The World’s Most Popular Silver Bullion Coin – The American Silver Eagle
The American Silver Eagle one ounce silver coin produced by the United States Mint is the world’s most popular silver coin. The United States Mint has produced over 500 million American Silver Eagle coins at its mints in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco since 1986.
American Silver Eagle Mintages – 1986-2016
Why are American Silver Eagle Coins So Popular
American Silver Eagle coins have an attractive, easily recognizable design. The front of American Silver Eagle coin depicts a Walking Lady Liberty that is substantially similar to the front of the Liberty Walking Half Dollar that was minted for general circulation from 1916 to 1947. The original design was by Adolph A. Weinman and the initials AW can be seen on lady liberty’s gown.
The design of the American Silver Eagle coins does not change from year to year. Only the year changes. The words “Liberty” and “In God We Trust” also appear on the front.
The back of the American Silver Eagle coin depicts an heraldic bald eagle. The words “1 Oz. Fine Silver” “One Dollar” and “United States of America” appear on the back. The reverse was designed by John Mercanti who was the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint in 1986.
2. Standard Weight and Finness
American Silver Eagles are composed of .9993 silver (three nines) and .0007 copper and are 40.6 mm in diameter vs. Liberty Walking half dollars that measure 30.6mm and Silver Morgan and Peace dollars that measure 38.1 mm. The American Silver Eagle is considered a silver dollar and therefore suitable as a gift in “First Salute” ceremonies.
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3. Legal Tender
As mentioned above, the American Silver Eagle is considered a silver dollar because it has a face value of $1 and is United States legal tender. While American Silver Eagles are legal tender, the silver value far exceeds the $1 face value.
4. Liquid Resale Market
American Silver Eagles are sold individually, in rolls of twenty or in “monster boxes” of five hundred coins. Because American Silver Eagles have been minted by the U.S for over thirty years in a reliable one ounce size and are 99.9% silver they are trusted by collectors and investors. The American Silver Eagle coin is perhaps the easiest coin to resell.
5. Semi Numismatic Value
American Silver Eagle are considered silver bullion and are generally purchased for their silver content and not for any numismatic value. Many collectors, however, try to assemble entire sets of coins from each year that they were minted. Because mintages vary from year to year (see chart above) some American Silver Eagles are rarer than others and fetch higher premiums from collectors. For example, only 3,603,386 American Silver Eagles were minted in 1996, making that year a “key date” for which collectors are willing to pay a premium over the one ounce of silver contained in the coin.
In addition to the collectibility of certain key dated American Silver Eagle coins, the U.S. Mint also mints American Silver Eagle coins in proof and burnished forms. Proof and burnished American Silver Eagle coins contain mint marks from either West Point (W) or San Francisco (S). The mint marks are stamped on the back of the coins on the left next to the eagle’s talon. American Silver Eagles minted in Philadelphia contain no mint mark.
Uncirculated, proof and burnished American Silver Eagles coins can be bought in graded form by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guarantee Company (NCG), the two leaders in coin grading. Graded coins come in sonic sealed capsules or “slabs”.
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The United States Mint also produces American Gold Eagle and American Gold Buffalos.
American Silver Eagle Coin Mintages: U.S. Mint