Precious Metals

Palladium American Eagle really could happen in 2017

After seven years of development and study, an American palladium bullion coin may finally be struck before the end of calendar year 2017.

The coin has been a long time coming. It was authorized under provisions of the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010, which calls for production of a 1-ounce palladium coin with a $25 face value. The coin would be an extension of the American Eagle bullion coin program

Currently, development of a palladium bullion coin is progressing well enough to create a strong likelihood that collectors and investors will be able to purchase struck coins before the end of 2017, according to Mint sources.

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The enabling legislation calls for the palladium bullion coin to be struck at the Philadelphia, Denver or San Francisco Mint, but prohibits it from being produced at the West Point Mint. That facility, in New York, is where most of the nation’s other bullion coins are struck: gold and platinum American Eagles, most of the silver American Eagles, and the American Buffalo gold coins. The Philadelphia Mint strikes the America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion coins and has been called upon to strike American Eagle silver bullion coins when demand requires.

The Philadelphia Mint is the likely frontrunner for striking the palladium coin, according to Mint sources, because that facility is where the palladium coin’s development is being explored.

However, should U.S. Mint officials choose to also strike a Proof collector version of the palladium American Eagle, the Proof issue must be struck at the West Point facility, according to the authorizing legislation.

The legislation mandates the obverse design be a high-relief version of sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Winged Liberty Head design for the dime struck in 1916. The reverse is mandated to be a high-relief version of the Eagle design Weinman rendered in 1906 for the reverse of the American Institute of Architects’ gold medal first presented in 1907.

U.S. Mint officials are still working on securing reliable vendors to provide palladium planchets. The planchets must meet Mint specifications and be supplied in a sufficient quantity to fulfill market demand for a U.S. palladium bullion coin. U.S. Mint officials are still assessing that market demand.

The 2010 legislation authorized a feasibility study that was conducted in 2012 and issued in 2013 and that suggested that a palladium bullion coin program at that time was not economically viable, but that a Proof collector version could turn a profit.

The effort was virtually mothballed after release of the 2013 report, but was resurrected with the 2015 passage of legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.

Huizenga’s measure — The Bullion and Collectible Coin Production Efficiency and Cost Savings Act — negated the paragraph of the 2010 law that required favorable results before proceeding with a palladium coin, but left all other provisions of the 2010 act intact.

The technical correction legislation was included in a large transportation bill signed into law Dec. 4, 2015, by President Obama. 

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