Palladium Proof Eagles Need to Be Done Right
As Paul Gilkes reported recently, the U.S. Mint is surveying its customers about the possibility of issuing a series of palladium coins in the usual four sizes- one ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth ounce.
I think such a series of coins could be a nice addition to the product lines the Mint offers.
However, there are several caveats.
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First, if collectors are going to buy these coins the premiums will need to be lower than those suggested in the survey, which amount to 60%-65%, 72%-78%, 84%-88% and 90%-110% respectively.
Those premiums are much higher than the ones the Mint charges for other precious metal coins like American Gold Eagle proof coins, and they would be a serious drag on sales.
Second, palladium, like platinum, is not traded nearly as widely as gold and silver are. In the past sales of American Platinum Eagles have tended to be sluggish with the exception of the one-ounce bullion coins when offered at competitive prices.
So the Mint will need to make this offering as attractive as possible by pricing it at the right level and also by choosing the designs carefully and by limiting mintages rather than minting to demand.
There is definitely a lot of interest in using the Adolph Weinman-designed proposed obverse based on the obverse of his Winged Liberty dime and the proposed reverse based on the eagle that appeared on his American Institute of Architects gold medal.
But if the series is to be ongoing, I think many collectors would welcome changing designs perhaps on the reverse side as has been done most years on American Platinum Eagle proof coins.
Of course, the designs would need to be compelling. Many possibilities exist such as different eagle designs, an area where the Mint has a lot of experience and a lot of designs that were considered but not selected for various coin programs.
It would be helpful to survey customers on their interest in changing designs and what themes would appeal to them, but there is little doubt that liberty themes and eagles would be of strong interest to most collectors.
Another consideration is making sure the Mint can secure sufficient supplies of palladium planchets.
If done right, a series of American Palladium Eagle proof coins would be a nice complement to the Mint’s other American Eagle series. With the coming end of the First Spouse gold coin series, it would also help fill a major gap in revenue from that development.