The Proof American Gold Eagle series is in the midst of a sea change. This iconic coin series will continue to be struck at the West Point Mint on 91.67% pure (22 karat) gold blanks and will continue to feature the iconic “W” mint mark. Traditionally Proof American Gold Eagles have been issued in sizes ranging from 1 troy ounce through 1/10th of an ounce. What IS changing in 2021 is the classic Family of Eagles reverse design, which has appeared on the series since its debut in 1986! This change marks the first significant design change of the series and also means the United States Mint will be issuing Gold Eagles with two different reverse designs in 2021, another first-ever!
Early American Gold Eagle issues will feature the original reverse designs, while issues featuring the first appearance of a dynamic new reverse design will appear in mid-2021.
The new reverse of the coin series will feature a stunning portrait of a single American Bald Eagle. The image will focus on the head of the majestic eagle, shown in profile. This image is more highly detailed and close-up than any previous depiction of the bald eagle on American coinage. The various mottoes and inscriptions will remain the same, though their position on the coin has been altered.
The designer of the new reverse is the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) participant Jennie Norris. The new Gold Eagle reverse is her first design for the AIP. Norris is a working graphic designer at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and her work for various national brands and stores has appeared widely. She is also a passionate wildlife conservation advocate and has volunteered to care for, rescue, and handle eagles and other raptors.
The timeless obverse featuring Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ beautiful Lady Liberty will continue to appear on the obverse.
American Gold Eagle coins are also struck in bullion form as well as other numismatic iterations via the Uncirculated (“Burnished”) and Proof finish varieties. Proof coins are struck on coin blanks, which are polished to remove imperfections before the minting process. The dies used to strike the coins are also polished before the multi-strike process. This careful preparation will result in the raised design having a frosty appearance, which contrasts mightily with the highly reflective fields. In the finest examples, this contrast will garner the coveted Ultra Cameo (UC) designation from Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Deep Cameo (DCAM) designation from Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
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