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America’s First Palladium Coin

September 18, 2017 0 Comments

First there was gold and silver, the traditional precious metals for coins. Then there was platinum, which has now become a third choice, with an increasing number of coins minted in that metal. Now, after a long incubation, the US Mint is about to give birth to its first palladium eagle. The egg has been incubating since 2010, when the legislation empowering the mint to produce these coins was passed. A feasibility study was required, which came back with a negative response, but coin collectors persisted, and now the moment has come.

A big factor is the development of this coin was probably the existence of the Palladium Maple Leaf coin, which the Canadian mint has had in almost continuous production since 1988, and although the metal is usually considered an industrial metal, not an investment one, that has certainly changed in recent years. Palladium has reached comparable prices to platinum, pushing at $1,000 an ounce, and its price is rising, while that of platinum seems to be in decline. Not surprisingly, this release has stimulated a lot of interest.

Palladium is a silvery-white metal only discovered in 1803, and it is widely used in fields from photography to fuel-cells, and particularly in the catalytic convertors on every car exhaust. There are large deposits in Montana, as well as in Canada, South Africa and Russia. Turned into coins, it makes an attractive silvery coin, that is sure to be eye-catching when first seen.

The US Mint is using an historic design for the obverse of the coin, a beautiful image of Liberty by the great coin designer Adolph A. Weinman. His Mercury Quarter featured the design, mistaken for the god Mercury because of the unusual cap Liberty is wearing. That dime was first struck in 1916, and it is an iconic American coin. ‘L I B E R T Y’ is written across the top, while IN·GOD WE·TRUST’ is across the bottom of the obverse. Adolph A. Weinman’s initials, as a ‘W’ with ‘A’ nesting below it, are directly behind the figure, and ‘2017’ also appears on this side.

For the reverse, a high-relief eagle created in 1906 by Weinman will be used. This design first appeared in 1907, on a gold medal award by the American Institute of Architects. The eagle is perched on a cliff, tearing at a small olive tree with its beak. The reverse will also show the denomination, $25, the words ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’, and ‘1 oz. Pd .9995 FINE’. ‘Pd’ is the chemical abbreviation for the metal Palladium. All in all, the coin will have a classic, quality appearance that will make it really stand out in any collection.

The 1 oz. Bullion coin is scheduled for release in September 2017, so it should be available very soon indeed. It is not yet clear if collector versions are going to be approved, but if they are, they should be released at some point in 2018. This unique coin is sure to attract a lot of interest, and adds another precious metal to both the collecting and investment opportunities of numismatics.

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