Precious Metals

Proof palladium coins on US Mint radar

U.S. Mint officials are further examining the possibility of offering the nation's first American Eagle coin struck in palladium.

The Mint is surveying its customers concerning their preferences for, not only a 1-ounce .9995 fine palladium coin struck in a Proof version, but half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce Proof versions as well.

Although the original legislation authorizing the palladium coin also sought bullion versions, the Mint had pretty much abandoned the thought of producing bullion versions after a contracted feasibility study concluded the bullion palladium option would be unprofitable. The same study also concluded collector versions offered financial promise.

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That study was rendered moot under legislation passed in December that left all other provisions of the American Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 intact. Those other provisions include the mandate for a 1-ounce, .9995 fine palladium bullion coin with a $25 face value.

U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said there is no correlation between the legislated mandate for the 1-ounce, $25 palladium bullion coin and the Proof options for which the U.S. Mint is currently only seeking customer opinions through the survey.

The Mint contracted with NAXION, an opinion research company in Philadelphia, to conduct an online poll of a random selection of Mint customers between Feb. 18 and March 11, 2016.

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While the survey seeks information on the customers' buying habits for U.S. Mint products, the primary focus is on the Proof palladium coins.

What sizes?

The survey seeks input as to the customer-appeal of individual Proof 1-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce palladium coins.

The survey suggested a price range between $800 and $825 for the 1-ounce coin; $400 and $445 for the half-ounce piece; $230 and $235 for the quarter-ounce piece; and $95 and $105 for the tenth-ounce coin. As of Feb. 22, palladium was trading on the London market for just over $500 per troy ounce. The coins' prices could vary based on fluctuations in the spot price of the metal.

The question seeking opinions on the Proof palladium coin sizes also notes that, "No further information about the likely design is known at this time."

However, the legislation granting the authority for the minting of a palladium American Eagle, Public Law 111-303, the "American Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010," mandates the palladium coin's obverse to bear sculptor Adolph A. Weinman's Winged Liberty Head from the obverse of the dime introduced in 1916. The reverse design is mandated to be the eagle design from the reverse of the American Institute of Architects gold award medal first issued in 1907.

Public Law 111-303 only addresses production and issuance of 1-ounce coins bearing a $25 face value. The Mint's contemplation of offering fractional Proof versions raises the question of what the face value would be for each of the three additional sizes of proposed Proof palladium coins.

The U.S. Mint currently offers in Proof American Eagle gold coins in $50 1-ounce,  $25 half-ounce, $10 quarter-ounce and $5 tenth-ounce options. When the Mint offered four size of the platinum American Eagles, the face values were $100 for the 1-ounce coin, $50 for the half-ounce piece, $25 for the quarter-ounce piece, and $10 for the tenth-ounce coin.


Public Law 111-303 requires that Proof versions of a palladium American Eagle must be struck at the West Point Mint, but that any other versions can be struck at any of the Mint's remaining facilities in Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The act states that should the Mint move ahead with a Proof palladium American Eagle or an Uncirculated version, that the surface "treatment" of each subsequent year's issue "differs in some material way from that of the preceding year." 

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