2018-2020 Proof American Platinum Eagle Candidate Designs Unveiled (Updated)

by Mike Unser on September 15, 2016 · 21 comments

Today, Sept, 15, the United States Mint unveiled candidate designs for upcoming proof American Platinum Eagles.


A sampling of some of the proposed designs for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 proof American Platinum Ealges

Exactly opposite of past coins, the proofs in years 2018 to 2020 will feature different obverses while their reverses will share one design.

"We asked artists to develop submissions for all three years, creating designs that not only well represent each individual theme, but that also work together harmoniously to give expression to the core American principles of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’," the U.S. Mint said.

Specifically, obverses will offer a unique design emblematic of:

  • Life in 2018;
  • Liberty in 2019; and
  • the Pursuit of Happiness in 2020.

Their reverses will have a common design depicting an American eagle with surrounding inscriptions of "United States of America," "1 oz.," ".9995 Platinum," and the denomination, "$100."

"Most participating artists also submitted optional reverse designs of American eagles to be considered with their obverse sets," the U.S. Mint said.

The pairings contrast to previous editions. Introduced in 1997 alongside companion bullion pieces, the 1-ounce, .9995 pure proof coins have shared an obverse portrait of Liberty while hosting annually changing reverses with themed designs like Vistas of Liberty, Preamble to the Constitution and Torches of Liberty. In remembrance of the series’ 20th anniversary, next year’s 2017 Proof American Platinum Eagle will feature the same designs as on the original 1997 coin.

2018-2020 American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin Design Candidates

U.S. Mint images and descriptions of the proposed 2018, 2019, and 2020 designs are below. They are presented in groupings of 10 sets, with each set having a design for each of the three years. The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) is reviewing the designs today, Sept. 15, and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) will review them tomorrow, Sept. 16.

Set 1


Set 01 is inspired by Art Deco reliefs and features an American eagle in the background of each design, representing America’s democratic government "instituted among men" to protect, defend and secure the rights of its citizens.

american-platinum-eagle-design-02-set01-2018-01 american-platinum-eagle-design-03-set01-2019-01

2018-01 depicts "Life" in the symbolic form of a spring of water flowing into a man’s hands as an American eagle guards and protects.

2019-01 expresses the core principle of "Liberty" by depicting a man breaking through chains as an American eagle works to preserve and ensure his freedom.

2020-01 portrays a man in pursuit of happiness, on a journey reaching for his dream represented by the mountains ahead of him. An American eagle serves as his aide and guide.


Reverse-01 features a stylized American eagle raising its wing as it takes to flight. The sleek angular lines reflect efficiency, power, and resolve in this contemporary depiction of an American icon.

Set 2


Set 02 displays the principles of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" united by an American flag, which flows across all three designs when they are displayed in a triangle formation.

american-platinum-eagle-design-08-set02-2018-02 american-platinum-eagle-design-09-set02-2019-02

2018-02 features the Sun, upon which all life is dependent. The flag signifies the dependency of our core American principles upon "Life."

2019-02 portrays the Statue of Liberty, her face turned toward the sun. The American flag flows behind her, radiating in the light of day.

2020-02 depicts a family with arms raised in joy, silhouetted as if by the sun and superimposed over the American flag. The flag embodies the core American principles which enable the family to live a fruitful and fulfilling life.


Reverse-02 depicts an eagle midflight with an olive branch firmly in its talon.

Set 3


Set 03 depicts elements inspired by the Statue of Liberty, one of the most powerful symbols of America.

american-platinum-eagle-design-13-set03-2018-03 american-platinum-eagle-design-14-set03-2019-03

2018-03 portrays Lady Liberty as an emblem of American ideals, promising a new "Life" through opportunity and freedom to seek liberty and happiness.

2019-03 conveys "Liberty" through broken shackles and chains, a representation of the right of self-determination. The design draws its inspiration from the actual sculpted broken chains that lay at the Statue of Liberty’s feet, part of its commemoration of the perseverance of freedom and democracy in the United States.

