The American Silver Eagle series has featured the iconic heraldic eagle reverse design created by John Mercanti since it was first issued in 1986. In mid-2021 a new reverse design, created by Emily Damstra, will debut, but who is she and why was her design chosen? Learn more below!
Collectors around the world have been eagerly anticipating the debut of a brand-new reverse design for the American Silver Eagle series. Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2021, the series has featured the iconic heraldic eagle reverse design created by John Mercanti, the 12th former Chief Engraver of the United States Mint since it was first issued in 1986. The new reverse design was created by Emily Damstra, but who is she and why was her design chosen? Learn more below!
Emily Damstra is a freelance artist, science illustrator, coin designer, and medalist. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in science illustration. She is part of the U.S. Mint's Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), which includes numerous talented professional American artists who lend their talent to creating stunning coin designs.
Ms. Damstra is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada and has designed OVER 40 coins and medals for both the U.S. Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM)). She has also designed postage stamps for the United Nations Postal Administration. In addition to her work in numismatics, Damstra also creates natural science illustrations and her artwork has long been inspired by nature.
Damstra's designs for the U.S. Mint include the new American Silver Eagle reverse that will debut mid-year, the 2020 America the Beautiful Quarter Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve reverse, and the 2019 American Innovation $1 Coin Georgia reverse. She is also responsible for the 2019 Native American $1 Coin reverse, the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarter Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness reverse and the 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative obverse and reverse, to name a few.
Damstra's designs for the RCM tend to focus on wildlife and nature themes and include issues struck in silver, gold, and platinum. She designed the final two reverses for the Canadian Wildlife Series and the entire popular 2014-2016 Canadian Birds of Prey series.
How was the 2021 American Silver Eagle design selected?
From a field of 39 design candidates submitted by AIP participants and U.S. Mint Medallic Artists, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) each recommended a different design to the Secretary of the Treasury. After considering these committees' recommendations and the production feasibility input from the U.S. Mint staff, the Secretary chose Ms. Damstra's dynamic landing Bald Eagle as the final design. No doubt her love for illustration, the natural world, and educating others, in addition to her long career in numismatics, played a large role in her design being selected.
The new reverse design for the American Silver Eagle 1 oz. coin features the central image of an American Bald Eagle. The eagle is depicted mid-landing, with wings spread and talons firmly gripping an oak branch. Inscriptions of "United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “One Dollar,” and “1 oz. Fine Silver" encircle the image. U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Michael Gaudioso engraved the design.
The spectacular newly redesigned reverse of the new 2021 American Silver Eagle will debut in mid-2021 on bullion, proof, and burnished issues.