Precious Metals

U.S. Mint to redesign gold and silver American Eagles, implement security devices

The U.S. Mint is moving ahead with plans to redesign the reverses of the silver and gold American Eagles for 2021 to accommodate the use of anti-counterfeiting technology at the production stage. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has given the Mint the green light to replace the designs, which have appeared on the coins since their release in 1986.

“We are planning a redesign of the American Eagle Silver and Gold coins in honor of the 35th anniversary of the American Eagle program. The details of this redesign will be announced in the near future. There is currently no plan to redesign the American Eagle platinum or palladium coins,” said Todd Martin, acting chief for the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications. 
The redesigned reverses will be introduced first on bullion releases dated 2021. The anti-counterfeiting measures will be introduced later on the Proof and other collector versions.

“Since the early days of the Republic, the Mint has been very sensitive to the threat of counterfeiting,” Martin said. “We have made progress in developing state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting measures for bullion coins, and are prepared to implement changes that will enhance the security of the gold and silver bullion coin program.”

Martin said Mint Director David J. Ryder “has assembled an anti-counterfeiting interdisciplinary team within the Mint that is researching and reviewing both overt and covert options to enhance the protection of our bullion products. In addition to improving anti-counterfeiting measures, we are reaching out to educate and inform the numismatic community and consumers about potential counterfeits, thus ensuring continued confidence in our bullion products for years to come.”

The American Eagle silver dollar’s Heraldic Eagle reverse was rendered by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver John Mercanti, who retired as chief engraver in 2010. The Family of Eagles motif legislated for the gold American Eagle reverse was contributed by sculptor Miley Busiek, now Miley Busiek Frost.

Other Mints have acted

The Royal Canadian Mint employs its DNA technology on its Maple Leaf precious metals coins. Its website states: “Every die used to produce the Gold and Silver Maple Leaf coins is laser micro-engraved with an anti-counterfeiting security mark: a textured maple leaf. Our registration process — digital non-destructive activation (DNA) technology — captures images encrypted with a string of codes, and stores these in our secure database.”

Using a specialized device secured from the Royal Canadian Mint, approved Bullion DNA dealers can verify the authenticity of registered gold and silver Maple Leaf bullion coins.

In 2017, the RCM introduced the DNA technology for production of the $1 and $2 circulating coins.
The Royal Mint in Great Britain introduced in 2017 its Integrated Secure Identification Systems technology, which reportedly cost more than £2 million and took four years to develop, for use in the production of the circulating £1 coin.

It is not publicly known what level of security the United States Mint is pursuing in its anti-counterfeiting campaign to battle the influx of counterfeit American Eagles into the numismatic market, primarily from China. 

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