2020-03 features the Statue of Liberty’s torch as a beacon for those pursuing their dreams and ambitions while also being afforded a life of safety and freedom.


Reverse-03 depicts an eagle standing, wings outstretched.

Set 4


Set 04 features allegorical figures inspired by classical symbolism, paying homage to the political thinkers of eras past who influenced the roots and the branches of American democracy.

american-platinum-eagle-design-18-set04-2018-04 american-platinum-eagle-design-19-set04-2019-04

2018-04 depicts a female figure pouring water from a pitcher into a vessel, representing the flow of life, rebirth and renewal.

2019-04 presents a figure standing with a book of knowledge in one arm, contemplating a key in her other out-stretched hand. The key represents her self-determination, to her liberty, to her future.

2020-04 portrays a figure holding a cornucopia representing the plenty of Earth’s bounty when determination is employed in the pursuit of happiness, leading to fulfillment.


Reverse-04 shows an eagle standing.

Set 5 and Set 6



Set 05 and Set 06 depict allegorical figures in beautiful landscape settings. The sun and star, used throughout, represent hope, destiny and the potential for happiness.

american-platinum-eagle-design-23-set05-2018-05 american-platinum-eagle-design-27-set06-2018-06

2018-05 and 2018-06 show a figure representing "Life" awakening with the sun and celebrating the dawn of a new day. A single star represents hope.

american-platinum-eagle-design-24-set05-2019-05 american-platinum-eagle-design-28-set06-2019-05a

2019-05 and 2019-05A portray Liberty holding not merely a torch, but enlightenment itself aloft, burning with the constancy of a sun or a star. Behind her waterfalls cascade off the faces of the mountains she illuminates.

american-platinum-eagle-design-25-set05-2019-05 american-platinum-eagle-design-29-set06-2020-05a

2020-05 and 2020-05A showcase an embodiment of "Exploration" pursuing her future amongst mountains nourished by falling water, in pursuit of happiness fueled by hope symbolized in the star. The star, in sight but just beyond her grasp, leads her on her journey.

Set 7 and 7A



Set 07 and Set 07A portray Liberty planting seed for future sustenance, lighting the way westward, and harvesting the well worked crops. The inscriptions "Life," "Liberty," and "Happiness" are likenesses of the handwritten words from the Declaration of Independence.


2018-07 feature "Life" personified by Lady Liberty teaching a small child to sow seeds in a field.  The sword she carries symbolizes the power to defend life. The furrowed earth represents the forethought and labor required to sustain life; while the tree and stream represent Nature, suggesting the need to be good stewards of our environment which sustains life.

american-platinum-eagle-design-32-set07-2019-07 american-platinum-eagle-design-36-set07a-2019-07a

2019-07 and 2019-07A portray Lady Liberty keeping watch over prairies, lakes and mountains as pioneers head westward. The wild terrain featured in the background evokes the quintessential American spirit to explore new territory, the freedom to pursue new landscapes, new ideas and new ways of life. In the foreground Lady Liberty’s lips are parted, suggesting freedom of speech. Her torch is an emblem of the guiding light that liberty provides, while the book represents the rule of law and its equal application. Her wings in 2019-07A symbolize the freedom of movement, opportunity, and potential made possible by the preservation of liberty.

american-platinum-eagle-design-33-set07-2020-07 american-platinum-eagle-design-37-set07a-2020-07a

2020-7 and 2020-7A depict Lady Liberty harvesting the fruits of her labor with a young girl at play nearby. The overflowing cornucopia she carries is a symbol of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual bounty only liberty makes possible—the good things that nourish the body, enliven the mind, and satisfy the soul. The home, orchard, and silo represent American hopes, values, and aspirations and bring to a close the narrative told throughout the backgrounds of the series…from furrowed earth, to prairies and mountains and finally to an agrarian field.  The stubble field, and scythe featured in 2020-07A, allude to the ingenuity and exertion required to claim liberty’s promise. The inscription "Happiness," a facsimile of the handwritten word from the Declaration of Independence, includes the long "s," a letterform which was typical of its time but is no longer in common use.

