The United States Mint has confirmed that early 2021 gold and silver American Eagles will retain the inaugural Reverse with the new Reverse coming in mid-2021. The confirmation was first reported at CoinWorld and it has been confirmed here at USCoinNews.
According to the Mint, bullion gold and silver American Eagles will have the same design used since 1986 on the Reverse early in 2021. These will be sold to authorized buyers. When the new Reverse is available, it will be used going forward. That means early bullion coins that you buy from bullion Authorized Purchaser companies will have the original Reverse.
What is unclear is how this impacts products the Mint traditionally releases early in each year. Will the annual Congratulations Set contain an American Eagle with the inaugural Reverse or will it have the new Reverse? The Mint also normally releases the Proof silver Eagle in January. Which Reverse will it have on it? The Mint’s statement points out “Authorized Purchasers” but also indicates the new Reverse won’t be available until Mid-2021. Until the Mint releases the 2021 production schedule, it will likely be unclear but my guess is we will see the original Reverse on these products.
As readers know, the Mint has announced new Reverse designs for both the gold and silver American Eagle.
The 2021 American Eagle gold Reverse design was designed by Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) designer Jennie Norris. The Reverse will be scuttled by Mint Medallic Artist Renata Gordon.
The American Eagle silver Reverse for 2021 was designed by AIP designer Emily Damstra. It will be sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Michael Gaudioso.
As readers will note from the above line art, these Reverse designs are a significant departure from the current designs on the American Eagle. Note that the Obverse (Heads) of both coins will remain the same.
The United States Mint has already said that the 2021 Eagles that the Reverse change will integrate security enhancements. Counterfeiting of these coins has increasingly become an issue as counterfeiters themselves have become increasingly more sophisticated in their dark art. In recent years, an influx of bogus silver Eagles have flooded into the country, most notably from China. The Mint wants to curb that if not stop it all together.
What exactly those anti-counterfeiting measures are that the Mint implements is not clear. Officials have, understandably, been quiet about what will be done. It is possible that techniques used by other Mints around the world could be used. For example, the Royal Canadian Mint uses micro engraving on the silver and gold Maple Leaf bullion coins as well as each die for the coins having a textured Maple Leaf on it. Similar features could make their way to the American Eagle and then will likely make their way into other bullion coins.
What all this means of course is that for the first time in 35 years, the American Eagle silver coin will have a new Reverse, making the 2020 issues the last of the current design. While it is unlikely that fact will be a significant premium, many collectors will want to get the 2020 coins as the final year of the design.