The American Silver Eagle if the official silver bullion coin of the United States, minted by the United States Mint. American Silver Eagles are an affordable investment, as well as a beautiful addition to any coin collection. For roughly the cost of two movie tickets, you can own an ounce of silver and a piece of American history.
American Silver Eagle History
The United States Mint first released the American Silver Eagle back on November 24, 1986. It was struck at the San Francisco Mint. This coin is only struck in the one ounce (1 oz.) denomination. The American Silver Eagle is certified by the United States Mint for its silver content, weight, and purity. The United States Mint also produces an American Proof Silver Eagle version for collectors. American Silver Eagles and American Proof Silver Eagles have been produced at three different United States Mint locations: the West Point Mint, the San Francisco Mint, and the Philadelphia Mint.
American Silver Eagle bullion coins do not have mint marks. From 1986 to 1998, bullion Silver Eagles were minted at the San Francisco Mint. From 1999 to 2000 they were minted at the Philadelphia Mint, as well as the West Point Mint. In 2001, production was moved exclusively to the West Point Mint location, with the San Francisco Mint supplementing the production. The San Francisco Mint resumed primary production duties once again in 2011. This added capacity increased the output from the West Point Location.
Unlike the bullion coins, American Proof Silver Eagles minted from 1986 to 1992 bear the "S" mintmark, indicating where there were minted. The "S" mintmark stands for the San Francisco Mint location. From 1993 to 2000, American Proof Silver Eagles were minted at the Philadelphia Mint location, and bear the "P" mintmark. American Proof Silver Eagles minted from 2001 to 2008 were minted at the West Point Mint location, and bear the "W" mintmark. The United States Mint did not produce any American Proof Silver Eagles in 2009. Production began again in 2010, and the proof coins were minted at the West Point Mint location, again bearing the "W" mintmark.
2016 American Silver Eagles
The American Silver Eagle obverse (front) design was inspired by Adolph A. Weinman's "Walking Liberty" half dollar. This coin was in circulation between 1916 and 1947. This iconic design is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful coins ever minted by the United States Mint. It is a beloved design that was revived by the American Silver Eagle decades later. The obverse design is inscribed with the words "LIBERTY" on the top edge, and "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the bottom right side of the statute. The year of mintage is inscribed beneath the statue.
The American Silver Eagle reverse (back) design was done by John Mercati in 1986. In this design, the iconic and heraldic eagle stands behind a shield, while grasping arrows in its left talon and an olive branch in its right talon. Thirteen five pointed stars, representing the original Thirteen Colonies, are engraved above the eagle. The reverse is inscribed with the phrases "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," and "1 OZ. FINE SILVER." The coin’s face value of "ONE DOLLAR," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (Latin for “out of many, one”) are also inscribed on the reverse. American Proof Silver Eagles have the mintmark on the reverse side of the coin, but the bullion do not.
The American Silver Eagle and the American Proof Silver Eagle have a face value of $1.00, and have a standard weight of 1.000 troy ounces (31.103 grams). The standard diameter of an American Silver Eagle coin is 1.598 inches (40.60mm), with a thickness of 0.117 inches (2.98mm). American Silver Eagles have a reeded edge.
American Silver Eagles have a silver content of 0.999 troy ounces (31.072 grams) and are 99.9% pure silver. Whether investing in na American Silver Eagle bullion coin or collecting a American Proof Silver Eagle, you can rest assured that there are very minimal traces of alloy or filler products in your coins. The purity and weight of the silver is guaranteed by the U.S. Mint.
As of 2013, there had been a total of 349,478,482 bullion American Silver Eagles minted, and 19,788,547 American Proof Silver Eagles minted. The lowest mintage year for bullion American Silver Eagles was in 1996, when only 3,603,386 bullion coins were minted. The highest mintage year for bullion American silver Eagles was in 2011, when a total of 40,020,000 coins were minted. Years with such high mintage numbers, such as 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, produce common date American Silver Eagles.
The lowest mintage years for American Proof Silver Eagles was in 1995, with only 30,125 proof coins minted at the West Point Mint location, and in 2011, when a total of 99,882 proof coins were produced. The highest mintage years for American Proof Silver Eagles were 1986, when a total of 1,446,778 proof coins were minted, and 2006, when a total of 1,092,477 were minted. Common date American Proof Silver Eagles are produced during these years of high mintage production.
The legal tender or face value of American Silver Eagles is $1.00, which reflects their issue and monetization as coins. This value, however, does not reflect their intrinsic value, which is much greater. The value of an American Silver Eagle depends on several factors, including their silver content of one ounce, the spot price of silver, and the mintage, rarity, age, and condition of the coin. You can get a rough estimate of the value by looking at the current spot price per ounce of silver.
Silver has been historically known for its affordability. The spot price of silver fluctuates depending on market forces. The condition of the coin is just as important in some cases as the spot price of silver, especially for proof collectible coins. All precious metal coins should be properly stored to maintain their mint condition and brilliance in order to guarantee the highest value return when they are ready to sell. American Silver Eagles are IRA approved and are the only silver coin that can be placed in a personal retirement investment portfolio. American Silver Eagle coins are also highly liquid and recognized worldwide, making them easy to trade, sell or buy.