By Bullion Shark LLC ……
American Silver Eagles and American Gold Eagles — the United States Mint’s most successful coin programs — are getting their first makeover in 2021 after 35 years of the same designs. Collectors can look forward to the widest range of U.S. Mint Silver and Gold Eagles in 2021 that have ever been issued in the same year. This means not just coins with various finishes, but also coins with two different design types in those finishes, something that has never been done with these two series.
Over a year ago when the Mint announced that it would introduce a new reverse design on both the American Silver Eagle and American Gold Eagle in 2021, most collectors expected the 2020 silver and gold eagles to be the last coins to feature their original reverse designs. As collectors know, those are respectively former Chief Engraver John Mercanti’s heraldic eagle and Miley Busiek’s family of eagle designs.
While the reverses are changing in 2021, the obverse of both coins that respectively reproduce the Adolph Weinman Walking Liberty half dollar and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ double eagle obverses will not change.
At the beginning of October 2020, the Mint revealed the designs that had been selected for both coins after being submitted for a design competition, reviewed by the design review committees, and selected by the Secretary of the Treasury. For the Silver Eagle coins, the new reverse depicts an eagle about to land from a flight as it grasps an oak branch between its claws. The design is the creation of Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Emily Damstra and was sculpted by recently retired U.S. Mint artist Michael Gaudioso. Damstra said she added the oak branch because oak is the national American tree and a symbol of strength.
For the Gold Eagle coins, the new reverse features AIP artist Jennie Norris’s bold design showing a close-cropped, left-facing profile of a bald eagle with a strong, curved beak and thick plumage who has an intense gaze. The artist said this gaze symbolizes “pride and wisdom passed down through generations of time.” Norris is a former raptor handler, and this is her very first design selected for a U.S. coin. The design was sculpted by Mint sculptor Renata Gordon.
Then in late October, the Mint clarified that the existing design will still be used for the first half of the year with the new reverses expected to debut around mid-year. Officials also indicated that bullion and collector coins will be issued of each reverse design type.
2021 Eagle Releases
On January 11, the Mint’s Authorized Purchasers will begin receiving shipments of the bullion examples of 1 oz silver American eagle and the four sizes of Gold Eagle coins (1/10th, ¼, ½, and 1 oz) with what NGC is calling on its 2021 labels, “Heraldic Eagle T-1” for type 1. Around mid-year, they will release bullion coins with the new Type 2 reverses. In addition, there will be collector coins of each type as well.
Now that the Mint has also provided some of the specific details of its 2021 product schedule, we know that in terms of collectors coins a 2021-W type 1 American Silver Eagle Proof will be issued likely sometime in the first few months of the year that will be the last Proof coin of its kind.
Then in the summer, the Mint will release 2021-W and 2021-S Proof Silver Eagles with the Type 2 design as well as a burnished uncirculated example with the new reverse design. And for collectors, there will be a special two-coin Silver Eagle set including Reverse Proof examples of both reverse types.
As for the Gold Eagles, there will be Type 1 2021-W Gold Eagle Proof coins issued starting on March 11 followed during the summer with Type 2 examples of each of the four denominations of Gold Eagles. In addition, there will be a special two-coin set with Type 1 and Type 2 examples of the $5, 1/10th ounce Gold Eagle also issued in the summer. There will also be a Type 2 reverse burnished uncirculated 2021-W gold coin.
Silver and Gold Eagle Prices
The Mint recently announced it was raising prices for many of the collector coins it sells directly to the public. In some cases, such as the bronze medals and silver Proof sets and 5 oz. silver coins, the premium increases were quite substantial.
Based on the current spot and recent Mint prices, collectors can expect to pay about $32 for ungraded Silver Eagles, $67 for the Burnished Uncirculated coins, $73 for the Silver Proof coins, and about $83 for special finishes like the coming 2021 Reverse Proof silver eagles. These prices may change if spot increases (especially for the bullion coins), and the other prices are for coins sold by the Mint to the public in their original government packaging.
As for the Proof Gold Eagles, based on current Mint prices for the 2020 coins, expect to pay about $2,575 for the 1 oz, $1,305 for the ½ oz, $665 for the ¼ oz, and $280 for the 1/10th oz as well as $4,780 for the four-coin Proof set. The burnished uncirculated coin should be about $2,540.
For the bullion coins sold by dealers, expect to pay about $120 or more over spot for the 1 oz., $80 over spot for the ½ oz, $60 over spot for the ¼ oz, and $40 over spot for the 1/10th oz. Keep in mind that many experts expect gold spot to rise in 2021 as the federal debt continues to expand and more stimulus is implemented, so the underlying spot price for gold will likely surpass $2,000 per oz. That also means the premiums for the collector versions of these coins will likely be higher in 2021.
You can pre-order some of the 2021 coins now graded MS69 and 70, including bullion coins struck at the West Point and San Francisco Mint.