Authorized by Section 524 of Public Law 104-284, American Platinum Eagle coins were first issued in 1997. The Proof and bullion coin program was the culmination of several years of lobbying on the part of Philip Diehl, Director of the U.S. Mint; David L. Ganz, President of the American Numismatic Association (ANA); and Jacques Luben, Executive Director of the Platinum Guild International (PGI), among others. The 1998 passing of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Pub.L. 105-34) qualified Platinum Eagles for inclusion in precious metals IRAs as physical assets. American Platinum Eagles are the only platinum products currently produced by the United States Mint.
Released on June 30, the 2016 American Platinum Eagle Proof coin is the collector coin counterpart of the 2016 Platinum Eagle bullion coin. The coin consists of one troy ounce of 99.95% pure (.9995 fine) platinum and has a face value of $100 USD – though the spot price of platinum tends to hover around the $1,000/oz mark. Proof and bullion Platinum Eagles also come in $10 (1/10 oz.), $25 (1/4 oz.) and $50 (1/2 oz.) versions.
The Proof version is unique, however, in that it has a new reverse design every year; in fact, it is the only United States bullion-related coin that does so. The designs are grouped together under different historically or patriotically themed “mini-series” that run anywhere from two to six years long.
All varieties of American Platinum Eagle are struck at the West Point Mint.
The obverse of the 2016 American Platinum Eagle Proof coin features a close-up of the face of the Statue of Liberty; this is the common obverse for the entire series. It was designed by the 12th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, John M. Mercanti, who is best known as the creator of the American Silver Eagle reverse in 1986 but had also designed the Statue of Liberty Centennial silver dollar that same year. The overall approach to this “Portrait of Liberty” is clean and modern, though the lines delineating her hair seem almost archaic and stiff.
Behind the rays of her solar crown, the word LIBERTY curls around the top of the coin. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out of Many, One”, though there is some debate as to how the phrase is properly translated) is found in the drapery of her raised right arm, beginning at about shoulder level and cradling the rim of the coin downward. To the right of Lady Liberty is the year 2016; beneath the date is the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST. John Mercanti’s initials “JM” are located to the left of Liberty’s face, above her shoulder.
LIBERTY and the year 2016 feature serifs; IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM are in sans serif fonts.
The 2016 reverse depicts a somewhat frolicsome version of Liberty, with a long, flowing piece of fabric draped across her body. The folds and semi-transparent nature of her manner of dress is much in keeping with Classical Greek style. Extraneous portions of Liberty’s tunic point and billow in different directions. Locks of her hair flow behind her head as she turns to look at the American bald eagle in mid-flight at the level of her knees. Its claws are drawn up close to its body in a pose familiar to fans of TV nature specials as an eagle that is about to snatch its prey.
Beneath the eagle are the initials “PCB”, which stand for Paul C. Balan, a U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist and the side’s designer.
In Liberty’s right hand is a torch, similar to the one held by Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, except a wind appears to blow the flame to the left. Liberty’s left hand touches but does not grasp an olive branch, albeit one larger than usually represented on American coins as it extends to almost the toes of Liberty’s bare feet.
Nestled under the lowest branch are the initials “JFM” for Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna. Below his initials and slightly to the right is the West Point mint mark, “W”.
Running clockwise along the edge of the top half of the coin is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Between the word UNITED and the eagle is the face value of $100. The legally mandated inscription .9995 PLATINUM 1 OZ. curves along the lower left.
The edge of the 2016 American Platinum Eagle is reeded.
John Mercanti was named Chief Engraver of the United States Mint by Mint Director Edmund C. Moy on May 19, 2006. One of the most prolific coin designers in United States history, Mercanti is most known for his reverse design on the American Silver Eagle bullion coin (View Designer’s Profile).
United States Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna has more than three dozen coin and medal designs to his credit since joining the Mint in 2005 (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|OBV Designer||John Mercanti|
|REV Designer||Paul C. Balan | Joseph Menna|