from BluCC Photos in Sacramento, California, secured from multiple sources. Forty of the 61 coins were yielded from a single tube of coins.

Ten of the 61 coins were consigned to the online auction firm GreatCollections, with five coins closing on Oct. 31 and the other five closing on Nov. 7.

“It would appear that a W Mint mark Proof die was used in making some of the non-Proof bullion coins that are sold through the Mint’s Authorized Purchaser program,” said GreatCollections president Ian Russell. “Something similar happened in 1999, when $5 and $10 denomination American Eagle gold coins were also mistakenly struck with W mint marks. Those examples are highly sought after today.”

The first “Unfinished Proof” 2021-W American Eagle quarter-ounce $10 coin was discovered by Medel in late September when he was live on his Instagram account for Lakeside Coins ( while opening a roll of 2021 American Eagle quarter-ounce gold bullion coins with the new reverse design.

Medal said he remained silent on the Instagram feed when he saw the Mint mark and set that coin aside.

“All 40 coins in the roll had the West Point mint mark!” Medel said. “The next day I began researching and over the next three and a half weeks I located an additional 21 coins for a total of 61 while searching through thousands of coins.”

After notifying Russell of the find, Medel drove the 61 coins from San Diego to GreatCollections’ offices in Irvine. Russell hand-delivered the coins for grading to PCGS’s offices nearby.

The first 40 mule error coins found together in a single tube are being labeled by PCGS as pedigreed to the discovery roll.

A mule error is one where blank planchets are struck with dies not intended to be paired together.

Russell said additional examples of the error coins have been identified by Medel since the first 61 were certified. Russell said another identified numismatist has located another 20 examples of the mule error.

The earlier coins referenced by Russell are 1999 American Eagle gold tenth-ounce and quarter-ounce bullion coins struck from normal reverse dies and obverse dies intended to strike Proof coins. As in 2021, the 1999 dies were not processed with Proof finishes.

The Mega Red version of A Guide Book of United States Coins estimates 14,500 tenth-ounce coins were produced with 10,000 of the quarter-ounce coins. Other references estimate from 6,000 to 30,000 of each size were produced.

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