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2006 will see new reverse for platinum Eagle

Legislative Branch to be honored on coin.

March is not going to go out like a lion this year. An eagle is more like it.

Near the end of March, the Mint is expected to release the 2006 American Eagle platinum proof coins. The kicker is, the coin will have a new reverse.

It?s the first in a new, three-year series entitled ?Foundations of American Democracy.? The purpose of the series is to celebrate all the branches of governments, and they will be honored in the order they appear in the U.S. Constitution.

Leading off in 2006 is the Legislative Branch. Batting second is the Executive Branch in 2007, with the Judicial Branch going third in 2008.

Joel Iskowitz of Woodstock, N.Y., a master designer with the Mint?s Artistic Infusion Program, came up with the rendering for the Legislative reverse, which features a ?Legislative Muse? inscribing the nation?s law. She is flanked by twin pillars, with eagles perched on them.

As an aside, it appears to me to be a very elegant image, a throwback to an age long gone in American coinage. Hopefully, you?ll find it just as moving.
Evidently, the design was based on the marble statue by Carlo Franzoni called ?The Car of History,? and Iskowitz incorporated the figure of Clio, the muse of history, into life-like drawings with the intention of giving her muse status with the Legislative Branch.

Now, if only I could summon my muse to finish this column. She?s probably off cavorting with some other writer.

Anyway, with the launch of the Nevada state quarter at the end of January, it follows that West Virginia quarter sales have finally come to an end, stampeded by the galloping horses of the Nevada coin. The last-known totals are listed to the right.

By press time, the Mint had not given a report on how sales of bags and rolls of the Nevada quarter were going.

Even with the launch of a new state quarter, the real news this week had to do with the sellout of the Benjamin Franklin commemoratives.

After going on sale Jan. 17, the Franklins sold out pretty fast. Half were gone as of Jan. 25. Rounded sales figures for the Franklins are included in the boxes. The gist of the situation is, the coins are gone.

There is hope for those ordering late. Just as with the Marine commemorative, the Mint is still taking orders beyond the sellout date. The thinking is, there may be some orders that get cancelled due to expired credit cards and wrong shipping addresses and such. No doubt, this will tick off those who don?t get the commemoratives because of these types of problems.

I guess that?s the way the cookie crumbles. Don?t fret too much. You could still get a ?Founding Father? proof if you?re lucky enough to get an American Legacy Collection set when it is released later this year. A total of 50,000 Founding Father proofs are being held back so the Mint can include them in the sets.

I know there?s at least one reader who was waiting for the West Virginia state quarter production figure. Be patient. It should be coming soon.

Have a question or a suggestion? Feel free to send me an e-mail at I don?t bite.