Washington, D.C. — The first platinum bullion coins in U.S. history go on sale today, as the Uncirculated Platinum Bullion American Eagle Coins become available in one ounce and tenth-ounce bullion denominations. The half-ounce and quarter-ounce denominations will become available later next month.

"We're pleased to produce a premiere platinum product to complement our Gold and Silver American Eagle programs," said Mint Director Philip N. Diehl. "The Platinum Eagle gives investors a new opportunity to diversify their precious metals portfolio."

The Nation's first platinum coins have several unique qualities. They are the first U.S. bullion coins to bear an engraving of their purity (.9995 fine) and the one ounce Platinum Eagle with a face value of $100 is the highest denomination ever in U.S. coinage.

And with passage of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, investors will be able to include Platinum Eagles in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) beginning January 1, 1998.

As with American Eagle Gold and Silver Bullion, Platinum Eagles are not available directly from the Mint but at the current market price plus a premium from major coin and precious metals dealers, as well as participating financial institutions and brokerage houses, and other retail locations.

Also, as with the Gold and Silver Eagle, the Mint will charge authorized purchasers three percent, five percent, seven percent and nine percent premiums, respectively, on the one ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth ounce denominations. The one-ounce carries a $100 face value; the half-ounce a $50 face value; the quarter-ounce a $25 face value, and the tenth-ounce a $10 face value.

The obverse design of the .9995 proof platinum coins is Mint Sculptor/Engraver's John Mercanti's "Portrait of Liberty," and the reverse design is Mint Sculptor/Engraver Thomas D. Rogers Sr.'s "Soaring Bald Eagle."

Authority to produce platinum coins was enacted as part of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1997 (P.L. 104-208).

Press inquiries:  Michael White (202) 354-7222
Customer Service information:  (800) USA MINT (872-6468)