The U.S. Mint has announced that the 2016-W Proof American Platinum Eagle will be released on June 30. While American Platinum Eagles have never had a set date for their release every year, with 2015's late issue, a release so early in the year is not only surprising but also very exciting! Are you ready for the latest edition to the series?
The U.S. Mint recently surprised its customers by announcing that the 2016-W edition of its line of American Platinum Eagle proof coins will be launched on June 30, which is sooner in the year than most people expected. The 2015-W Proof Platinum Eagle came out at the end of the year, largely because of difficulties sourcing a sufficient supply of platinum planchets, which also led to the cancellation of the bullion version of the coin.
This year’s worldwide supply of platinum has been substantially offset by strong industrial demand, and it appears the U.S. Mint has had better luck sourcing platinum planchets than last year. However, it is still not known if a 2016 platinum bullion coin will be issued, so this may be the only platinum coin issued once again.
2016 marks the 20th year of production for the American Platinum Eagle program, the third leg of the U.S. Mint’s three-part flagship American Eagle bullion and numismatic coin series after the American Silver Eagles and Gold Eagles that started in 1986. Platinum Eagles have been struck since 1997, initially to stop losing market share to platinum bullion coins being produced at the time by other world Mints.
The U.S. Mint plans to release a 20th anniversary Proof Platinum Eagle in 2017, which is in keeping with the way they issue anniversary coins, i.e., one year after the actual anniversary. The 2017 proof will reuse the same design the 1997 coin featured.
The 2016-W proof issue is the second release in the special two-year series, Torches of Liberty, which honors the core American values of liberty and freedom. The 2015 issue came with a special custom presentation box that can be used for both year’s coins, as will the 2016 coin.
The 2015-2016 two-year series is a bridge between the previous series of Proof Platinum Eagles issued from 2009 to 2014 on the Preamble to the Constitution and the next multi-year series, which is believed to be on the Bill of Rights.
The 2016-W issue has been eagerly anticipated by collectors since the design was approved in October 2014 by the two committees that review the designs that appear on U.S. coins, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission on Fine Arts.
The stunning design features an obverse created and engraved by John Mercanti, the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, with a close-up profile of Liberty from the Statue of Liberty called “Liberty Looking to the Future.” It is a modern interpretation of this classic American icon that has appeared on so many older U.S. coins in a more traditional form, as well as Mr. Mercanti’s best-known design on the reverse of the American Silver Eagle.
The reverse design, which was created by Paul C. Balan of the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program and engraved by Joseph Menna, shows Liberty in a flowing gown holding the torch on enlightenment in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand to symbolize peace. The olives represent the thirteen original colonies. A bald eagle with its wings outstretched appears beside Liberty – completing the beautiful American theme!
Mr. Balan studied art in the Phillipines and later immigrated to the U.S. Some of his previous work for the Mint includes the amazing bald eagle reverse of the 2015 High Relief American Liberty gold coin (whose companion silver medal is currently in production), the obverse of the 2015 March of Dimes silver dollar, and the reverse of the $5 gold 2015 U.S. Marshals Service 225h Anniversary commemorative coin.
The 2016-W platinum proof coins are being struck at the West Point Mint on a Grabener GMP 360 coinage press from Germany with the dies oriented such that the obverse of the coin is the upper hammer die, while the reverse of the coin is lower die, or anvil. They are struck five times with 140 metric tons of pressure per strike as a result of the substantial hardness of platinum.
In addition to carrying another highly appealing neo-classical Liberty design, the 2015-W platinum proof issue was a big hit because of its unusually low mintage of 3,881 coins, as I explained last December.
The Mint has announced that the 2016 issue will carry an authorized maximum mintage of 10,000 coins, or two-and-a-half times last year's, since the Mint does not currently face as many problems securing planchets and expects high demand for the new issue.
It is important to remember that this does not mean the Mint will necessarily produce or sell that many coins. It means that if sufficient demand exists for 10,000 coins based on orders received, it is authorized to strike that many.
The current price of platinum is below $1,000 per Troy oz. which provides an opportunity for collectors of this series to obtain the 2016 coin at a much more affordable cost than the coins from most previous years when spot price for platinum was several hundred dollars or more over its current level. This is just one of the many reasons the 2016-W platinum proof eagle is likely to be popular with collectors and why it would make a great addition to any collection.
Additional factors include the widespread appeal of the theme of liberty; the attractiveness of the inspiring design, which was a hit from the time it was first proposed, could very well make it a sellout! Additionally, the Platinum Eagle has a solid track record with most past issues holding their value, partly due to the fact that they are not easy to locate with only a few coins available. In other words, these coins are typically in strong hands that would like to keep them for their own collection.
The Mint typically strikes an initial smaller batch of coins such as this one for the first orders, and with the demand for First Strike and Early Releases coins, those first coins will probably go fast!
ModernCoinMart (MCM) carries a wide range of options of the 2016-W American Platinum Eagle proof coin graded Proof 70 and 69 by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), along with a number of special commemorative labels. Take a look at our options, and secure one of these limited mintage 2016-W Proof American Platinum Eagles before they are gone!
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|