American Silver Eagle


What is an American Silver Eagle Coin?

An American Silver Eagle coin is a silver bullion coin issued by the United States Mint. These silver coins are also commonly referred to as Silver American Eagles or simply Silver Eagles. These silver coins began minting in 1986. They have been minted at such locations as the Philadelphia Mint, San Francisco Mint, and West Point Mint.

Is a Silver Eagle 100% Silver?

No, a Silver Eagle is not 100% silver; it is 99.9% silver. The exact composition of the coin is 99.9% silver and 0.1% copper alloy, while the coin weighs a total of 1 troy ounce.

However, there is no 100% silver in the world. The highest fineness of silver is .9999 fine (four nines fine), or 99.99% pure. The most common fineness of silver is .999 fine (three nines fine), or 99.9% pure silver.

What Will the 2024 American Silver Eagle Look Like?

The 2024 American Silver Eagle will likely have the same design as recent years: Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse.

Where Can You Buy Silver Eagle Coins for Sale?

You can buy American Silver Eagle coins from Money Metals Exchange, bullion dealers, coin shops, online retailers, and sometimes directly from the U.S. Mint.

What is the History Behind American Silver Eagle Coin Designs?

The history behind American Silver Eagle coin designs includes the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) sides of the coin.

The obverse side design of the American Silver Eagle is inspired by Adolph A. Weinman’s “Walking Liberty” from the half-dollar coin issued from 1916 to 1947.

The reverse side designs (Type-1 and Type-2) were inspired by artists John Mercanti and Emily Damstra.

The American Silver Eagle coin and its specifications, dimensions, and design were first proposed by Senator James A. McClure (R-Idaho) via the Liberty Coin Act of 1985 (Title II of Public Law 99-61) and signed by US President Ronald Regan on July 9, 1985.

What Were the Legislative Foundations and Economic Aims of the American Silver Eagle Program?

The American Silver Eagle program was initiated to reduce the national stockpile of silver while providing a reliable investment vehicle for precious metal enthusiasts. According to John M. Mercanti and Michael "Miles" Standish, authors of American Silver Eagles: A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program, the program was established under the Liberty Coin Act of 1985, which aimed to democratize silver ownership through government-backed products. This legislative move was strategic, intending to stabilize the silver market and enhance public trust in silver investments.

Ronald Reagan signing the Liberty Coin Act of 1985

What Did the 1985 Liberty Coin Act Establish?

  • Treasury Authorization: The act authorized the secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue silver bullion coins.

  • Coin Specifications: The act specified the diameter, weight, fineness, general design, inscriptions, and edge format of the coins.

  • Pricing Formula: The act established the formula for pricing the coins.

  • Numismatic Status: The act defined the coins as having both numismatic and legal-tender status.

  • Silver Source: The act specified that the silver would come from the national stockpiles.

  • Effective Date: The act set the effective date as October 1, 1985.

  • Issue Deadline: The act stipulated that no coins would be issued or sold before September 1, 1986.

How Have Market Influence and Technological Innovations Shaped the American Silver Eagle Program?

The consistent demand for American Silver Eagles has significantly influenced global silver prices and availability. The U.S. Mint's strategic release of these coins during periods of high demand has helped stabilize the market. Furthermore, advancements in minting technology, such as laser etching and enhanced anti-counterfeiting measures, have improved the coins' security and aesthetic appeal. These innovations have not only increased the collectibility of the Silver Eagles but also bolstered investor confidence in their authenticity.

What Is the Cultural and Historical Impact of the American Silver Eagle?

Each American Silver Eagle coin encapsulates a piece of American history, reflecting contemporary artistic styles, economic conditions, and political climates. Special editions and anniversary releases of the coin have become key historical markers, attracting both seasoned collectors and new enthusiasts. This aspect underscores the coin's role in cultural heritage and numismatic history, making it a significant subject of study and collection.

How many different versions or varieties of the American Silver Eagle coin are there?

