Palladium Coin Bill Introduced
By David L. Ganz
to authorize the Mint to produce a .995 fine
one-ounce ultra-high-relief Saint-Gaudens double
eagle bullion coin in palladium metal was
introduced April 1 by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.,
as Senate bill S. 758.
The bill requires that "the obverse and reverse
of the coins minted and issued" bear a familiar
design: "exact replicas of the original obverse
and reverse designs by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
which appear on the famous 27-millimeter version
of the 1907 double eagle ultra-high-relief gold
Included in this specification: "the edge of the
coin shall have all appropriate raised lettering
in the same manner as the original coin."
No fractional ounce size issues are permitted
under terms of the legislation.
The legislation also mandates that "if a gold
bullion coin that bears the same design as the
ultra-high-relief numismatic coins is issued,"
each palladium coin "may only be issued in a set
containing 1 of each such coins."
Congress wants it done its way: "each set of
coins ... shall be provided in a presentation
case of appropriate design," and may only be
issued and sold in the year of passage.
The legislation prohibits the striking of the
bullion coin at West Point, N.Y., while at the
same time mandating that the collector versions
be struck at West Point.
Palladium is in the platinum group of precious
metals and it has a volatile history over the
last three decades as it looks for its place in
the precious metals universe (see accompanying
chart). Its high point came in 2001 when it
briefly rose above $1,000 an ounce. Its price
was $219 per troy ounce April 3.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is co-sponsor. In an
April 3 press release, both senators advocated
the coin whose metal would come from the
Stillwater Mine located in Montana. It is the
only palladium mine in the United States.
Producing this coin will help create good-paying
jobs and help steer us out of this economic
downturn, the release noted.
The legislation notes that Tonga commenced
issuing palladium coins in 1967 and other
issuing countries have included Canada, the
Soviet Union, France, Russia, China, Australia
Today, it says, only Canada mints palladium
bullion coins. The attraction of an American
palladium bullion coin to Congress and the
marketplace: price afford ability. Platinum
currently is $1,155 an ounce.