American Palladium Eagle Study Ready for Congress

by Darrin Lee Unser on March 1, 2013 · 20 comments

Will investors and collectors be able to purchase American Palladium Eagle coins? That question moves one step closer to getting answered next week.

Weinman's Winged Liberty and 1907 American Institute of Architects medal designs

If American Palladium Eagle coins turns into reality, the obverse will feature a high-relief of Weinman’s Winged Liberty design as it appeared on obverses of Mercury dimes from 1916 to 1945 and the reverse will bear a high-relief of Weinman’s design as seen on the reverse of the 1907 American Institute of Architects medal

Congress authorized Palladium Eagles with the passage of the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-303). However, before the U.S. Mint can produce the .9995 pure palladium coins, it had to undertake a market study to determine their feasibility.

The purpose of the study according to the authorizing legislation was to insure "adequate demand for palladium bullion coins produced by the United States Mint to ensure that such coins could be minted and issued at no net cost to taxpayers."

Congress, by law, must also see the results of the study. To that end, the U.S. Mint contracted with CPM Group to complete it. U.S. Mint officials received the results of the research last year. Since then, those results have undergone review and analysis. A final report is apparently now complete:

"The study is due to be delivered to Congress next week," stated U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White.

That report will go to the Senate Banking Committee and House Committee on Financial Services.

Assuming the study indicates sufficient demand and producing Palladium Eagles results in no net cost to taxpayers, bullion versions would appear within a year. A maximum 12-month period from delivery of the report to Congress to the release of the coins was another stipulation of the authorizing legislation.

If American Palladium Eagle coins become reality, the obverse of each will showcase Adolph A. Weinman’s “Winged Liberty” design. It originally appeared on the circulating 1916-1945 Mercury dime. Reverses would depict Weinman’s 1907 American Institute of Architects medal design.

The authorizing legislation only requires American Palladium Eagle bullion coins. However, the Secretary of the Treasury also has the authority to produce collector Palladium Eagles.

Of note, if the U.S. Mint strikes American Palladium Eagle proof or uncirculated coins for collectors, the authorizing legislation requests that the surface treatment of each year’s issues differ in some material way from that of the preceding year.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Shawn March 1, 2013 at 7:20 am

I like the idea, but couldn’t they come up with a better design than the old mercury dime? It has been done to death by every bullion provider in the country.
An expensive coin that looks like my roll of bullion silver?
The obverse looks great. Where is the originality? Are we just a recycled idea culture?
The Austrian mint comes up with brilliant designs EVERY year in plain metal coins. The designers are out there, has America lost the ability to innovate?

jim March 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! Boy these people are sloooow.

Shawn – the obverse/reverse designs are dictated by the law, blame Congress. Obviously they don’t trust the mint designers to come up with anything as good as was done in the early 1900’s. I think you meant to say the reverse looks great if you’re complaining about the Liberty obverse. And if you like the reverse design so much, it’s older than the obverse.

Shawn March 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

Thought I was pretty clear about not liking the mercury design, sorry about the reverse/obverse confusion. Blame Congress? Did congress provide the designs? Congress approved what they were shown. They approved the idea.

jim March 1, 2013 at 9:20 am

The designs are specified in the bill. Congress voted the bill into law. They could have removed or changed the specifications but didn’t. They didn’t just approve the idea they approved the designs as well.

CW March 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

Most of the 1/10 bullion silver ‘Mercs’ look like garbage.

Shawn March 1, 2013 at 11:20 am

Jim, change them to what? You think they should be banging out the latest designs? They are shown a design and then the cost features associated with it. Have you ever run a business? Understand the concept of delegation?
This is rubber stamp legislation, like state birds or flags.
The mint has a committee that studies, seeks designs and then makes recommendations, you want to absolve them of responsibility? Sounds like you may have been on the committee.

Ed March 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Merc head is lame.

RonnieBGood March 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm

The Gold buffalo has had great success as a copy of the old buffalo nickel, in both Gold and Silver.

A larger version of the Mercury Dime Obverse with a “Walker” style Reverse will do Very Well in any Medium.

Mike March 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Looking for variation, there are coins for sale from mints all around the world, plain, gaudy, colored, odd shapes, very limited mintage, you name it. Just looking forward to a Palladium coin.

jim March 2, 2013 at 12:23 am

Shawn – read the bill. It was proposed by Rep. Denny Rehberg [R-MT]. Ask him why he specified the designs for the coin rather than having the mint do so. By change I meant rather than specify the design change that part to say the mint should come up with an appropriate American Eagle design. By remove I meant they could have removed the specification altogether and by default let the mint come up with an appropriate American Eagle design.
Too bad you missed the boat when the bill was proposed in 2010. You might have made a difference if you were so vehement about your dislike of the designs to your representatives and senators then. Now you just have to live with it.

thePhelps March 2, 2013 at 5:56 am

I actually like the idea of using the classic designs. I especially like the Eagle on this design. Now I have to start digging the copper Lincolns out and count em up to see if I have any chance of buying 1 of these.

Shawn March 2, 2013 at 8:10 am

Jim,
I have read the bill and you are totally correct. My apologies. I guess the representative wanted a coin that would support the Montana state palladium mines and put together a complete package.
It is still an ugly design lacking any imagination in my opinion. Winged liberty is a ridiculous concept in present day Amerika. It is a minority opinion as supposedly, many people love it. I can always vote with my dollars.

jim March 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

Shawn – I don’t doubt that that was his intent. And yes, you can always not buy the coin; however I would suggest you at least buy the first one since the starter coin is always more popular than others and more in demand. Then unless metals prices change dramatically you could cash in when the 10th anniversary coin(s) come out.