Set 8


Set 08 features the primary design elements for "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" set against a textured field.

american-platinum-eagle-design-39-set08-2018-08 american-platinum-eagle-design-40-set08-2019-08

2018-8 renders "Life" in the form of a branch of the official American national tree, the oak. The combination of existing leaves and newly growing acorns represent the cycle of life and natural freedom Americans are afforded as a direct result of the Declaration of Independence.

2019-08 depicts two hands nurturing and guarding the flame of liberty. This flame is the beacon which lights the way for all Americans towards their inheritance of liberty and freedom.

2020-08 portrays a young girl with her arms wide open as if to embrace the joy which surrounds her.  She represents the optimism and collective opportunity for happiness available to all Americans.


Reverse-08 shows an eagle standing.

Set 9 and 9A


Set 09 and Set 09A illustrate the progression of a female from infancy to adulthood. In each, the figure is accompanied by an American flag, enjoying the protection it affords, and holding an olive branch to symbolize peace.

american-platinum-eagle-design-44-set09-2018-09 american-platinum-eagle-design-49-set09a-2018-09a

2018-09 and 2018-09A depict an infant symbolizing "Life", the first and most basic of Rights.  The swaddled infant clutches an olive branch while, in the background, the American flag provides a protective and nurturing environment for life to begin.

american-platinum-eagle-design-45-set09-2019-09 american-platinum-eagle-design-50-set09a-2019-09a

2019-09 and 2019-09A feature a young girl symbolizing "Liberty", holding an olive branch, representing peace, as the American flag billows around her, embodying her freedom to grow and flourish in body, mind and spirit.

american-platinum-eagle-design-46-set09-2020-09 american-platinum-eagle-design-51-set09a-2020-09a

2020-09 and 2020-09A portray a mature woman, having been gifted with Life and Liberty, now in "pursuit of Happiness." The olive branch in her hand represents peace, while the American flag she holds twists in her graceful turns as she explores the opportunity around her.


Reverse-09 depicts an eagle in flight, an olive branch in its talons.

Set 10


Set 10 features a close-up of the hand of the Statue of Liberty holding aloft her torch. The flames from the torch become visually more energetic, underscoring how the unalienable rights Americans enjoy build upon one another.

american-platinum-eagle-design-54-set10-2018-10 american-platinum-eagle-design-55-set10-2019-10

2018-10 depicts a torch held aloft by the hand of Liberty, its flame and rays of light flickering to life.

2019-10 portrays a torch held aloft by the hand of Liberty, its flame and rays of light growing stronger, reflecting the strength of the American people once they have obtained life and liberty.

2020-10 shows a torch held aloft by the hand of Liberty, its flame and rays of light intensifying, fueled by life and liberty, guiding the way in the pursuit of happiness.

Other Reverses

57-setxx-rev11 58-setxx-rev-12
59-setxx-rev-13 60-setxx-rev-14

Reverse-11 features an eagle as it prepares to land.

Reverse-12 shows a close-up view of an eagle, emphasizing its powerful form as it looks to the left.

Reverse-13 portrays an eagle grasping an oak branch.

Reverse-14 depicts a close-up view of an American eagle’s head.


Update: The CFA recommended that the obverses in Set 3 be paired with Reverse 9. The panel also voiced some support for Sets 2 and 10, ranking them as their second and third choices.

The CCAC recommended that Set 7 obverses be paired with Reverse 9. The committee passed several follow-up motions, including the suggestions to: simply the obverses’ background, remove the sword in the 2018 design, and replace the ‘Liberty’ inscriptions in the 2018 and 2020 designs with ‘Liberty’ in the coronets.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Joseph Koromaus September 15, 2016 at 1:08 pm

I really love the torches. They seem to give a welcoming impression.

