American Eagle Series Gets a Makeover for 35th Anniversary

Posted on May 25, 2023

2021 gold american eagle coin reverse type 2The American eagle series is the iconic U.S. precious metals coin series since its release in 1986. Eagles have featured the same individual designs on both gold and silver coins for the last 34 years.

However, that is soon to change. A new design and anti-counterfeiting measures will become standard on new American eagle coins starting in the third quarter of 2021.

Traditionally, the gold eagle features Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Lady Liberty design on the obverse side, with Liberty’s robes billowing in the wind and an olive branch and torch in either hand. The reverse side has always displayed Miley Frances Busiek’s family of eagles protecting a nest.

The silver eagle portrays Walking Liberty by Adolph Weinman on the obverse side and John Mercanti’s heraldic eagle and shield of the United States on the reverse.

Here’s what we know about the new American eagle redesigns.

A New Day for Eagles

2021 silver american eagle coin reverse type 2To improve security and celebrate the 35th anniversary of the gold American eagle series, the U.S. Mint is changing the reverse side of the coin in 2021. The reverse side of the American gold eagle will now display Jeannie Norris’s portrait of an eagle, a fierce close-up look at the winged predator’s face.

The silver eagle coin’s reverse side will show Emily Damastra’s design of an eagle clutching an olive branch in its talons.

The U.S. Mint considered many artists and designs before settling on Norris and Damastra. Norris is a graphic designer at the University of Arizona, Tucson, who drew upon her own experience as a raptor handler when making the new design. She has previously designed for major brands, including Hasbro and Hershey.

Damastra, on the other hand, has an M.F.A. in science illustration and a history of designing coins for both the U.S. Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint. As a resident of the Great Lakes region, Damastra is no stranger to the outdoors and specializes in both zoological and botanical imagery for much of her work. She designed the birds featured on all four coins in the Royal Canadian Mint’s Birds of Prey series. She has contributed eight designs to the U.S. Mint to date.

Modern Security Measures to Fight Counterfeiting

The U.S. Mint has confirmed that the redesign will include anti-counterfeiting measures. While these have not publicly been released, it’s safe to assume that the measures will match the latest practices in anti-counterfeiting. These anti-counterfeiting measures could include micro-laser-engraved letters and symbols invisible to the naked eye as well as other textured or even holographic elements to make each coin difficult to replicate.

Todd Martin of the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications stated that the Mint has “assembled an anti-counterfeiting interdisciplinary team within the Mint that is researching and reviewing both overt and covert options to enhance the protection of our bullion products.”

The new designs will be struck on precious metals coins as early as July 2021. Both proof and bullion versions of the updated American eagle series are available for sale later in the year.