CW March 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

‘Winged liberty is a ridiculous concept in present day Amerika.’ I agree. Who needs the Constitution too? It was written by a bunch of dead guys. No wonder this country is screwed. Attitudes like this seem to be becoming mainstream.

Richard March 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I think the design limitations were a good choice, given the designs the mint comes up with otherwise. Until we start breeding sculptors of the talent of St. Gaudens or Weinman again (which with figurative art making a come-back after 50 years in the trenches, I’m hopeful this may happen), and until the mint stops hiring photographers for engravers, let’s stick with using these real art pieces. Else we get another platinum liberty: an exhorbitantly costly kitch design, obverse resembling a tourist trinket and a reverse that can’t even fill out the field. And again, what’s with them designing directly from photo’s? Have we forgotten the desirability of the allegory that can come from [the right] artist’s hand? Come on.

Palladium beauty…. we anxiously await.

Richard March 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Since collecting is not simply a rational action – a need – but a rationalization brought on by our desires, feelings, and opinions – our wants – I just wanted to offer a glimpse into mine… those forming the opinion of a young collector. And I’d love to know if any one feels the same way, because I strongly feel it’s these thoughts that really drive the collector’s markets.

PLATINUM
I’ve never been remotely interested in our platinum coins for two reasons:
1) I love the statue of liberty, but on a coin she looks like a cliche – like a tourist trinket. There are already many more sophisticated liberties out there to choose from (if we think of sophistication as being embodied by anything that’s harder to describe – this goes for colors, art, people – this starts to makes sense).
2) Super high prices + an unchanging design = why would I ever collect that? (I don’t collect our gold coins for the same reason, although I’ve considered them, based solely on their beauty)

PALLADIUM
I’ve also never bought a palladium coin from another country – simply because the designs are… well… simple. An interesting metal needs an interesting design, and similarly, an expensive metal needs a sophisticated design – one drawing from the highest works of art. It’s basic marketing really – all the components need to align in order to appeal to your target market.

And that’s why this coin MUST get made. Next to the 2009 Ultra High Reliefs, this is the most desirable idea the mint’s had since I started collecting very young, 19 years ago (I’m 32).

1) It’s exotic, new, and exciting.
2) It’s of a material that is extremely rare
3) Yet the prices are attainable
4) The obverse portrays one of the most elegant “liberties” ever designed, so it’s just the opposite of the cliche on our platinum coins.
5) The reverse is a refreshing take on a very sophisticated version of our eagle – on the level of the UHR’s – and leagues better than the platinum’s flat design and looks as if [UN]inspired from a poor photo.
6) And it will come out in a new finish every year? Are you kidding me? This sounds too good to be true!

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to collect a coin with such a passion.

Anyone feel similarly?

Richard March 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm

On a related note:

To all you collectors out there with more experience and wisdom than I:

If you want your collections to hold or grow in value, we’ll need to get the Mint to draw in more young collectors with exotic, new, and exciting coins – even with an old hobby such as this. And I don’t mean all the overabundance of boring that the Mint is issuing since the 50 state quarters program. It was fun until the 50th State when we all realized our collections halved in value at the end and insult was added to the injury when the Mint kept coming up with every reason under the sun to pump similar quantities of coins out.

Quality over Quantity please? Since collecting is driven 100% by desire (not need), there’s a lot the US Mint could learn about quality from the most desirable brands in the world. Perhaps oddly, perhaps not, European fashion brands come to mind – Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Apple… wait.. Apple? Yes, Apple’s success has come from a European approach, which is why it was so misunderstood by American analysts at the beginning of it’s rocket ride. These brands know that they’ll sell anything they make if they push quality to the forefront, focusing all their public efforts into driving desirability. A desirable brand with THE desirable product sells huge.

The last several years have brought some great examples of quality in International coinage: France, Spain, and the Netherlands are your leaders in design innovation. And they’re not just adding avant-guarde graphic designs of subjects that are actually interesting; they’re physically innovating. Exotic metals, multiple metals, coins within coins, technologically-advanced aesthetics, wavy planchets, etc (please let’s not resort to coloration though – else coins really become kitch trinkets). They’re only downfall is price (too high) and market (too weak, poor Europe). But the design is spot on and somehow the French mint still sells out relentlessly.

So bring on the Palladium coin. Relative to these European mints, it’s even conservative… yet so oh so nice. Perhaps most accurately, it’s the US Mint’s iPod/iPad… questioned by the misunderstanding analysts; yearned for by collections… to be (or sadly not to be) the coin of coins.

I guess we’ll know by March 1, 2014.

Richard March 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm

This is really a shame. We need more quality of quantity. The mint should stop issuing so many variations on pocket change and issue something meaningful and new like a palladium coin.

Jeff Beedham June 14, 2013 at 12:54 am

I hope they stamp the word Palladium on there with the purity like other Government minted Precious Metal coins. This could become a serious problem during resell as Palladium looks very similar to Silver and Platinum.

jim June 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

Why do you think they wouldn’t? Even if they didn’t the designs are unique between the three different metals so that should be sufficient, especially for those who can’t read. I give the mint till 2016 to come out with a palladium coin and if they don’t by then they never will.

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