US Coins

Mint releases new graphics of American Eagle design changes

The United States Mint has produced graphics illustrating what enhancements were revised on the obverses of the 2021 American Eagle, Reverse of 2021 gold and silver coins to bring the designs closer to the original artists’ visions.

The U.S. Mint began production of the 2021 American Eagle, Reverse of 2021 gold and silver bullion coins on April 10 at the West Point Mint in New York.

Ceremonial strikes were executed by U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder, West Point Mint superintendent Ellen McCullom, chief engraver Joseph F. Menna and retired chief engraver John Mercanti, whose Reverse of 1986 Heraldic Eagle reverse for the silver coin was retired after 36 years in production.

Silver enhancements

The obverse of the silver American Eagle is premised on sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s rendition of Liberty introduced on the Walking Liberty half dollar in 1916 and adapted for the silver American Eagle in 1986.

For the obverse introduced with the Reverse of 2021 production, Mint medallic artists used original plaster models and tooling assets from the 1916 half dollar to refresh the design.

The 2021 silver coin returns some of the elements to their original positions, such as the folds of the flag and the sun’s rays.

The font for the inscription matches that used on the 1916 coin. Weinman’s artist initials are placed on the 2021 to the field below IN GOD WE TRUST. On the Walking Liberty half dollar series, Weinman’s initials appear on the reverse in the field below the eagle’s left wing.

John Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle reverse introduced on the silver American Eagle series in 1986 has been retired in favor of an eagle design by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Emily S. Damstra.

Gold enhancements

On the 2021 American Eagle, Reverse of 2021 gold coins, the obverse design based on sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ original $20 gold double eagle has been revised.

To refresh the design for the 2021 gold coin, Mint medallic artists used a bronze cast of the 1907 coin to capture more details of the original design.

The bronze cast includes higher relief than the Mint could replicate on coins at the time of the original gold $20 piece. Those details are added to the refreshed sculpt.

To match Saint-Gaudens’ vision, the 2021 gold coins have modifications to the Capitol, stars, olive branch, and other elements. The shape and position of the sun’s rays are restored. The number of stars is returned to the number on the 1907 coin, 46, from 50.

Liberty’s eyes are enhanced for a stronger effect. The design also moves the position of Saint-Gaudens’ artist initials.

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