American Platinum Eagle coins debuted in 1997, with authorization from the United States Congress and the backing of the United States Mint for its weight and content. All American Platinum Eagle coins feature .9995 pure platinum content and 1 oz coins have a face value of $100 (USD), which at the time of introduction was the highest face value on any American coin.
In addition to the bullion version of the American Platinum Eagle, the US Mint strikes and releases on an annual basis the Proof American Platinum Eagle. This coin is without question the most unique coin available from the United States Mint, which makes it an excellent addition to your personal collection.
The Proof American Platinum Eagle is the only major bullion coin from the United States Mint to feature a new reverse design each year. In the introductory 1997 issue, the bullion and Proof American Platinum American Eagle coins featured the same design on both the obverse and the reverse.
However, starting in 1998 the US Mint released a series of different design programs for the reverse face of the Proof American Platinum Eagle coins. The first images ever used on the American Platinum Eagle included the following:
Throughout the course of nearly 20 years of production, the Proof American Platinum Eagle has featured a total of four different reverse design programs. These design series do not cover every year of release, but do account for the vast majority of the changing designs used in the series.
From 1998 to 2002, the United States Mint unveiled five different reverse Proof American Platinum Eagle coin designs. Known as Vistas of Liberty, the theme featured the American bald eagle flying over various different scenes from across the United States. Thomas D. Rogers created the first of these images in 1998, with the full list including the following:
Following the conclusion of the Vistas of Liberty design series, the Proof American Platinum Eagle coins would continue to feature new reverse designs in 2003, 2004, and 2005 without featuring a particular design theme. Maletsky created a fourth and final design for the Proof American Platinum Eagle in 2003 with the image of an American bald eagle perched atop a rocky mountain’s cliff, with the American flag serving as the backdrop.
Donna Weaver created both the 2004 and 2005 design in this period, with the first featuring an engraving of the sculpture known as “America” from outside of the US Customs House in New York City, which was designed by Daniel Chester French. Her 2005 design depicted the American bald eagle atop the heraldic shield of the nation, and was similar to the heraldic eagle design of other coin programs.
From 2006 to 2008, the Mint rolled out a series of three new designs known as the Foundations of Democracy series that highlighted the role of the three branches of the American government: judicial, legislative, and executive. The features of these designs included the following:
Starting in 2009, the United States Mint unveiled its longest running program to date for the Proof American Platinum Eagle coin. Running from 2009 to 2014, this six-coin explored the core concepts of American democracy by highlighting the Preamble of the United States Constitution. Design features include the following:
The shortest coin design series for the Proof American Platinum Eagle is the recently released Torches of Liberty design. Available on the 2015 and 2016 coins, these images come from members of the United States Mint Artistic Infusion program. Paul C. Balan designed the images used on the reverse of both releases, and United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna contributed to the finished product. Features of the Torches of Liberty theme include:
When the American Platinum Eagle coin was first introduced in 1997, both the bullion and proof versions of the coin were available in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights just like the American Gold Eagle coin. While the bullion coin continues to feature fractional-weight coins, the United States Mint last struck the Proof American Platinum Eagle’s fractional-weight coins in 2008. They are no longer in production today, with only the 1 oz Proof American Platinum Eagle available.
The Proof American Platinum Eagle coin typically has an extremely low mintage. In recent years, the mintage for the coin has been held under 10,000 annually. However, rising precious metal prices and increased demand for gold, silver, and platinum have pushed demand for American Platinum Eagles higher. After striking just 4,000 coins in 2015, the 2016 Proof American Platinum Eagle had a mintage of 10,000 coins.