Platinum Eagles (1997 – Date)
When it came to minting coins in Spanish America, platinum was the metal of choice. It was usually mixed with gold, a practice that was adopted in mainland Spain. The British Royal Mint also tried to see if they could use platinum coins as currency in the late 1820s. Only Russia, between 1828 and 1845, was able to use platinum coins as a regular national currency.
Platinum as a metal of choice for coins is not practical. It is very difficult to work with and resembles many metals that are less expensive. However, they have been regularly minted in many countries since 1983. Included in that list is the American Platinum Eagle of the U.S.
History of the Platinum Eagle Coin
The legislative process for creating the Platinum Eagle began in 1995. US Mint Director Philip N. Diehl, American Numismatic Association President David L. Ganz, and Platinum Guild International Executive Director Jacques Luben worked together on the project for two years. In 1997, the US Mint released the first Platinum Eagles.
The Platinum Eagle coin was offered in three weight varieties: one-tenth ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-half ounce. The production of the piece is backed by US Congress, with both proof and uncirculated issues released each year.
Design of the Platinum Eagle Coin
The design of the American Platinum Eagle coin features the same design on the obverse: a portrait based on the Statue of Liberty. The reverse side of the coin keeps changing each year, although it always depicts an eagle.
American Platinum Eagles released from 1998 to 2002 featured a reverse design series called “Vistas of Liberty.” Each of the coins released annually featured an eagle but put in various landscapes across the US.
The 1998 Platinum Eagle featured an eagle flying over New England. The eagle was next seen flying above Southeastern Wetlands for the 1999 edition. The platinum coin released in 2000 featured an eagle flying above a Midwestern field, barn, and house. Platinum Eagles released in 2001 depicted an eagle flying above a large Saguaro cacti in the Southwest. The last of the American Platinum Eagle Vistas of Liberty series, released in 2002, depicted a swopping eagle in the Northwestern US.
Another themed series for the American Platinum Eagle was released between 2006 and 2008. Each coin made followed the theme “The Foundations of Democracy” and featured designs representing the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.
In 2009, a new six-year platinum coin series was started. The American Platinum Eagles in this series explored the core concepts of American democracy. Each of the coins highlighted the Preamble to the United States Constitution.
2017 marked the 20th year that the American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin was produced. The milestone was commemorated by releasing a coin featuring the design as it was back in 1997.
Collecting the Platinum Eagle Coin
American Eagle Platinum Bullion Coins are legal tender with their face value imprinted on the coin. They are produced in limited mintage through participating precious metals and coin dealers, as well as banks and brokerage firms.