American Eagle platinum coin designs celebrate First Amendment
- Published: Feb 12, 2021, 10 AM
Approved designs for the obverses of the Proof American Eagle platinum $100 coins from 2022 to 2025, inclusive, have been released by the United States Mint.
The five-year series, which includes the 2021 issue released Feb. 4, features different obverse designs dedicated to principles mentioned in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The obverses are paired with a common reverse for the series.
The series reflects the five freedoms addressed in the First Amendment — Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Peaceably Assemble and Freedom to Petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
According to the Mint’s narrative for the series, “This series uses the life cycle of the oak tree from seedling to a mighty oak as a metaphor for our country’s growth as a Nation that values freedom. Liberty grows to a thing of strength and beauty from a seed — our Bill of Rights. Each of the freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment contributes to the growth and development of the Nation.”
The common reverse, designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Patricia Lucas-Morris and sculpted by now-retired lead U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II, depicts an eagle in flight, an olive branch in its talons.
The approved designs were selected from multiple sets of designs considered by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and Commission of Fine Arts in separate meetings in October 2018 and March 2019. Each set followed a theme for each freedom illustrated.
All of the obverses were designed by AIP artist and retired Mint sculptor-engraver Donna Weaver and sculpted by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Joseph F. Menna.
The adopted 2021 obverse is dedicated to Freedom of Religion. The design depicts a juvenile oak tree and an acorn surrounded by the inscription WITH FREEDOM OF RELIGION LIBERTY GROWS.
Weaver’s 2022 obverse features a small branch with catkins, framed by the inscription WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH / LIBERTY BLOSSOMS.
The 2023 obverse by Weaver portrays a branch of oak with mature acorns, amid the inscription WITH FREEDOM OF THE PRESS LIBERTY BEARS FRUIT.
Weaver’s 2024 obverse showcases several types of oak leaves assembled between the inscription WITH THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE LIBERTY SPREADS.
Weaver’s 2025 obverse features a mature spreading, impressive oak tree between the inscription WITH THE RIGHT TO PETITION LIBERTY ENDURES. The oak, known for its strength, can live up to 200 years and is a symbol of endurance.
The platinum American Eagle was introduced in June 1997 with a Proof version, with the bullion version introduced in September 1997. Both versions carried the same design, which was used not only on the 1-ounce coins, but fractional versions as well. Fractional coin output ended with the 2008 production year.
Since the 1997 inaugural year, the West Point Mint has struck Proof platinum American Eagles, with the reverse design changing annually. The reverse design changes have sometimes been just a release with a single them or part of a multi-coin thematic presentation.
The 2021 to 2025 platinum issues are the first with the obverses changing annually.
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