There are three major varieties of the Silver Eagle. These versions or varieties include:

  • Bullion
  • Proof
  • Uncirculated

Bullion Silver Eagle

Bullion Silver Eagles have been in constant production since late 1986. The production fluctuated greatly over the years, which saw the lowest volumes in the mid-1990s. Since then, the production has increased manifold.

All the while, the Silver Eagle remains popular and among the most beloved and sought-after silver coins in the US market. It owes its popularity in part to Americans who fund their Individual Retirement Accounts with American Silver Eagle bullion coins.

Bullion coins of both the Silver and Gold Eagle are not available to the general public. Only a small number of “authorized purchasers” can buy them for resale to interested parties. They are sold in bulk, with a premium of $2.00 per coin above the cost of silver per ounce.

Proof Silver Eagle

The initial production of proof coins began in 1986 and ended in 2008. Production resumed in 2010 and continued until 2015. Unlike bullion coins, proof coins were directly available to the general public.

All American Silver Eagle proof coins come in a protective plastic case with a certificate of authenticity. Each coin bears the mark of the mint where it was struck. P for Philadelphia, W for West Point, and S for San Francisco.

Uncirculated Silver Eagle

It wasn’t until the US Mint Silver Eagle’s 20th anniversary that the uncirculated variety was introduced. The initial run lasted until 2008. The coin was reintroduced in 2011 and remained in production until 2015.

Special Issues

Numerous special issues were minted over the years. The most significant ones include:

  • 1993 Philadelphia Set
  • 1995-W (West Point) Proof Silver Eagle
  • 2000 United States Millennium Coinage and Currency Set
  • 2004 Legacies of Freedom United States and United Kingdom Silver Bullion Coin Set
  • 2006 Reverse Proof Silver Eagle
  • 2007 and 2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set
  • 2011 American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin Set
  • 2012 San Francisco American Silver Eagle Two Coin Proof Set
  • 2012 Making American History Coin and Currency Set
  • 2012 United States Mint Limited Edition Silver Proof Set
  • 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Set
  • 2016 30th Anniversary edition

How Does the American Silver Eagle Coin Minting Process Work?

The American Silver Eagle coin minting process involves creating dies from master designs, stamping blanks with these dies under high pressure, and inspecting finished coins. Proof versions and other higher-quality versions may require multiple stamps by machine or hand.

Are American Silver Eagles a Good Investment?

Yes, American Silver Eagles are currently considered a good investment due to their silver content and collector demand. Since they are such a popular coin, they are considered liquid which means they are relatively easy to sell on the secondary market.

Why is the American Silver Eagle so Expensive?

The American Silver Eagle is expensive due to their silver content, collector demand, and sometimes a premium for rare editions. The US Mint imposes higher premiums for these silver coins, and this cost is shared by the market.

Are Silver Eagles Worth It for Investment?

Yes, Silver Eagle are worth it for investment and are considered worth it due to their stable demand and silver value.

Do Silver Coins Increase in Value Over Time?

Yes, silver coins tend to increase in value over time depending on market conditions and rarity.

What is the Best Year of Silver Eagles to Buy for Investment?

The best year of Silver Eagles to buy for investment varies by market trends and rarity; collectors often seek earlier and rarer editions. With that in mind, the following mintage years tend to be most sought after:

Issue Bullion Proof Uncirculated
1986 5,393,005 1,446,778 -
1994 4,227,319 372,168 -
1995 4,672,051 468,636 -
1996 3,603,386 500,000 -
1999 7,408,640 549,769 -
2000 9,239,132 600,000 -
2001 9,001,711 746,398 -
2006 10,676,522 1,092,477 468,020
2008 20,583,000 700,979 533,757
2021 (Type 1) (P): 495,500
(W): 1,811,000
(S): 1,000,000
(W): 327,335 -
2021 (Type 2) (W): 13,968,500
(S): 1,000,000
(W): 385,776
(S): 225,661

Is it Better to Invest in Silver Eagles or Silver Bars?

