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Editor's Picks

Emory oak near Young, Arizona © Nanebah Lyndon
Emory oak acorns are a critically important commodity for...
Website Editor | Feb 12, 2021
Ecological Landscape Alliance
Murphy Westwood and Tim Boland presented on oak diversity...
Website Editor | Feb 12, 2021
Keiko Tokunaga's Illustrated Fagaceae
Shaun Haddock reviews Keiko Tokunaga's latest book.
Shaun Haddock | Feb 09, 2021

Plant Focus

Quercus texana New Madrid acorn
Disentangling the cultivar published as Quercus texana ‘New Madrid’

Oak-Themed Platinum Proof Coins

The United States Mint announced last month that it is launching a new five-year Platinum Proof Coin Program series starting in 2021 and continuing through 2025. The series uses the lifecycle of the oak tree from seedling to a mighty oak as a metaphor for the United States’ growth as a nation that values freedom. As stated in the Mint’s announcement: “Liberty grows to a thing of strength and beauty from a seed—the US Bill of Rights.”

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof Coin Program will reflect the five freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution—that is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

All obverse designs in this series were created by Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Donna Weaver and engraved by Chief Engraver Joseph Menna. Each design—one for each year—depicts a moment in the life of an oak that illustrates one of the freedoms referred to in the inscription that surrounds the image. 

2021 Platinum Proof Coin
Obverse of the 2021 American Eagle Platinum One Ounce Proof Coin, showing a seedling and an acorn
2022 Platinum Proof Coin
Line drawing of the design for the 2022 American Eagle Platinum One Ounce Proof Coin: an oak twig in flower
2023 Platinum Proof Coin
Line drawing of the design for the 2023 American Eagle Platinum One Ounce Proof Coin: the branch of a mature oak tree with acorns
2024 Platinum Proof Coin
Line drawing of the design for the 2024 American Eagle Platinum One Ounce Proof Coin: oak leaves of several species (can you identify them?)
2025 Platinum Proof Coin
Line drawing of the design for the 2025 American Eagle Platinum One Ounce Proof Coin: a mature, spreading oak tree

More information is available on the United States Mint website, where you can also purchase the coins. The first in the series, the 2021 Freedom of Religion coin, went on sale on February 4, 2021. The nominal value of each coin is USD 100, but the cost of buying one is a little more. Be prepared for sticker shock: after all, platinum doesn’t grow on trees!