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American Silver Eagles

American Silver Eagle coins are the official silver bullion coins of the United States. They have been minted annually since their initial release by the U.S. Mint in November of 1986. While the coins are classified as legal tender and have a nominal face value of $1, their intrinsic value is much higher. Each coin is minted from one troy ounce of .999 fine silver. This makes them America’s first 99.9% pure silver dollar, leading to the nickname “American Eagle Silver Dollar.”

American Eagles and other bullion coins are designed to provide investors with a cost-effective and convenient way to add small amounts of bullion to their investment portfolios. The coins’ designation as legal tender means that their content, weight and purity is certified and guaranteed by the United States Mint, making them a very popular investment option. In fact, since their launch, American Eagles have become one of the leading series of bullion investment coins.

American Silver Eagles Design

OBVERSE: The design of the obverse (front) of the coin features Adolph A. Weinman’s “Walking Liberty” design originally used on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, minted from 1916 to 1947. This design had become so iconic and beloved that it was revived for the Silver Eagle in 1986. Both the word LIBERTY and the phrase IN GOD WE TRUST are inscribed on the coin’s obverse.

REVERSE: The reverse (back) of the coin was designed by John Mercanti. It depicts a shield in front of a heraldic eagle. Clutched in the eagle’s right talon is an olive branch, and grasped in the eagles’ left talon are arrows. This eagle design echoes the Great Seal of the United States. Located above the eagle are thirteen five-point stars, representing the Thirteen Colonies. The inscription of the coin’s reverse design features the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA • 1 OZ. FINE SILVER~ONE DOLLAR.

Variations of American Silver Eagles

Bullion American Silver Eagles

Bullion coins are the most common variation of American Silver Eagles. There is no mintage limit, so the quantity of bullion coins produced in any given year is in the millions. Many of the highest value bullion coins you’ll find are NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) Certified.

Proof American Silver Eagles

Historically, the proof coins have been sold directly to the public by the United States Mint. These coins are packaged in protective plastic capsules and then mounted in a velvet-covered, satin-lined presentation case. They come with a certificate of authenticity. These coins are struck from specially-treated blanks that have been carefully cleaned and polished. Each blank is hand-fed into a printing press that strikes each coin multiple times with a detailed die. The final, extra-sharp image features mirror-like fields and frosted details. Unlike the bullion coins, they have a mint mark on the reverse. Most American Silver Eagles are minted at West Point, but they have also been minted at the Philadelphia Mint and San Francisco Mint.

Uncirculated American Silver Eagles

Sometimes referred to as Burnished Silver Eagles, these coins have only been minted since 2006 and were not offered in 2009 or 2010. The number of uncirculated coins is far lower than the number of bullion coins and is also lower than the number of proof coins. They are made using the same process as the proof coins, but a burnished silver blank is used in place of the polished one. This creates a satin-like field rather than the mirror-like field of the proof coins. Also like the proof coins, the burnished coins are stamped with a mint mark on the reverse. They are made exclusively for collectors.


Special Issue American Silver Eagles

There are a few special issue and variant versions of the American Silver Eagle that tend to have higher value than the other styles.  These include:

  • 1993 Proof Silver Eagle Coin – struck as part of the “Philadelphia Set”

  • 1995 W Proof Silver Eagle Coin – struck as part of the “10th Anniversary American Eagle Five Coin Set”

  • 2000 Silver Eagle Bullion Coin – included in the “United States Millennium Coinage and Currency Set”

  • 2003 Silver Eagle Bullion Coin – included in the "Legacies of Freedom United States and United Kingdom Silver Bullion Coin Set"

  • 2006 Reverse Proof Silver Eagle Coin – featured a frosted background and mirrored, raised surfaces

  • 2006 Uncirculated Silver Eagle Coin – included in the "20th Anniversary Gold & Silver Eagle Set"

  • 2007 & 2008 Uncirculated Silver Eagle Coin – included in the "Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set"

  • 2011 "American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin Set" –  included five coins in a lacquered presentation case: one proof coin minted at West Point, one uncirculated coin minted at West Point, one uncirculated coin minted at San Francisco, one reverse proof coin minted at Philadelphia, and one bullion coin

  • 2012 "San Francisco American Silver Eagle Two Coin Proof Set" –  included a proof Silver Eagle coin and a reverse proof Silver Eagle coin, both minted in San Francisco

  • 2012 Proof Silver Eagle Coin – included in the “United States Mint Limited Edition Silver Proof Set"

  • 2013 "2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Set" – included a reverse proof coin and an uncirculated coin enhanced with three finishes, both minted in West Point

Silver is a popular investment, and American Silver Eagles are a safe, simple and beautiful way to start investing. Investing in precious metals has proven to be a way to store wealth that is protected against inflation, economic disruptions and other crises. Since American Eagles are guaranteed by the United States Mint, their content is beyond question. Start or continue your collection today with Pinehurst Coins.


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