Silver Eagles and Silver Bars both have investing benefits, but Silver Eagles are better for collectors, while the 1 troy oz silver bar value may offer more silver for the money.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes When Selling Silver Eagle Investments?

Yes, according to Jp Cortez of the Sound Money Defense League which is the primary leader in precious metals sales tax information, in the U.S. you may have to pay capital gains tax on profits when selling silver investments such as Silver Eagles. Federally, the US government treats sales of precious metal items, including American Silver Eagles, as “collectibles.”

If the item is held for more than a year and there is a nominal gain when selling, the federal tax on this long-term capital gain is 28% tax plus an additional 3.8% Obamacare tax, equalling 31.8% in total federal tax.

If your precious metals are held for less than one year, then the gains are taxed federally at your ordinary income tax rate, plus the 3.8%.

Conversely, if you have capital losses on your sale of precious metals, they can be used to offset other investment income you may have – and up to $3,000 in ordinary income.

Meanwhile, only 11 states do not assess their own state income tax on gains from precious metals sales. See the Sound Money Index for more details.

How Much Are American Silver Eagles Worth?

American Silver Eagles’ worth varies; they are generally worth slightly above the current silver bullion price.

What is the Value of a Silver American Eagle Coin Today?

The value depends on the silver spot price plus a premium, usually slightly above the bullion value.

How Do American Silver Eagle Coin Prices Vary?

American Silver Eagle coin prices vary based on silver market value, coin condition, year of issuance, and the US Mint premium.

How Does Silver Eagle Value Vary by Year?

Silver Eagle value varies by year depending on rarity, collector demand, and initial mintage.

How Much is a 2000 Silver Eagle Coin Worth?

A 2000 Silver Eagle is generally worth around the current silver bullion price plus a premium. If the coin is graded, it may command a slightly higher price. A grade of MS currently has a book value of $45; MS-69 is $55; MS-70 is $6,000. The West Point Mint produced 9,239,132 Silver Eagle coins in 2000.

The 2000 Proof Silver Eagle graded PF is estimated to be worth $100, the PF-69 is $125, and the PF-70 is $450. The Philadelphia Mint produced 600,000 Proof Silver Eagles in 2000.

How Much is a 1996 Silver Eagle Worth?

A 1996 Silver Eagle is worth the silver melt value plus a small premium but is primarily worth more if it is a graded coin. If the 1996 Silver Eagle is graded, the current book value lists an MS as $100, an MS-69 is $145, and an MS-70 is $6,000. The San Francisco Mint produced 3,603,386 Silver Eagles in 1996.

The 1996 Proof Silver Eagle graded PF is estimated to be worth around $100, the PF-69 grade is worth around $135, and the grade of PF-70 is around $550. The Philadelphia Mint produced 500,000 Proof Silver Eagles in 1996.

How Much is a 1995 Silver Eagle Worth?

A 1995 Silver Eagle typically sells for a bit above its silver content value unless in mint condition or is graded, which in that case would likely be worth more on the secondary market. According to Richard S. Yeoman in A Guide Book of United States Coins, a 1995 Silver Eagle graded MS is $70, MS-69 is $90, and an MS-70 is $2,500.

Why is the 1995-W Silver Eagle so Expensive?

The 1995-W Silver Eagle is expensive due to its extremely low mintage and status as a collector’s item. This was the first year the U.S. Mint produced a Proof American Silver Eagle at the West Point Mint (mint mark W), and they only produced 30,125 that year. The Philadelphia Mint still produced 438,511 Proof Silver Eagles in 1995.

If the 1995-W Silver Eagle is graded it could be worth a significant amount. A Proof grade of PF is currently worth $4,000; PF-69 is $4,500; and, a PF-70 is $16,000.

What is the Most Sought After/Valuable Silver Eagle Variety?

