Today, April 8, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) recommended a replacement design for the reverse of American Silver Eagles, the U.S. Mint’s flagship product and the world’s most sought coin with sales this year on pace to hurdle 50 million.
Produced in bullion and numismatic formats, the 99.9% fine silver coins have featured the same designs since introduced in 1986 — Weinman’s Walking Liberty design on the obverse and Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle design on the reverse.
With the popularity of bullion American Silver Eagles only increasing in recent years, any proposed changes will undergo extreme scrutiny. In the nearly two-hour teleconference meeting today to discuss new designs, one CCAC member recalled the disaster when the Coca-Cola Company replaced its original Coke formula and introduced "New Coke." It was clear that all committee members were very aware of the weight of the discussion.
Opinions varied with members voicing exceptionally articulate positions. In the end, a vote was cast and one design leapt ahead of the others. Forty-four eagle designs in all were considered, each distinctive candidates and unused from past coin programs. Sixteen were selected by CCAC members before the meeting for further review. Using the 16, a discussion commenced and a vote was taken. The winning design, shown above, was originally considered for the reverse of the 2015 $5 U.S. Marshals Service Gold Commemorative Coins. It is this design, with some changes, that is proposed for reverses of collectible and bullion American Silver Eagles.
The next stage of the process now kicks off. The CCAC recommended that the U.S. Mint create several different versions of the selected design. All will include inscriptions already on American Silver Eagles. Further suggested renditions include an eagle without an olive branch, one with an olive branch and arrows to offer a recognized extension from the Mercanti design, a change to give the beak further separation from the edge, and adjusting the rotation to show the eagle slightly rising in flight.
These renditions will come before the CCAC for another round of discussion and then move to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) for review. From there, the Treasury Secretary has the last say. He can decide to stay with the current design or select one of the recommended ones.
CoinNews.net will publish another article that includes more details about the selection process. Below are images of all 16 candidate designs. Each may be enlarged with a click.