The primary bullion coin series available from the United States Mint is known as the American Eagle Series. Each of the coins in this collection features its own, unique image of Lady Liberty on the obverse side and the American bald eagle on the reverse side. No two metallic versions of the coin share the same design concepts. The first coins issued were the Gold Eagle and Silver Eagle in 1986, both with a historic vision of Liberty on the obverse. The American Platinum Eagle coin was the next to be introduced, and its 1997 debut brought with it the only version of the American Eagle that did not use a previous historic coin design of Liberty on the obverse. You can learn all about the American Platinum Eagle coins below.
When the United States Mint introduced the new American Platinum Eagle coins in 1997, it made them available in both bullion and proof versions with four weights available in both versions. These included 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz Platinum Eagle bullion coins. All bullion coins were originally available in Brilliant Uncirculated condition and featured .9995 pure platinum content. The 1 oz coin had a face value of $100 (USD), with the other weights offering various values on a scale relative to their weight when compared to the 1 oz coin. For example, the 1/2 oz Platinum Eagle had a face value of $50 (USD).
On the obverse side of American Platinum Eagle bullion coins is a distinctive design created that year by John Mercanti, a US Mint engraver-artist and the future 12th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 2006-2010. His vision of Liberty, though not from historic US coinage, is nonetheless found only on the Platinum Eagle coinage. It takes a close look at the face of Liberty as featured on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
The reverse face of the coin includes a design of the American bald eagle created by Thomas D. Rogers. Rogers was an accomplished engraver-artist at the United States Mint and designed the image of an American bald eagle with its wings spread to the max as it soars over the continent. This design has persisted on the Platinum Eagle bullion coins throughout their history of production.
In 1997, the United States Mint also offered the Proof American Platinum Eagle coins for collectors to purchase. The Proof Platinum Eagle coins had the same weights available initially and included the same face values and metallic fineness as the bullion versions in the series. The Proof Platinum American Eagle coins have always featured much lower mintage figures and are housed differently. When initially purchased, Proof Platinum Eagles are shipped inside of protective capsules and a US Mint commemorative box with a Certificate of Authenticity included.
What makes the Proof Platinum Eagle unique when compared to other collectible versions of American Eagle coins is the design elements. Only the 1997 and 2017 Proof American Platinum Eagle coins have the same design as each other in the proof series, and the same design as all issues of the bullion coin.
The United States Mint has opted for new designs of the American bald eagle on the reverse of the Proof Platinum Eagle in every year of availability. These designs are often part of a purposeful program that highlights Americana with every design while incorporating the images of Liberty and the bald eagle. Up until 2017, the Statue of Liberty design from Mercanti persisted on the Proof Platinum Eagle’s obverse. Starting in 2018, a new series debuted with fresh designs for both sides of the coinage. The 1997 Proof Platinum Eagle stands alone as the initial issue with the shared bullion design, and the 2017 Proof Platinum Eagle reused that same design as a celebration of the coin’s 20th-anniversary release in that year.
As mentioned above, throughout all of the Proof Platinum Eagle design series introduced between 1998 and 2016, the United States Mint maintained the use of Mercanti’s Liberty design on the obverse. It was the reverse image of the bald eagle that was most frequently changed in the series. Beginning with the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Series in 2018, the United States Mint varied its approach for the first time. A brief breakdown of all design programs is listed below:
All of the highest mintage figures in the American Platinum Eagle Series came during the second year of availability in 1998, with the exception of the 1997 1/10 oz American Platinum Eagle bullion coin. During the first year of availability, the 1/10 oz American Platinum Eagle coin had a mintage of 70,250. By the next year, that figure had dropped in half for this weight.
Since the 2008 reduction of the Proof American Platinum Eagle to just the 1 oz coin and the reintroduction of the American Platinum Eagle bullion coin in 2014, the mintage figures for both versions of the coin have been vastly subdued compared to the late 1990s when the coins were introduced. The highest mintage figures since 2008 in the Proof American Platinum Eagle came in 2011 when 14,700 coins were issued at the height of the Great Recession. For the bullion American Platinum Eagle, the highest mintage figure since 2014 was 20,000 coins in 2016.
For those who want to invest in the American Platinum Eagle or collect the coins of the Proof Platinum Eagle Series, JM Bullion can help answer any questions you might have in the process. You can call us on the phone at 888-989-7223, chat with us live online, or simply send us an email with your inquiries.