Mercanti’s Lion & Eagle Coin

Published December 7, 2023 | 1 min read

By Louis Golino

John Mercanti, the most prolific designer in American numismatic history and 12th U.S. Mint chief engraver, has done it again. The artist behind the heraldic eagle on the Type 1 silver American Eagles (1986-2021), Australia’s Wedge-Tailed Eagle series (2014-present), and a flying eagle motif for Sunshine Minting (2022) has created a new design for the UK’s Royal Mint. The showstopping coin features an American bald eagle paired with a British lion. King Charles III signed a proclamation approving the new design on July 19, 2023.

Called The Lion and the Eagle, this series’s new silver and gold coins pay tribute to the longstanding friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom. The relationship is one based on shared values such as courage, strength, and freedom. Struck in several different sizes, these commemorative proofs pair two well-known numismatic icons.

Paired together as they both look in the same direction, these two animals convey the sense of shared purpose between the two countries.

On the left side is an American bald eagleā€”a symbol that has been used on our coins since 1792. Mercanti’s eagle has an unwavering gaze that matches the look of quiet determination on the British lion on the right.

The lion has been a frequent emblem in British heraldry since the 12th century; it represents strength, nobility, and courage. The Royal Mint has featured the lion often, most recently for the Queen’s Beast and Tudor Beast coin series.

The Royal Mint has sold out of all the coins except the 5-ounce gold piece. However, some versions are still available from GovMint, the official distributor.