By CoinWeek News Staff ….
One of the items on the agenda for the March 15 meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) was to have been the review of designs for the 2017 American Eagle Palladium bullion coin – the first palladium coin ever to be produced by the United States Mint. Due to inclement weather, however, the meeting was postponed for Tuesday, March 21 from 10 am to 3 pm Eastern Time.
Therefore, the first design review for the coin fell to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) at their meeting on Thursday, March 16. By that point, the U.S. Mint had released mockup images of the American Palladium Eagle to the media.
The obverse features an adaptation of Adolph Weinman’s “Mercury” dime Winged Liberty head, taking up more than a third of the available space and slightly superimposed over the inscription LIBERTY. The national motto IN * GOD WE * TRUST is located in the lower left portion of the coin in front of Liberty’s neck. The year 2017 is found nestled below the bust’s truncation, and Weinman’s monogram is found behind Liberty to the right.
In the mockup, the last two digits of the date appear larger than the first two; this is presumably because they were added after the initial artwork was produced and the release date was finally decided.
Incidentally, this will make will make 2017 the second year in a row that the design has been revived on modern coinage; last year the Mint offered the 2016 Winged Liberty Centennial gold coin as part of its three-coin set honoring the classic U.S. coin designs of 1916.
The reverse features Weinman’s design for the reverse of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) gold medal, the organization’s highest honor. Presented semiannually, the inaugural award bearing Weinman’s design was first given in 1907. The standing eagle does, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to the eagle on the reverse of Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar, the main difference being that on the medal the eagle appears to be breaking the tree branch with its beak instead of looking out and to the left as on the half dollar. The right wing is drawn back behind the eagle’s body but otherwise the positions of the two eagles are very similar.
The inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1 OZ. Pd .9995 FINE, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the face value of $25 are also found on the reverse.
Congress originally passed Public Law 111-303 in 2010, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury (and by extension, the Mint) to produce a palladium bullion coin. Feasibility studies, planchet procurement and technical development have, until now, delayed the issue of such an investment product. Mint officials consulted with the Royal Canadian Mint, who have produced their own Palladium Maple Leaf coins off and on since 2005. One lesson to be drawn from our neighbors’ experience is that the Mint perhaps should not expect demand for palladium bullion coins to be consistent year to year.
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