U.S. Mint officials expected to offer a second solicitation in late
January for a contract to explore the feasibility of an American Eagle
1-ounce palladium bullion coin.
The original contract was scrapped in December because of problems
in the procurement process.
“The statute requires the United States Mint to obtain the study
services from ‘a reputable, independent third party,’ ” according to a
statement released Jan. 13 by U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White.
“After we awarded the [original] contract, the United States Mint
realized that the vendor had accepted palladium industry sponsorship
for prior surveys and reports.
“This was by no means the fault of the vendor, which we
nonetheless believe to meet the requirement for a reputable firm.
However, we believed that the vendor’s acceptance of palladium
industry sponsorship would not be viewed as meeting the requirement
for an ‘independent third party.’
“Accordingly, we decided to terminate the contract for the
convenience of the government and resolicit the work with an
appropriate conflict of interest provision.”
The $49,000 contract was originally awarded Sept. 30, 2011, to the
British-based Thomson Reuters’ GFMS, one of the world’s leading
economics consultancies in precious metals, specializing in research
into the global gold, silver, platinum and palladium markets.
The independent marketing study to determine the demand for
palladium bullion coins as investments is mandated under the American
Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010, Public Law 111-303, signed
into law by President Obama on Dec. 14, 2010.
According to the Mint’s April 13 Request for Information, posted
online at Fedbizzops at www.fbo.gov/, once the contract was
awarded, it was anticipated that it would take no longer than 90 days
to complete the study.
White said the contract was canceled before the study could be completed.
Legislation for American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010,
which was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., requires that the
Treasury secretary mint and issue 1-ounce .9995 fine palladium bullion
coins with a $25 face value not more than one year after the
submission of the study to the Treasury secretary and to Congress.
Public Law 111-303 grants the Treasury secretary authority to
issue both Proof and Uncirculated versions of the palladium coins in
addition to the bullion coins. The Proof and Uncirculated coins would
both be considered numismatic products to be directly sold to the
public. The bullion coins would be sold through a network of
The authorizing act also permits the finish of the Proof and
Uncirculated versions to be changed annually in subsequent years
following the inaugural release.
The act mandates the palladium American Eagle to have an obverse
that is a high-relief rendition of the obverse of the Winged Liberty
Head dime (1916 to 1945), and a reverse depicting a high-relief
rendering of the reverse of the American Institute of Architects gold
medal, introduced in 1907. Both the original coin and medal designs
are the work of American sculptor Adolph A. Weinman.
Under Public Law 111-303, the Proof palladium version could be
struck only at the West Point Mint in New York. Proof American Eagles
struck at the West Point Mint bear the production facility’s W Mint mark.
If the Treasury secretary opts to approve production of an
Uncirculated version, according to Public Law 111-303, “the Secretary
shall, to the greatest extent possible, ensure that the surface
treatment of each year’s Proof and Uncirculated version differs in
some material way to the previous year.”
While the Proof version would be struck only at the West Point
Mint with the W Mint mark, an Uncirculated version of a palladium
American Eagle could be produced at any of the remaining three Mint
production facilities — Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver.
The metal to be procured for the contracted production of
planchets for the palladium coins must be purchased from “palladium
mined from natural deposits in the United States, or in a territory or
possession of the United States, within 1 year after the month in
which the ore from which it is derived was mined,” according to Public
“If no such palladium is available or if it is not economically
feasible to obtain such palladium, the Secretary may obtain palladium
for palladium coins described in paragraph (12) of subsection (a) from
other available sources.”
Currently, the United States has only one primary palladium
producer, the Stillwater Mining Co., which operates two mines in
southern Montana. ■