History of US Mint American Eagles Coins

The American Silver and Gold Eagle coins are among the first bullion coins struck by the US Mint. They have been around since 1986 and remain one of the top coins collected worldwide. However, these Gold and Silver 2021 American Eagle coin reverses will no longer bear the same coveted design since the inception of this series. There are several reasons for this change, and Bullion Exchanges looks into what those are.

What is the current design of the Silver and Gold American Eagles?

The American Eagle coins have featured the same designs for the past 35 years. The silver coin proudly featured the famous Adolph Weinman’s “Walking Liberty” illustration on its obverse. This illustration the Silver American Eagles use is an updated version from the silver half dollars used in 1916-1947. This design will remain, but the reverse will not.

2020 Silver American Eagle US Mint 1 oz reverse US Mint 2020 Silver American Eagle Coin Obverse 1 oz












The current reverse of the Silver American Eagle coin displays the John Mercanti rendition of the Great Seal of the US. Mercanti is the top figure in US Mint designing history. He has created over one hundred designs for coins and medals for the US Mint. Despite Mercanti’s retirement, he still contributes his artistic talent to the world. He does this through his contributions for the Perth Mint‘s popular Wedge-Tailed Eagle coin series. 

As for the Gold American Eagle coin, this reverse was styled by designer Miley Busiek. The ilustration spotlights the American Eagle as a family with one eagle parent returning to the nest grasping an olive branch in its talon. The other parent nestles with their young. 

US Mint 2020 Gold American Eagle coin Obverse 1/4 oz2020 Gold American Eagle reverse US Mint 1/4 oz












Both Mercanti and Busiek’s designs have been in print since 1986, but these designs are now coming to a close. This allows coin collectors to establish a complete series with the 1986 coins at the start, and the 2020 coins bookending the close.

The 2021 reverse design for both the gold and silver American Eagles has yet to be announced, but those in the numismatic community eagerly await the unveiling of these designs. However, it is important to note that the platinum and palladium American Eagles are currently remaining the same.

Why are they changing the reverse design for the 2021 American Eagle coin?

One of the reasons the US Mint set out to redesign these coins is that 2021 marks the 35th anniversary. Since these coins have remained popular from the very start, the US Mint retiring them means collectors can finally complete one set of the American Eagle coins. But the second major reason for this change has more to do with the law. 

According to Federal Law, the Treasury can only change the design of a coin once within a certain amount of time. In the case of a mistake, there is room for one reprint to correct the error in the coin’s first 25 years of mintage. Therefore, the US Mint is meticulously creating this new reverse early to get it right for 2021. 

There is one last main reason why the coin’s reverse is going to be updated. The American Eagle coins from 1986-2020 are among the most popular to invest in. Thus, they are also among the top coins that counterfeiters pay the most attention to. The US Mint therefore now embarks on a more secure journey to strike these coins to combat counterfeits.

What is the New Security Feature to the 2021 American Eagles?

As the technology for production improves, the means to strike bullion coins and precious metal bars also enhance. But this is a double-edged sword because counterfeiters also profit from these advancements. Ergo, the US Mint is now taking a page out of the Royal Canadian Mint and The British Royal Mint’s books to add a multilayer security detail to their coins. 

The first level of the security feature will be obvious for collectors to see in person and online. This is a preliminary level of security that will not require any special tools to recognize. The second layer is something that may require tools to identify, and experts will become versed in spotting this crucial element when appraising these coins. Lastly, the final layer is more mysterious than the other two. As for the final layer of security, only the US Mint and the Secret Service will be able to identify it. The hope with this new feature is that these coins will be much more difficult, and perhaps impossible, to completely counterfeit. This way, collectors can rest easy knowing the American Eagle coins they purchased are legitimate. 

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Bullion Exchanges is a top-rated, trusted, and accredited retailer in Manhattan. We have numerous top government refineries in our inventory from the US Mint to the other side of the world with the Australian Perth Mint. We also stock products from renowned private mints. If you are not sure where to begin, take a look at our Learning Center. Upon completing your order, we will carefully package your items and ship them to your address in April when we reopen. Please reach out to our customer service team with any questions or concerns. We are always happy to help.

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