2017 American Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Description And History
The Silver American Eagle is undeniably one of the most sought after silver bullion coins produced in recent history. The combination of very high-quality silver content combined with stunning beauty and the guarantees of the US government make this so.
The front of the coin, or the obverse, features a stunning rendition of the Walking Liberty design created by Adolph A. Weinman. This design is a favorite of Americans and was very popular when it originally graced the Walking Liberty Half Dollar silver coin which was minted from 1916 to 1947. The reverse or back of the coin bears the engraved depiction of a heraldic eagle protected by a shield. The heraldic eagle image has been appearing on American coinage since 1794, though the earlier versions were said to more resemble a scrawny chicken. The bold and dignified version of today is the work of John Mercanti.
In addition to the eagle, which is clutching arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other, the back of the coin also carries inscriptions. The value of “ONE DOLLAR” is given as well as the weight of “1 OZ. FINE SILVER”. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is scripted into an arc that frames the top half of the coin. The design also incorporates thirteen stars to represent the Original Colonies, and the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. This is a Latin phrase which translates “Out of many, one.”
Of note to coin enthusiasts, E Pluribus Unum was the unofficial motto of the United States and thus is seen on many coins. Congress eventually passed an act which adopted “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the US in 1956. This official motto is present on the front of the coin, as is the year the silver bullion coin was produced. The mintmark, if there is one, will be located under the eagle talon which is holding the olive branch.
The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States. As such, silver purity is key. The silver used to create the coin is 99.9% pure silver. The balance of the coin is copper. The metal in the coin has a mass of 1 troy ounce or 31.103 grams. This mass of silver is struck into a coin that has a diameter of 1.68 inches (40.6mm) and a thickness of .1173 inches (2.98 mm). The edge of the coin is reeded, or grooved.
Since the American Silver Eagle bullion coin was first introduced in 1986, three US Mints have produced hundreds of millions of these coins. The first twelve years of American Silver Eagle coin production happened at the San Francisco Mint. In 1999 and 2000 the Philadelphia Mint was responsible for producing the silver bullion pieces. Since 2001, the US Mint at West Point has primarily produced the coin. In times of very high demand, the San Francisco Mint has also supplemented supply.
Of note on this topic, is the fact that bullion versions of the American Silver Eagle coin do not carry mintmarks. The Proof and Uncirculated varieties of the coin do carry the mark of the US Mint at which the coin was struck. The coins that you are viewing are bullion pieces and will not have a mintmark.
If you would like to purchase Proof or Uncirculated Silver American Eagles, please call our offices at 1.888.OWN.GOLD.
The United States ceased to use silver in everyday coinage in 1964. Instead of using the silver to create coins, the US government stockpiled silver for wartime use. This horde was known as the Defense National Stockpile. Over time, this stockpile of physical silver became immense. Congressional legislation was eventually passed to liquidate part of the silver cache through the sales of a silver bullion coin. Until 2002, the silver used to create the coin was sourced from the Defense National Stockpile.
When the Defense National Stockpile was sufficiently depleted in 2002, a choice had to be made. Either discontinue the very popular Silver American Eagle program or find another source for silver. Laws were quickly passed which allowed the coin to be struck with silver purchased on the open markets.
The Silver American Eagle is very popular. The silver bullion coin is also a legal tender coin of the United States and is guaranteed by the government to contain at least one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. These are some of the reasons for a strong initial demand that has only grown over time. The silver bullion coin is only produced in the one troy ounce size.
In 2008, as a direct result of market crashes worldwide, demand for the silver bullion coin outpaced production and sales were even suspended for a time. A new allocation process had to be implemented. Meanwhile, production of the Proof and Uncirculated varieties of the coin were suspended for a period of time in order to increase production of the bullion version. Recent history shows us that the time to acquire Silver American Eagles is before turmoil hits the markets. Consider adding a Monster Box (500 Silver American Eagle coins) to your physical metals portfolio today. Silver American Eagles are also eligible to be held inside of a precious metals-backed IRA.