US Coins

Different American Eagle reverse designs favored by CCAC

The redesign of the reverses of the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins for 2021 moved one step closer to reality June 23 with the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommending proposed designs for the two series.

The Commission of Fine Arts made different recommendations for the redesign on June 18.

The proposed design recommended by the CCAC for the American Eagle silver bullion coin reverse depicts a close-up of the head of a bald eagle facing left.

If approved by Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, the new reverse would be paired with sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar obverse introduced on the silver American Eagle in October 1986.

Any new approved reverse will replace now retired U.S. Mint Chief Engraver John Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle that has appeared on all versions of the silver American Eagle for 35 years.

The reverse recommended by the CCAC for the 2021 gold American Eagle shows an eagle in flight moving to the left through the rays of the sun peering over the horizon.

Any new gold reverse would be paired with sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens Striding Liberty that appeared on the $20 gold double eagles from 1907 through 1933 inclusive and adapted to use on the gold American Eagles, introduced in 1986.

The new reverse would replace the Family of Eagles motif that has graced all sizes and denominations of the gold American Eagle since 1986.

The design recommended by the CCAC for the silver American Eagle was originally favored by the panel for the gold coin and vice versa, but a separate vote by the reviewers switched the final result.

Updating security of coins

U.S. Mint sought the redesign because of prolific counterfeiting of the world’s top gold and silver bullion coins.

Replacement of the silver American Eagle reverse design was suggested by the CCAC in 2014, but the initiative never moved forward within the bureau.

The CCAC’s motive was design-based.

When awareness of the counterfeiting of the world’s most popular gold and silver bullion coins increased, however, the redesign of both coins became a priority for the Mint.

Anti-counterfeiting technology will be incorporated into the new reverse designs. Mint officials have not identified the technology to be used, but they indicate the design changes are being introduced to coincide with the implementation of anti-counterfeiting steps at the production stage.

The redesigned reverses will be introduced first on bullion releases dated 2021. The anti-counterfeiting measures and new designs will be introduced later on the Proof and other collector versions.

Shared designs

The Mint submitted 39 shared designs for review; each design was presented in two versions, one each for gold and silver. The only differences between the gold and silver version of each design are the inscriptions for the respective denomination and the placement of mandated inscriptions IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Placement of the two standard inscriptions differs on the existing designs. On the gold American Eagle, IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM appear on the reverse. On the silver American Eagle, IN GOD WE TRUST appears on the obverse and E PLURIBUS UNUM on the reverse.

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