The decade beginning the 2000s saw the introduction of three new
series of bullion coins from the U.S. Mint and the authorization of a fourth.
The first new bullion coin program made its debut in 2006, when the
Mint began striking American Buffalo 1-ounce $50 gold bullion coins
under authority granted in the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. These
first .9999 fine gold coins of the United States have been struck by
the U.S. Mint from 2006 to present. The Mint has produced bullion and
collector versions of the American Buffalo gold coins: 1-ounce Proof and bullion versions
every year from 2006 to 2010; and collector (Burnished) Uncirculated
1-ounce, half-ounce ($25), quarter-ounce ($10) and tenth-ounce ($5)
coins in 2008 only.
All of the American Buffalo gold coins are struck at the West Point
Mint, but only the collector versions bear the W Mint mark.
RELATED: U.S. Mint's American Eagle bullion coins
The second new bullion coin program was also authorized under the
Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. Under the act, First Spouse gold $10
coins were first struck in 2007 to coincide with the Presidential
dollar coin series. Though many in the hobby view them as
commemorative in nature, the authorizing legislation defines them as
gold bullion coins.
In 2010, in conjunction with the America the Beautiful quarter
dollar program commencing that year, the U.S. Mint struck the third
new program: America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion coins. Though officially
denominated as “quarter dollars,” the 3-inch-diameter coins were
intended as investment pieces. The designs of the bullion coins match
the designs of the quarter dollars, though instead of the quarter’s
reeded edges, the 5-ounce bullion coins have smooth edges with an
incused edge inscription reading .999 fine silver 5.0 ounce.
What does the future look like for U.S. bullion coins? While silver,
gold and platinum coins will likely continue to be struck, collectors
can look forward to bullion coins in a new precious metal—
The American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 (H.R. 6166)
was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 14, 2010. It
calls for the production of a 1-ounce .9995 fine palladium coin,
denominated $25. The source material is to be mined from natural
deposits in the United States purchased within one year from when the
ore was mined.
MORE: CoinWorld.com's precious metals basics
Production of the new bullion coins, however, is contingent on
completion of a study ensuring that the coins can be produced and sold
with no net cost to American taxpayers.
The coins would be struck in both Proof and Uncirculated finishes,
but “the surface treatment of each year’s proof or uncirculated
version [must differ] in some material way from that of the preceding year.”
The obverse would be a high-relief likeness of the obverse design of
the Winged Liberty Head dime of 1916 to 1945. The reverse is slated to
bear a high-relief version of the reverse design of the 1907 American
Institute of Architects medal, along with the legally required
inscriptions on both sides. The obverse and reverse designs to be
duplicated on the palladium coin were originally designed by sculptor
Adolph A. Weinman.
The above is an excerpt from the eighth edition of the
Coin World Almanac
, published by Amos Media Company in 2011.