Danny Morano September 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

People looking like drunks or High, a family of Ghosts, very heavy on the references to Slavery with the chains, Women with the “Come Hither” look, Eagles with no Arrows or nothing at all. They all are totally unacceptable. What’s with the Pyramids and the objects that are Sharp or pointed? The only one that I even come close to liking is the Eagle on the reverse of 08 with its wings spread proudly. All it needs is an Olive Branch in one Talon and arrows in the other.
Who or Whom came up with these insulting images? All of them stink and they need to go back to the drawing board. Terrible, insulting, either overdone or plain weird. The worst is the design with what looks like a family of Ghosts.
The Mint is scraping the bottom of the barrel with these designs. I looked at them slowly twice and couldn’t bring myself to look a third time. Totally disgusting.

Jp September 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Ah, Danny, really c’mon now tell us how you REALLY FEEL??? lol

Jeffrey Seigworth September 15, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Well, hard to understand all of the designs and how they all fit into the final product. Was this competion open to fifth graders as well as sixth graders and were Guam, Samoa, and Puerto Rico high schoolers allowed in the competition as well?

D September 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm

I must admit I dislike most of these. The “art deco” ones look like they come straight out of the Soviet era. I don’t think the pursuit of happiness actually mean running around with your arms in the air.

Joe September 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm

They need new talent.

Danny Morano September 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Glad to see someone sort of shares the way I feel about these designs. The one I really can’t fathom is the design that looks like a family of Ghosts. What is that all about? Where this Country is headed and how we’ll all end up? Totally inappropriate as with most of the rest.
Probably gave Monkeys pencils but, I don’t want to insult them.

Danny Morano September 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

D and Joe got it right but JP, you probably were one of the designers. Eagle’s need Arrows back in a Talon. These designs probably have others around the world laughing at us and thinking we’re all on drugs and are getting soft. Some have merit but, will they be the face of our highest denomination coin for the next 4 years.

Whistler September 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Such inartful, semi-PC & cheesy grade school images, what was this a high schol design contest, limited to only the designers of the Reagan or FDR coins (losers!) The torch designs are nice, the others mostly look like a Chippendale’s dancer, a fan dancer, a stoned “Liberty” a clutter obverse, etc. But the mint announced the just SOLD OUT in 5 minutes!

joera September 15, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Oh my goodness. The one with what looks like the sun with a face on it has to be a joke. I mean come on! Who do they want to sell that to? Kids? And the “HAPPINESS” 2020-08 looks like a cartoon. Again for kids. Most of the Eagles look good but some could use a little bit more like the arrows that Danny mentioned.

Seth Riesling September 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Danny –

Thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts & opinions – I laughed along with you on the Casper the Friendly Ghost & his family on that one design! BOO! Very scary. LOL
That young lady doing interpretive dances with our USA flag as her prop is totally inappropriate. That should be done only in a performance art theater troupe setting indoors with admission charged, because it is activity protected by the freedom of speech afterall.
The only ones I really like are Set 5 & Set 6.
They remind me a little of the beautiful Series 1896 Educational series of silver certificate notes.


jim September 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

First of all Mike, it’s the 20th anniversary of the platinum coins not the 30th.

Is that all they’re going to do to celebrate the 20th anniversary? Well, it’s better than the nothing they did for the Buffalo this year for it’s 10th anniversary.

No comment on the designs presented other than to say there won’t be any awards being won for the platinum coin designs in 2018-2020.

I am glad they’re sharing the designs they have to decide amongst. Better than just saying this is what the designs will be for 2018, 2019, and 2020 and that’s it.

And when is the palladium coin going to debut? I thought I read somewhere it was going to happen this year. Or maybe they didn’t want to upstage the mercury dime. Whatever, maybe it’ll come out next year. Palladium is sitting at mid 600’s right now which will make it a good bridge coin between the silver and platinum/gold eagles.

