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This 2018 Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Platinum Proof marks the most significant changes to the Platinum Eagle program since its inception in 1997. For the first time, the obverse will not feature the Statue of Liberty design of John Mercanti. While several changes are in store for this issue, two key points remain intact. One is that these proofs will be struck at the West Point Mint and bear that mint’s “W” Mint mark. The other is that they will be struck from .9995 fine platinum. At $100, this issue has the highest face value of any American coin.
The Platinum Eagle has been a fixture of U.S. coinage since 1997, though its history has not remained as constant as its gold and silver counterparts. The bullion version of the coin was not issued in 2009-2013 or in 2015, but the proof version has been minted every year. From 1997-2008, fractional pieces were released as well, but since 2009, only one-ounce coins have been issued. This 2018 issue marks significant changes in the Platinum Proof program, not the least of which is the first ever obverse design change. That change is significant not only because of the new design itself but also because it marks the start of a three-year series during which the reverse design will remain constant while the obverse design changes. The new series will be the first of three in a new series that celebrates the three rights explicitly mentioned in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The reverse of the proof coins have changed annually since the inauguration of the series, each one fitting into a short series within a series on a patriotic theme.
The new reverse, which will feature on the Platinum Eagle Proof for the next three years, was the work of Patricia Lucas-Morris. Lucas-Morris shown an eagle at an angle with its wings spread out, revealing her stunning detail of the bird’s body and undersides of its wings. Although most recent American coins depict an eagle clutching arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other, only the latter is included in this design. Inscriptions on this face include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “$100,” “1 OZ.” and “.9995 PLATINUM.”
“LIFE” is the theme of the obverse, holding its place first in line of the three rights specifically mentioned in the Preamble. The word is inscribed in the upper right in script in a way that mirrors its appearance in the original Declaration of Independence. On the left, Liberty holds a young child as she plants seeds in the field. The child serves as a symbol of life, while the planning of the seeds and the field through which she is walking symbolize the labor necessary to sustain life. She also carries a sword as a reminder that life must be protected. In the distance are a tree and a stream, which indicate the importance of good environmental stewardship. “LIBERTY” is inscribed at the bottom, while “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” (From many, one) is inscribed at the top. Also included are the national motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” on the right and the date, “2018,” on the left.