A series of new coins, American Palladium Eagles, are set join the United States Mint family of gold, silver and platinum coins.
President Obama signed the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 into Public Law 111-303 on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. It went through the House and Senate as H.R. 6166, which was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana on September 22, 2010.
The Treasury Secretary must submit a marketing study to Congress signaling there is demand for American Palladium Eagles. Following its submission, the United States Mint will have no more than one year to produce the eagles in quantities appropriate to meet demand. Given the requirement to use high-relief designs that were created by famed designer and medallic artist Adolph Alexander Weinman and couple that with the less expensive nature of palladium — usually about half the price of gold, there is little doubt about demand. It should be significant.
American Palladium Eagle designs will make the coins one of the most attractive offerings from the United States Mint. The obverse will feature a high-relief likeness of the A.A. Weinman "Winged Liberty" design used on the obverse of the Mercury dime which circulated in American change between 1916 and 1947. Each reverse will have a high-relief likeness of the A.A. Weinman design used on the reverse of the 1907 American Institute of Architects Medal.
The coins would include the standard American coinage inscriptions of ‘Liberty’, ‘In God We Trust’, and ‘United States of America’. Additionally, they would feature the legal tender $25 denomination, their weight, and the fineness of the metal.
The American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act leaves the diameter and thickness of the coins up to the Treasury. That is one of the smartest provisions in the law. The United States Mint went through serious technical challenges in producing the new five ounce America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins this year. The original law for those coins, which has since changed, stated that each must have a diameter of 3.0 inches. That resulted in a much thinner than usual coin when combined with the required five ounces of silver. The coin specifications resulted in significant production hurdles which delayed the series launch.
Public Law 111-303 states that the American Palladium Eagles must be produced in .9995 fine palladium and distributed as an investment-grade bullion coin. The Treasury Secretary, which the United States Mint falls under, may also issue proof and uncirculated versions for collectors. The United States Mint would do so and, "to the greatest extent possible," would ensure that each year the collector proof and uncirculated versions would feature differing surface treatments.
The United States Mint will have free rein to strike the bullion and uncirculated versions of the $25 Palladium Eagles in any facility it chooses. However, the Act stipulates it must produce the proof American Palladium Eagles at the United States Mint at West Point, New York.
Public Law 111-303 also dictates that the United States Mint purchase its palladium from mined resources in America or its territories within one year after the month in which the ore was mined. The law does provide a provision where the Mint can look elsewhere if palladium is not available. Stillwater Mine in Montana is the only American location where palladium is mined.
"The partisanship in Washington has gotten pretty toxic, so I’m proud of the fact that I was able to work across the aisle with Democrats and Republicans alike to get my legislation enacted," Congressman Denny Rehberg stated following President Obama’s signing. "This is a good bill for Montana, and I hope the bipartisan manner in which it went through the process can be applied to some of the big-ticket challenges we’ll face over the coming years."
American Palladium Eagles have been a topic of interest since the availability discussions regarding proof gold and silver eagle. Recent testimony in Congress inferred that if Palladium Eagles were struck, it would offer precious metal investors another option which might provide some relief in the demand for the gold and silver coins. The current United States Mint family of eagle coins includes American Gold Eagles, American Silver Eagles and American Platinum Eagles.