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House OKs palladium coin

Creation of a new U.S. palladium bullion coin was authorized by the House of Representatives Sept. 29.

If the Senate concurs, a new one-ounce coin would have as its obverse design the A.A. Weinman Winged Liberty design that was used on the dime popularly called the Mercury dime 1916-1945. For the palladium coin, though, it would be in high relief.

The legislation calls for a reverse design that would be a high relief version of the reverse design of the 1907 American Institute of Architects medal.

Face value of the new coin would be $25, though an ounce of palladium is currently worth $571. Designation of face value is intended to give the coin legal tender status and not serve as an indicator of actual value.

Diameter and thickness were left to the Treasury to determine.

Proof and uncirculated coins are authorized and the Treasury secretary is commanded to make the surface treatment of each year’s issues differ from the prior years.

Whether that means the coins will be dipped in chocolate one year and strawberry sauce the next is anybody’s guess.

Proofs would be struck at West Point and the uncirculateds where the Treasury secretary determines.

The full bill, called the Coin Modernization, Oversight and Continuity Act, also would give the Mint the authority to strike proof versions of American Eagle coins at the discretion of the Treasury secretary, eliminating the legal interpretation that preventing the striking of proof gold and silver American Eagles last year because the Mint was not meeting the market demand for the bullion coin version.

Adoption of the bill also denies the Treasury’s request to give the secretary discretionary authority to alter the compositions of circulating coinage. Instead, a biennial report to the relevant House and Senate committees is required of the secretary, including composition recommendations that the Congress can act upon at its discretion.