A bill was signed into law in mid-December 2010, which would potentially authorize the United States Mint to produce bullion and collector coins struck in palladium. The Mint recently took the first step towards producing the American Palladium Eagles.
Public Law No: 111-303 requires the submission of a marketing study conducted by an independent third party to determine the market for palladium bullion investments. The study must demonstrate that adequate demand for United States Mint produced palladium bullion coins exists to ensure that the coins can be minted and issued at no net cost to taxpayers. The production of Palladium Eagle bullion coins must begin within one year of the submission of the required marketing study to the Secretary of the Treasury and Congress.
On fbo.gov, the US Mint announced that they were seeking potential contractors to perform the study. The opportunity was posted on April 13 and requires a response by June 17, 2011. The scope of the project includes the “full range of market analysis services” needed to achieve the requirements of the law.
Under this solicitation, offerors shall prepare and submit: (a) a proposed performance work statement for a structured and comprehensive study to accomplish the purpose; (b) credentials supporting offeror’s status as reputable and independent; (c) measurable performance standards and the method of assessing contractor performance against the performance standards; and (d) a pricing arrangement with performance-based incentives that correspond to the performance standards.
The period of performance is expected to be no longer than 90 days.
Provided the marketing study determines adequate demand, it seems likely that the first American Palladium Eagles would be issued in 2012. The obverse design is required to bear a high relief likeness of the obverse of the so-called Mercury Dime, designed by Adolph A. Weinman. This series was issued for circulation from 1916 to 1945. The reverse design would bear a high relief likeness of the reverse design for the 1907 American Institute of Architects Medal, pictured at left, also designed by Weinman.
Under the law, the US Mint would issue bullion versions of the coin in quantities that the Secretary of the Treasury determines are sufficient to meet public demand. Proof and uncirculated versions of the coin may also be produced for collectors. There is a special requirement that to the greatest extent possible, the surface treatment of each year’s proof or uncirculated version must differ in some material way from the preceding year.
The source of the bullion for the American Palladium Eagles is required to be from natural deposits in the United States (including territories and possessions), within one year after the month in which the ore was mined. If no such palladium is available or is not economically feasible to obtain, other available sources may be used. The bill originally seeking to authorize the palladium coins was introduced by Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana. His state is the single source of palladium in America through Stillwater Mining Company.
If issued, the palladium coins would have a legal tender face value of $25, weigh one troy ounce, and contain .9995 palladium. The market price of palladium is currently $709.00 per ounce.