The Bald Eagle, nearing the brink of extinction just 35 years ago, has made remarkable progress and is still expanding its presence throughout our Nation’s lands and skies. The United States Mint is authorized to mint and issue three commemorative coins that celebrate the encouraging recovery of the Bald Eagle species, the 35th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the removal of the Bald Eagle from the Endangered Species List.
In 1782, the Second Continental Congress selected the Bald Eagle as our National Emblem of the United States and made it the centerpiece of the Great Seal of the United States. The majestic Bald Eagle has come to symbolize America’s freedom, strength and democracy.
Bald Eagles were once abundant throughout our Nation. But poaching, habitat destruction, pesticides, and food source contamination took their toll, reducing the population from approximately 100,000 nesting pairs at the founding of our Nation to just over 400 nesting pairs in the early 1960’s.
The path to recovery took the efforts of governments, private organizations, and citizens determined to save our National emblem. The ban on the use of certain pesticides in 1972, the protections provided under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and efforts such as captive breeding and nest watch programs, provided the vital protection that the Bald Eagles needed to survive. The success of this recovery effort culminated in the removal of the Bald Eagle from the Endangered Species List in 2007. About 10,000 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles can now be found throughout the continental United States.
The Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program consists of three coins – a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar, and a half-dollar clad coin – available in both proof and uncirculated conditions. Surcharges from the program are authorized to be paid to the American Eagle Foundation of Tennessee for the purposes of continuing its work to save and protect Bald Eagles nationally.
The maximum mintages across all product options for these commemorative coins are limited to 100,000 for the $5 gold coin, 500,000 for the silver dollar, and 750,000 for the half-dollar.