About.com coins editor James Bucki visited the U.S. Mint at West Point, New York, where he witnessed the striking of the new 2013-W American Silver Eagle "Enhanced Uncirculated" coin.
This past Monday I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Mint at West Point, New York. While I was there, I witnessed the striking of the first U.S. coin with three distinct finishes on a single coin, the 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated bullion coin. This coin will be part of The 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Commemorative Set that will be issued later this year.
The coin is absolutely stunning and it really highlights an already classic American coin design. The production of this coin is truly a labor-of-love from all aspects of the U.S. Mint's employees who work on it. From hand finishing the dies, to hand feeding the coins into the press, to visually inspecting each and every coin that is struck, every Mint employee takes pride in what they do to produce our coins. I was impressed with the dedication and knowledge that the employees so eagerly shared with me.
What strikes me odd is that the Mint is labeling this coin as "Enhanced Uncirculated." The production process that I witnessed used specially prepared blanks, on a press that used specially prepared dies and each coin received three strikes in the coining press. To the best of my knowledge, this is a proof coin.
To read the complete article, see:
Mint Begins Striking Enhanced Uncirculated Silver Eagles
So what the heck is "enhanced uncirculated"? A companion article published a description.
The 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated bullion coin will be the first coin produced by the United States Mint that uses three different contrasting finishes: mirrored brilliant, light frosted and heavy frosted. The new light frosted finish is a soft satin finish used on the field of the coin to gently disperse light that is reflected off of it.
On the obverse, the mountains in front of the sun, the lines on Lady Liberty's dress and the red and blue parts of the United States flag have a brilliant mirrored finish. The remaining devices and lettering on the obverse have the standard heavy frosted finish. On the reverse, the ribbon in the eagle's beak, the arrows and oak branch all have a brilliant mirrored finish. The lettering and other devices on the reverse have the heavy frosted finish. The fields on both sides of the coin have the new light frosted finish.
Each coin is struck with specially prepared dies at the West Point Mint facility. In order to bring out the three contrasting finishes, each coin is struck three times on burnished 99.9% silver planchets. Each planchet is hand fed into the coining press and inspected by the operator before it is sent on to be encapsulated and packaged.
According to the press release from the United States Mint on January 24, 2013:
Later this year, the United States Mint will also offer a special two-coin set of American Eagle Silver Coins, both of which will be struck at its facility at West Point, N.Y. The 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set (final product name subject to change) will include one American Eagle Silver Reverse Proof Coin and one American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coin with an "enhanced" finish. (A "reverse proof" coin reverses the mirror-like background finish of a traditional proof coin and applies it to the design elements, creating a magnificent contrast.) These two coins will only be available in this special set. The bureau expects to begin accepting orders for the set in the spring. Pricing and other information will be available prior to its release.
To read the complete article, see:
2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated
Wayne Homren, Editor
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