Collectors of American Silver Eagles and American Gold Eagles will soon see the release of exciting new versions of 2020-W Silver Eagles and 2020-W Gold Eagles from the United States Mint. These coins will both be struck in proof at the West Point Mint and will be the first coins of both series to feature privy marks, specifically, “V75” privy marks that pay homage to the 75th anniversary of the American-led victory in World War II. What’s more, both coins will feature extremely low mintages with the gold version set to become one of the lowest-mintage modern U.S. coins ever issued!
2020 Silver and Gold V75 American Eagles
As for the special World War II 75th Anniversary 2020-W Silver Eagle, it will have a very low mintage of 75,000 coins (likely because it is the 75th anniversary), which will make it the third-lowest proof coin in the series after the 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof and 1995-W proof.
The companion 2020-W Gold Eagle will have an astonishing-low mintage of 1,945 coins to match the year the conflict ended. That is a real game-changer for the series, as it will be by far the lowest mintage Gold Eagle of any kind and also the lowest set mintage for any modern U.S. Mint coin (though there are some $10 Gold First Spouse and American Platinum Eagles with lower mintages based on actual sales).
Currently, the lowest proof Gold Eagle is the 2019-W with sales of 12,195, and the smallest mintage coin of the overall Gold Eagle series is the 2017-W burnished uncirculated at 5,800.
World War II and the Greatest Generation
In the aftermath of World War I, most Americans felt that involvement in that war was a mistake, and isolationism remained very popular. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland and went to war against France, which succumbed to the Nazis in 1940, President Roosevelt provided military support for Britain and other European allies. However, there was still little public support for massive spending on armaments until after the December 7, 1941 attack by Japanese forces on U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor. The next day the U.S. declared war on Japan, and after Germany and Italy (the axis powers) declared war against the U.S., the American Congress responded in kind.
After those events, there was a massive mobilization of the American industry to support the war effort as companies that previously made consumer goods started making military items like airplanes, tanks, and warships. With so many American men deploying overseas in Europe and Asia, millions of American women became electricians, welders, and riveters, including the infamous “Rosie the Riveter.”
During the war, the U.S. lost 400,000 souls, the most in any war after the Civil War, when 620,000 perished. An incredible total of 16 million (or 11% of the population of the time) served during the war, with two million of them deployed to Europe, others to the Asian theater, and many others serving at home.
The American soldiers and others who participated in this conflict are known as the World War II Generation, and since 1988, the Greatest Generation was popularized by journalist Tom Brokaw. These Americans were mostly born between 1901 and 1927 and came of age during the Great Depression. They fought in World War II because they believed defeating Germany and Japan was an important cause.
In 1945 when the war ended with an allied defeat of the axis powers, millions of Americans celebrated what became known as “VE Day” celebrated on May 8 for the victory in Europe, and “V-J Day” celebrated on August 15 for the victory against Japan.
V75 Privy Marks the 75th Anniversary
Early this year, the Mint announced it would add a “V75” privy mark to this year’s five limited issue West Point quarters. The “V75” appears inside a recessed cartouche in the shape of the Rainbow Pool that is part of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. The same privy marks will appear on the special World War II anniversary 2020-W American Silver and Gold Eagles. On both coins, the mark appears in the right field just to the right of the olive branch Lady Liberty is carrying.
For further reading about the V75 qaurters released being released into circulation this year, read this Coin Authority entry.
A privy mark is a symbol on a coin that historically was used to indicate details about which Mint or other entity made the coin. On modern world coins, it is usually used to denote anniversaries. In the U.S., in the 19th-century, arrows were added to individual silver coins to indicate that their weight had changed.
Collectors and numismatic observers expect a real frenzy when the U.S. Mint launches this coin at a date not yet announced. There will be a household order limit of one for both issues.
These two special new eagles are a great way to remember and pay tribute to the brave men and women who served with high distinction and in many cases at high cost to themselves during the most significant military conflict in history – whether deployed overseas or serving at home -- to defend our way of life, our freedom, and our liberty.