US Coins

'Perfect' 1997 platinum Eagle $50 coin a key

The American Eagle bullion program started in 1986 with the production of gold and silver coins and in 1997 expanded to include platinum bullion coins. It has since proven extremely popular with collectors and investors. As the program enjoys its 30th anniversary this year, some issues have become identified as condition rarities in top Mint State 70 and Proof 70 Deep Cameo grades, although rising population reports for some of these issues have caused concern for collectors who spend massive sums for these expensive, low-population rarities. 

The Coin:

1997 American Eagle half-ounce platinum $50 coin, PCGS MS-70

The Price:


The Story:

The American Eagle platinum bullion coin was authorized by Congress in 1996 and issued a year later. Four different denominations were struck in 1997 from .9995 pure platinum: a tenth-ounce $10 coin, a quarter-ounce $25 coin, a half-ounce $50 coin, and a 1-ounce $100 coin. 

The early issues are surprisingly rare in MS-70 condition, as evidenced by Heritage’s sale of a 1997 American Eagle half-ounce platinum $50 coin graded MS-70 by PCGS for $10,594.98 at the March American Numismatic Association National Money Show auction in Dallas.

PCGS has certified just eight in this grade, with the majority of the population grading MS-69, but the population reports show a surprisingly high number in MS-68, MS-67, and even 44 graded MS-66. At 20,500, the mintage would be incredibly low for an American Eagle gold or silver bullion coin, but in grades up through MS-68 this is a common platinum issue that trades near its bullion value. Mint State 69 examples can bring around a $50 to $75 premium over uncertified or MS-68 representatives.

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