Modern Coin Scene: Mercanti-Designed Australian Silver Eagle a Big Hit
by Sy Gold
John Mercanti, the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint and designer of the iconic American Silver Eagle coin, was commissioned last year by the Perth Mint in Australia to design an Australian Silver Eagle. The coin depicts a wedge-tailed eagle landing on a tree branch, and it has been a big hit with collectors.
Perth initially announced that the coin would be released as a high relief proof in silver with a mintage of 10,000, and also as a high relief gold coin with a 1,000 mintage. Both versions sold out very quickly from Perth and anyone else who had it.
But now we have learned that there will also be a regular, non-high relief, proof version of the Australian Silver Eagle with a 5,000 mintage; a 5-ounce high relief proof also limited to 5,000; and a silver bullion coin, whose details have not yet been made available.
American buyers were not able to purchase the high relief versions from Perth and were directed to a U.S. company, GovMint, to purchase the coin, which was also sold by a number of Australian-based dealers like Downies.
The coin’s design has been very well-received by collectors, and has been the subject of more attention in the numismatic media than most world coin releases. That is because of its beautiful design that has intricate detail on the wings of the eagle,
The widespread popularity of coins that depict eagles, and because Mercanti’s work is highly regarded by collectors.
I am confident the forthcoming versions of the Australian Silver Eagle will also be big hits, and together with the other coins will make a nice set.