The official silver bullion coin of the United States is the American Eagle. Originally minted in 1986 by the US Mint, the Silver American Eagle Coin is comprised of 99.9% pure silver with a weight of one troy ounce and has a nominal face value of one dollar. It was authorized by the Liberty Coin Act and it’s weight and purity are certified by the United States Mint. There have been 3 versions of the Silver Eagle released for investors and collectors. There is the Bullion Silver Eagle, the Proof Silver Eagle and the Uncirculated Silver Eagle.
The very first Silver Eagle Coin was struck in San Francisco on October 29th 1986. The minting was presided over by the Secretary of The Treasury James A. Baker III at the San Francisco Assay Office. The event was dubbed the San Francisco Silver Rush of 1986.
The Bullion Eagle was originally minted from 1986-1998 at the San Francisco Mint and do not bear any mint mark. Then in 1999 for two years they were minted at bothe the Philadelphia Mint and the West Point Mint. However, since 2001 the coins have exclusively been minted at the West Point Mint in West Point, NY.
The Proof Silver Eagle originally was minted through the San Francisco Mint and had the “”S”” mint mark from 1986-1992. From there they moved to the Philadelphia Mint and were struck with a “”P”” mint mark. They remained there until 2001 when they made the move to the West Point Mint which is where they are still being minted today with the “”W”” mint mark. There was no 2009 Proof Silver Eagle but again in 2010 the Proof coin returned still minted out of West point.
Uncirculated Silver Eagle coins were minted from 2006-2008 and designed by the US Mint for collectors. The coins were struck at the West Point Mint using burnished blanks. Sometimes referred to as W Uncirculated or Burnished Uncirculated, these coins have been out of production since 2008.
==> SPECIAL RELEASE
There have also been a few Special Issue Silver Eagle Series released.
1993 saw the release of the Philadelphia Set which was issued to commemorate the bicentennial of the very first striking of American Coins at the Philadelphia Mint.
In 1995 there was a West pint Mint issued Silver Eagle issued along with the Philadelphia Mint release. This coin is known as the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle and was sold as a part of the 10th Anniversary American Eagle 5 Coin Set. The set also included Proof Gold Eagles in 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz sizes. A very limited number of these sets were produced and they continue to be a highly desired piece.
2000 brought the United States Millennium Coinage and Currency Set that had a 2000 Silver Eagle Bullion Coin minted at the West Point Mint but without the “”W”” mint also included a 2000 Denver mint released Sacagawea Dollar and an uncirculated 1999 one dollar bill. There were only 75,000 sets minted and less than twenty are known to contain Sacagawea dollars that do not have a burnished finish.
In early 2004 the US Mint issued the Legacies of Freedom United States and United Kingdom Silver Bullion Coin Set. The set contained of a 2003 bullion Silver Eagle and a 2002 Silver Britannia bullion coin from the United Kingdom.
In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the American Silver Eagle program in 2006, the United States Mint released a very special Reverse Proof Silver Eagle coin form the Philadelphia Mint. This Reverse Proof coin was available as part of a set that also included the standard Proof Silver Eagle and the new Burnished Uncirculated Silver Eagle coins. The Silver Reverse proof features a frosted background and mirrored surfaces.
The Uncirculated Silver Eagles were also issued with the 20th Anniversary Gold and Silver Eagle Set which had an extremely low issue of only 20,000 sets. 2007 and 2008 had the uncirculated Silver Eagle coins packaged with each years Philadelphia minted Presidential Dollars and Denver minted Sacagawea dollars in the start of the Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set.
==> SILVER EAGLE DESIGN
The design of the United States Silver Eagle’s obverse side was taken from the Walking Liberty which had originally been used for the Walking Liberty Half Dollar from 1916-1947. It became one of the most iconic American Silver Coin designs and was a favorite of the American public. For that reason, the design was brought back for the Silver Eagle Bullion coin with the year of release, LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST being added.
The reverse design has a heraldic eagle behind a shield grasping an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left. It is holding a banner in its beak that is inscribed with E PLURBIS UNIM. It also has 13 stars representing the 13 original Colonies as well as UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1oz FINE SILVER ONE DOLLAR as well as the mint mark when there is one.
From its original minting to today, the Silver Eagle American Bullion Coin remains one of the most desired and collected coins in not only the American Silver Coin series but of all of the US minted bullion coins. With special releases, yearly mintings and even the odd error popping up Silver Eagles are a great choice for every collector.