2017 palladium American Eagle design mock-ups revealed

Mockup of the proposed design for the 2017 palladium American Eagle coin. (U.S. Mint photo, via Coin World)

Mockup of the proposed design for the 2017 palladium American Eagle coin. (U.S. Mint photo, via Coin World)

This post was modified on the evening of March 17 to add the image-comparison slider, and to modify the language about the obverse design, which suggested a more exact replication than actually exists.

In an article by Paul Gilkes, Coin World has shared U.S. Mint mock-ups (shown above) for the 2017 palladium bullion coins. The obverse closely follows (with a few subtle differences) the classic Winged Liberty dime obverse by Adolph A. Weinman. The word LIBERTY encircles the field above the effigy, while IN.GOD / WE.TRUST is placed in the lower left field, the designer’s initials in the lower right field, and the date, 2017, below Liberty’s neck. The matte gray surface of the mockup makes it easier to see certain details that are often obscured by wear or glare on the tiny silver coins: for example, the horizontal braid under the back of Liberty’s cap, and the folds in the back of the cap’s fabric.

Obverse comparison—move cursor over image from left to right:

The reverse recreates the main design of the American Institute of Architects’ gold medal reverse, with a few interesting differences. The dramatic, left-facing eagle and the rock it stands on are essentially the same as on the medal, as is the laurel sapling. And as on the medal, the eagle appears to be using its beak and right claw to pull the laurel from the rock. (On Weinman’s similarly designed Walking Liberty half dollar reverse, the sapling is a pine, representing a young America, and the mighty eagle is protecting it. Although I haven’t found a specific reference to the symbolism on the AIA medal, it would appear that, at minimum, the eagle is unimpressed by accolades.*) Added to the original design are a raised rim and the legally mandated UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, placed above the eagle, and 1 OZ. Pd .9995 FINE / E PLURIBUS UNUM, placed below. (“Pd,” of course, is the abbreviation for “palladium.”) The final mandated element is the denomination, $25, which is placed at the far left.

The fineness, metal, and motto, which are incused, replace Weinman’s name and the date, which were raised elements on the medal. Another reversal of relief is seen in the section of the laurel below the eagle’s claw: on the medal, the base of the plant and beginning of its roots were raised, whereas on the mockup, they are recessed into the rock, along with the surrounding text. The wedge-serif typeface throughout the reverse is in keeping with the Winged Liberty dime’s original typeface, which is replicated (again, with subtle differences) on the obverse.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) was scheduled to meet in D.C. yesterday (March 15), but inclement weather caused a postponement of the meeting and of the review of the mock-ups. The Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the Mint’s mock-ups today and kindly shared them with Mr. Gilkes. Meanwhile, the CCAC’s meeting has been rescheduled for March 21 at 10 a.m.

To read Paul Gilkes’s original article, which includes the Mint’s comments on the proposed design as well as additional information, click here.   ❑

* In the comments, RSF writes, “The reverse design was commissioned for an American Institute of Architects award. It follows that the eagle is in the process of gathering building materials.” That seems quite plausible, and I wish I had thought of it myself.—Editor

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  1. jp says

    @Mint News Blog, thank-you for inserting the slider, very useful for the comparison between the two. To respond, I agree with the statement that the obverse closely follows the prior design. For me, it’s the lack of overlapping the outer feathers that appear primarily to make this instead another artist’s rendering of the original. Besides the other specific differences such as neck, hair and lettering style and position mentioned, the eye is different, especially the location of the lower eye lid, making bigger the eye of the gold and now this one. Also, the combination of the eye with the cheek contour gives the face a different look to me.

  2. Tinto says

    Though I won’t be buying this coin I just had to check out the slider by MNB. Haven’t read the previous posts so maybe it has already been covered.

    It does look different to me also. Aside from what jp commented, the head seems to be flattened also, giving it a more oblong look. Maybe it is because of the lack of visible folds at the top of the cap which is also closer to the “R” .. as compared to the dime.

    Hope the final coin will have more details in the feathers than the mock up.

  3. felson says

    I think the slider is very cool… but it appears we are comparing an artist rendering to a coin… and as such I don’t think it is a fair comparison.

  4. earthling says

    I recently got my first ever Palladium from Dan Carr’s Moonlight Mint. I bought a Pd coin and a Silver piece also. Both metals look pretty much alike .

    Well here’s hoping this Pd Bullion Coin get rolling soon. Hopefully when the Mint wants to redo the 1921 Peace Dollar they’ll strike it in Palladium or Platinum.

  5. rpk says

    Very interesting to be able to compare the two versions. I would have to say I like the 1916 much better. On the 1916, Mercury looks alert and forward-looking. On the 2017, he appears to be sleepy and bored.

  6. earthling says

    Anything new about the Apollo 11 issues? Too bad they can’t do a Big 5 oz Gold Coin. A Big Silver will be nice enough but a monster Gold would be so much better.

    Little chance the Mint will ever put out anything that would makes a real end Collector happy. Their business is aimed at flipping to flippers. Trying to flip a 5 oz Gold Coin probably won’t work. So the Mint wouldn’t even consider such a thing.

  7. Jerry Diekmann says

    Steve -regarding your irrational hatred of Obama – keep your “alternate facts” to yourself. And Socrates is coming from knowledge and you are coming from being a “useful fool” that the Republicans love to have vote for them, and then they screw them, without even a kiss. And if you think that having a choice among State plans for medical care is going to happen, you are really mistaken. Ryancare or Trumpcare will work the same way as the credit card companies. The big insurance companies will move their headquarters (it’s really not that big a deal if you follow the stock market) to parasite states like richly red South Dakota, where there are no usury limits – here in California it is 10% – and the rest of the country now pays 18% to 36% interest on credit cards. That will be how your “affordable” medical care will work. If you can afford 18% to 36% interest you can use a credit card. If you can afford true medical care, you will need to be rich – like Ryan and the insurance companies. South Dakota is an example of a state which, in order to bolster its own economy – no one really wants to live there – effectively live off the rest of the country by passing laws favorable to the credit card industry. The same thing will happen with medical care. For your sake, I hope you don’t come down with a life threatening disease or suffer some injury – becoming disabled is only an accident away from all of us. You can choose whether or not you want to own a credit card, but you can’t just choose to be healthy all your life and then die peaceably in your sleep on your 90tyh birthday. Life doesn’t work that way. This stuff is really a lot more important than coins, so the blogmaster can delete it if she finds it too far off topic or that I have stated something inaccurate or false.

  8. Ben There says

    I see a lot of complaints about the price and it hasn’t even been set yet. I’ll say this about the Mint, their prices are a LOT more reasonable than the prices charged by foreign mints like Canada and the UK. The markups that these mints have on their precious metal offerings are ridiculous. This is a really nice looking coin. I’m not sure how long the series will last because palladium is not really an investment metal. To keep interest they will have to change the design.

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