American Platinum Eagles are unique within the greater American Eagle program for a number of reasons. First and foremost, among the four coins now available (gold, silver, platinum and palladium), the Platinum Eagles are the only coins that do not feature a design of Lady Liberty plucked from the obverse of a historic US coin. More significantly though, the reverse designs of the American bald eagle have changed in almost every year of production for the Proof American Platinum Eagles. In recent years, the US Mint has also rolled out various designs of Liberty for the obverse. This makes the Proof American Platinum Eagle coin from the United States Mint the only major American bullion coin with new design elements issued each year. Learn about the various design programs offered for the Proof American Platinum Eagles below.
When the Proof American Platinum Eagle debuted in 1997 it had a shared design with the bullion version of the coin. The obverse featured John Mercanti’s close-up image of Liberty from the Statue of Liberty. You can see her face and crown, and just make out her right arm as it is lifted up (out of view) holding her torch as a guiding light for the downtrodden of the world in search of refuge. Engravings include “Liberty,” the year of issue, and the national motto “In God We Trust.”
The reverse includes the design of an American bald eagle soaring over the nation with its wings spread to the maximum. The sun rises over the horizon below the eagle and the design includes engravings of “United States of America,” “.9995 Platinum 1 oz,” and “$100.” This reverse design came from Thomas D. Rogers, a US Mint artist and engraver. Both designs are used every year on the bullion coin and were used on the 1997 Proof Platinum Eagle as well.
Following the first release of the Proof Platinum Eagle, the United States Mint launched a series of design programs that at first offered new reverse designs every year. It was only recently in 2018 that the obverse design was changed for the first time in the history of the collection.
The first design program offered up by the United States Mint was known as the Vistas of Liberty and was intended to capture the American bald eagle flying over various different settings from across the country. The images that featured on the reverse of this five-coin collection depicted different scenes from various regions of the nation and included designs from just two different men. Thomas D. Rogers continued his early contributions to the Platinum Eagle by designing the 1998 and 2001 coins. Al Maletsky created the 1999, 2000, and 2002 coin designs. These designs featured the following settings:
After three releases that follow no set design theme, the US Mint introduced the Foundations of Democracy collection for the 2006 to 2008 coins. These designs were representative of the three different branches of the federal government. The design basics were as follows:
This time there was no break between design programs as the US Mint introduced the longest design program offered to date. The six-coin design program known as the Preamble to the Constitution explored the very foundations of America’s founding document and offered up new reverse designs based on a narrative provided to the US Mint by former Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts. The designs included differing depictions of Liberty, Justice, and the American spirit in the following releases:
In the shortest collection to date in the Proof American Platinum Eagle range, the United States Mint introduced works from members of the Artistic Infusion Program. The two-design series ran in 2015 and 2016 with new reverse designs representing America’s core values of liberty and freedom. The specific reverse designs include:
The 2018-2020 Proof American Platinum Eagle Coins designs represent not only a new reverse design, but the first new obverse designs in the series. The US Mint selected a common reverse design for the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence that includes an American bald eagle in flight with its wings arched as it clutches an olive branch. The obverse depicts Liberty’s figure in designs reflecting “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Specific design elements include:
Like the bullion coins, Proof American Platinum Eagles debuted in 1997 with four available weights that included 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz platinum coins. Each coin, regardless of size, has .9995 pure platinum content. The 1 oz coins have a face value of $100 (USD) with denominations matching the fractional weight for each of the other three coins. From 2009 onward, the US Mint has only offered a 1 oz platinum coin in both bullion and proof. The Proof American Platinum Eagle was the only version of the two to continue in production through the Great Recession.
Mintage figures were at their highest early in the life of the Proof Platinum Eagle, with the 2011 issue marking the most recent high at 14,790 coins, the third-highest mintage in program history. Generally speaking, most years see mintage figures well below 10,000 coins. All Proof American Platinum Eagles are housed inside of protective capsules, set in a US Mint box, and feature a Certificate of Authenticity.
If you have any questions about this popular platinum coin collection, don’t hesitate to ask. JM Bullion customer service is happy to help you on the phone at 800-276-6508, online using our live chat, and via our email address.