Mike Unser (CoinNews.net) September 15, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Jim, thanks. Tomorrow’s 30th anniversary proof Silver Eagle release must have been on my mind. I’ve updated the article.

I doubt we see Palladium Eagles until next year, based on discussions in the June CCAC meeting when the U.S. Mint said it was still conducting research
and development, and seeking reliable blank suppliers.

Seth Riesling September 15, 2016 at 9:52 pm

jim –

The Mint announced a few months ago that they will use the 1997 original obverse & reverse design for the 2017 Proof APE coin. Nothing special. The first year Proof APE had the same design as the bullion version & now another Proof APE with the same design as 1997 for 2017. What a lazy tribute! Lol
The palladium $25 1-ounce .9995 fine coin was going to be issued this year, but got pushed back due to a full schedule this year & will be issued next year supposedly. The original law passed in 2010 but was flawed & was updated last year but left the schedule up to the Mint on the palladium coin.


Danny Morano September 16, 2016 at 7:48 am

The “Ghost Family” looks like the shadows left after a Nuclear Blast or just getting hit by a Phaser Blast. I do like some of the Eagles but, they need the arrows. The sun looks like a Cereal Advertisement for Rasin Bran I think? What in the world were there “Artists” thinking? And, what was their inspiration? “The “Brain” Pill? Or as Capt. Kirk said “LDS”? BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD! With different artists this time. Someone mentioned the Retro look reminded them of Communist art with all the straight lines coming to a point. I’ll go back a few years ANS say it also reminded me of Nazi WW2 art.No offense but Egyptian Pyramids and what looks like a slave in a loin cloth holding a club or something, absolutely have no place on an American Coin.

Danny Morano September 16, 2016 at 7:55 am

The Hand holding a flame reminds me of part of the Mafia initiation where the person becoming a “Made Man” is holding a burning Saints card. 90% or more of these designs are highly inappropriate and have no business whatsoever being on an American Coin.

Kris September 16, 2016 at 8:15 am

2020-03 is gorgeous. The rest…. eh.

jim September 16, 2016 at 9:57 am

Seth –
re: palladium push back – full schedule this year? Hogwash! …still conducting research and development, and seeking reliable blank suppliers? More hogwash! Is the mint running at full capacity now or is it Jeppson’s brain that can’t handle multitasking? Here we are with 3 1/2 months to go and STILL 5 TBDs on the schedule including the Congratulations set which should have been issued near the beginning of the year. They should just dump it, it’s so late.

Seth Riesling September 16, 2016 at 11:42 am

jim –

The Mint did not want to make a palladium coin due to their survey of the 13 worldwide Authorized Purchases & their customers who told the Mint that their customers were only lukewarm to the idea. Yet, the 2010 law that requires the Mint to strike palladium coins has given them 6 years to do R&D & get vendors for the palladium planchets, but they dragged their feet in protest because the law didn’t state a specific year of issue. The revised law passed last year says basically ASAP but still left a window open as to when. Typical! Congress should know better & should have said do it now to the Mint brass since it is the law! The Mint hoodwinked Congress on this one, telling them it is difficult to obtain palladium planchets. Not so true & they have had 6 years to purchase the planchets & stockpile them!
The design is beautiful & the cost per coin will be much more affordable than a gold or platinum 1-oz coin for sure.
Get it done US Mint!


Mike Unser (CoinNews.net) September 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm

The article was updated at the bottom to include CFA and CCAC recommendations.

Danny Morano September 20, 2016 at 8:30 am

The design they have supposed to mint is basically acceptable except for one thing. The Eagle must have Arrows in one Talon. Not having them is totally unacceptable! It shows an unacceptable weakness of sorts. The Eagle must have Arrows along with the Olive Branch.

Leave a Comment