The most sought after or valuable variety is typically the 1995-W proof version graded PF-70 due to its rarity. According to Richard A. Bassett of Southern Connecticut State University, the current value of a 1995-W PF-70 is worth around $16,000.

Other varieties may include a 1999 MS-70 ($14,500), 1996 MS-70 ($6,000), 2000 MS-70 ($6,000), 1990 MS-70 ($4,750), 1993 MS-70 ($4,750), 1997 MS-70 ($3,000), and 1998 MS-70 ($2,500).

How are American Silver Eagle Coins Graded?

American Silver Eagle coins are graded based on their condition, from MS (Mint State) for uncirculated to PR or PF for proofs. Professional coin grading companies such as PCGS and NGC provide the grading process grades at an additional cost.

Collecting American Silver Eagles

Collecting American Silver Eagles can focus on different years, varieties, and errors, or simply for stacking silver as a hedge against inflation.

What are the Different American Silver Eagle Coin Varieties to Collect?

Different American Silver Eagle coin varieties to collect include bullion, proof, reverse proof, enhanced reverse proof, burnished, uncirculated burnished, uncirculated, and anniversary collections along with special editions and sets.

What American Silver Eagle Coin Errors Should Collectors Look For?

American Silver Eagle coin errors to look for include double strikes, off-center strikes, and missing layers. These errors may be in the images, words, numbers, mint marks, edges, etc.

The most popular American Silver Eagle coin sets for collecting include proof sets, anniversary sets, and sets with special finishes.

How Can You Start Collecting American Silver Eagle Coins?

You can start collecting American Silver Eagle coins by purchasing one of each type (bullion, proof, uncirculated) from different years.

Where to Buy American Silver Eagle Coins?

American Silver Eagle coins can be purchased from Money Metals Exchange, coin dealers, online retailers, and very rarely banks.

Can You Get American Silver Eagles at a Bank?

It is unlikely to get American Silver Eagles at a bank. Most banks do not deal in bullion coins. However, since these silver bullion coins do have a legal tender face value of $1 USD, a bank may acquire one of these silver dollars on extremely rare occasions.

Do Banks Sell American Eagle Coins?

Generally, no - banks do not sell American Eagle coins. Banks typically do not sell bullion coins. However, these coins are legal currency and a bank will likely have to sell the coin for face value as opposed to its silver content if they have any in their drawers.

Can You Buy Silver Eagles Directly from the U.S. Mint?

Yes, you can buy Silver Eagles directly from the U.S. Mint, but primarily only newer versions and typically at a much higher price tag than a reputable online dealer such as Money Metals Exchange.

What is the Best Place to Buy Silver Eagles Online?

The best place to buy Silver Eagles online is Money Metals Exchange. Typically, reputable online bullion or coin dealers are the best places.

Where Can You Find the Cheapest Silver Eagles for Sale?

The cheapest Silver Eagles for sale can usually be found by comparing prices online among large dealers.

How Much Should You Pay for a Silver Eagle?

For a Silver Eagle, you should expect to pay a small premium over the spot price of silver.

What are the Best American Silver Eagle Coin Dealers?

The best American Silver Eagle coin dealer is Money Metals Exchange. You may also look for well-established dealers with good reviews and transparent pricing.

Are There American Silver Eagle Coin Auctions to Attend?

Yes, there are American Silver Eagle coin auctions, particularly online, where collectors and investors can bid on these coins. Be extremely careful when dealing with auctions and auction websites.

What are the Specifications of a 1 oz Silver American Eagle Coin?

According to the U.S. Mint, the specifications of a 1 oz Silver American Eagle coin are as follows:

  • Value: 1.00 U.S. dollar (face value)
  • Mass: 31.103 g (1.00 troy oz)
  • Diameter: 40.6 mm (1.598 in)
  • Thickness: 2.98 mm (0.1173 in)
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Composition: 99.9% Ag and 0.1% Cu

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