I was going through some back email and found a note from the US Mint advertising the availability of the 2006 American Eagle Proof Bullion Coins. The American Eagle Bullion program was created in 1986 to provide investors a way to invest in precious metals. American Eagle coins are available in silver, gold, and platinum in uncirculated and proof coins. Gold and platinum Eagles consist of different weights and nominal denominations. But all silver Eagles are one ounce of fine silver with a nominal value of one dollar.

Although the intent of the program was not to create numismatic collectibles, the market dictated otherwise. One of the reasons has to be the images of Liberty used on the silver and gold coins. The American Silver Eagle recreates Adolph A. Weinman‘s Walking Liberty design used on the half-dollar 1916-1947, which is one of my favorite designs. The reverse is the Heraldic Eagle designed by Mint engraver John Mercanti. The Gold American Eagle uses the Augustus Saint-GaudensDouble Eagle ($20) design used from 1907-1932 (a few 1933 coins have been recently found). Sculptor Miley Busiek created the reverse of the Gold American Eagles. These are beautiful designs that makes them very popular by world bullion collectors.

The design of the Platinum American Eagle recreates a design by John Mercanti that was used on the 1986 Statue of Liberty Commemorative Dollar. This is not one of Mercanti’s better designs and another should have been chosen. But the Mint makes up for the bland design by changing the reverse every year. Too bad the price of platinum puts this coin out of the price range for most collectors.

You can buy American Eagle proof coins from the Mint. If you want uncirculated strikes, they need to be purchased from a dealer. A few weeks ago, I responded to an ad from Littleton Coin Company to buy a small quantity of uncirculated first strike Silver Eagles. When I received them, they were every bit as beautiful as I expected. I will have one of the coins graded to add to my collection.

Aside from the aesthetic qualities, I like the investment opportunities of the precious metals. I am looking forward to the arrival of my proof Eagles.

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