The American Platinum Eagle is the official platinum bullion coin of the United States of America. It is one of three coins offered under the Congressionally authorized American Eagle Bullion Coin Program, along with Gold and Silver Eagles coins. Platinum Eagles have proven themselves to be popular with both precious metals investors and coin collectors.
Platinum Eagles were first issued in 1997. Authorization for the new coins came from the Omnibus of Consolidated Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1997 (PL 104-208). Coins were released under US Mint Director Philip N. Diehl and US Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.
The coins are minted to exacting specifications and are guaranteed for weight, content, and purity by the United States Government. Coins are offered in four different denominations, each with a specific fractional amount of .9995 fine platinum. The $100 face value coin contains one ounce of platinum, the $50 face value contains one-half ounce, the $25 face value contains one-quarter ounce, and the $10 face value contains one-tenth ounce.
Platinum Eagles are offered in either uncirculated or proof versions. The uncirculated version of the coin is offered through a network of authorized bullion dealers at the spot price of platinum plus a mark up. The proof version of the coin is offered directly from the US Mint to coin collectors. Prices are set each year, but can be adjusted in the event of a significant change in the market price of platinum.
The design used for the obverse of the coin is a rendition of the Statue of Liberty by US Mint Sculptor/Engraver John Mercanti. The design used for the reverse of the coin is an image of a soaring Bald Eagle by Thomas D. Rogers.
Starting with 1998, the reverse of the proof version of the coin began to feature a rotating design under the Vistas of Liberty series. This program lasted for fives years and used designs which highlighted natural landscapes of the United States.
Recently, the Platinum Eagle Coin series celebrated its tenth anniversary. In celebration, the US Mint issued a special 10th Anniversary Set. This set included two half-ounce platinum eagle coins. One featured a standard proof cameo finish, with frosted raised design elements over a mirrored background. The other featured a special reverse proof finish. This type of finish has mirrored raised elements and a frosted background, the reverse of the traditional proof style.
In recent years the price of platinum has experienced significant gains impacting the affordability of the series for some collectors. When Platinum Eagles were first offered in 1997, the market price of platinum was roughly $400 per ounce. Early in 2008, the market price of platinum exceeded $2,000 per ounce. This has resulted in substantially higher offering prices for the coins, which may keep some collectors on the sidelines.
Michael Zielinski is an internet entrepreneur and coin collector. Learn more about Platinum Eagles including coin information, images, and mintages. Stay up to date with the latest coin collecting news.