The American Platinum Eagle is the official platinum bullion coin of the United States. In 1995, Director of the United States Mint Philip N. Diehl, American Numismatic Association President David L. Ganz, and Platinum Guild International Executive Director Jacques Luben began the legislative process of creating the Platinum Eagle. After over two years of work, the coins were first released by the United States Mint in 1997. It is offered in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 troy oz varieties and consists of .9995 fine platinum. The American Platinum Eagle is authorized by the United States Congress, and is backed by the United States Mint for weight and content.
Proof and uncirculated versions of the coins are also made for coin collectors. The proof American Platinum Eagles are unique in the fact that they are the only U.S. bullion coins that have a yearly alternating design on the reverse.
Because it may be considered commodity platinum rather than a rare coin, the American Platinum Eagle may be placed in an Individual Retirement Account in the United States. Collectibles such as rare coins and dolls are forbidden from being held in such an account. Thus, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission believes that the Platinum Eagle will not appreciate beyond its metal value.
American Platinum Eagle Wikipedia
Note: The 1/10, 1/4, and 1/2 troy oz coins are identical in design to the 1 troy oz coin except for the markings on the reverse side that indicate the weight and face value of the coin (for example, .9995 PLATINUM 1 OZ.). As is often the case with bullion coins, the face values of these coins ($10, $25, $50, and $100) are their legal values reflecting their issue and monetized value as coins. They are legal tender for all debts public and private at their face values. These face values do not reflect their intrinsic value which is much greater.
The U.S. Government, however, has taken the position that paying debts with such coins at their face value, where the face value is lower than its intrinsic value, will implicate money laundering and tax evasion statutes.
From 1998 to 2002, proof versions of the American Platinum Eagle carried a different reverse design under a program entitled "Vistas of Liberty". Each year a bald eagle was depicted in a different region of the United States or a United States themed design. From 2006 to 2008, a three-year series of designs known as "The Foundations of Democracy" was issued to represent the three branches of government.
In 2009, the United States Mint introduced a new six-year platinum coin program. This new series explores the core concepts of American democracy by highlighting the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The themes for the reverse designs for this program are inspired by narratives prepared by the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, at the request of the United States Mint.
All denominations of the proof American Platinum Eagles carry the yearly design. These coins are the only U.S. bullion coins that change reverse designs every year.