Stumpy's Blog

30 Aug 2020

Pretty Ladies

Coins-United States | Stumpy

My wife decided about five months ago that she likes the American Eagle Silver Dollars, or as she simply calls them “My Pretty Ladies”, not bad for a gal who never was interested in coins before. I had not quite made up my mind on collecting them. She liked them so much that she researched and bid on some at a couple of on-line auctions. Well, I read the tea leaves, made the supreme sacrifice and now we collect American Eagle Silver Dollars.

We have managed to collect a bunch in the past five months. All are either PCGS or NGC graded MS69, PF69 or better. All of our ungraded coins have come directly from the US Mint.

Since their inception in 1986 these coins have become a staple to many collectors, and one of the most (some say the most) collected Silver Bullion Coins in the world.

The concept goes back to the early 1980s, when the Presidential administration wanted to use the money to lower the Federal Deficit, Congress opposed. The initial plan was to sell up to 75% of the silver stockpile from the Defense National Stockpile. Opponents of the plan included government and military sources that wanted proceeds from the sale to be spent on further material for the National Defense Stockpile, not on reducing the federal Deficit. Silver producing states also tried to block the sale as it could have a “disastrous effect” on the US Silver Mining industry. Prior to this, each time the Federal Government had initiated a sell off of Silver it had resulted in the drop in the price of silver.

Two different times a bill was presented to start the sell of the silver stockpile, it was stopped. Finally, the Senate & House approved an amended bill, signed by the President and on 9 July 1985 authorized the Secretary of the Treasure to mint and issue silver bullion coin, Title II of Public Law 99-61, (Liberty Coin Act). The law also covered coin specs, sales, Numismatic & legal tender status, the purchase of silver from stockpile and stipulated that no coins be issued or sold before 1 September 1986. The American Silver Eagle bullion program was born.

The were stipulated by law to be valued as Legal tender 1.00 U.S. Dollar face value, with a mass of 31.103g (1.00 troy oz), diameter of 40.6mm (1.598 in), thickness of 2.98mm (0.1173 in), have a reeded edge, and a composition of 99.9% pure silver, content and weight as verified by the U.S. Mint. The Obverse is Adolph A. Weinman’s Beautiful Walking Liberty design of 1916 for the Half Dollar coin, while the reverse is a stunning Heraldic Eagle with shield and 13 five pointed stars, the Eagle has arrows in its right talon and an olive branch in the left, designed in 1986 by John Mercanti. The coins initially were offered as Bullion, (intended for investment), Proof and Uncirculated for collectors. In the earliest years Uncirculated coins couldn’t be purchased from the U.S. Mint, Special satin finish versions were made available beginning in 2006.

1996 – 1992 American Silver Eagle Proofs were minted at the San Francisco facility and of course had the “S” mint mark, 1993 – 2000 they were minted in Philadelphia and had the “P” mint mark, since 2001 they have been minted at West Point and have the “W” mint mark. The “W” or “Burnished” Uncirculated Silver Eagle will have the “W” mintmark, and are purchased from the US Mint like the Proof coins, while the “Bullion” Uncirculated coins can only be purchased from a network of authorized dealers who resell them for a premium over the current spot price of their precious metal content. These will not have a mint mark and are targeted to individuals who are buying for Investment purposes. From 1986 – 1988, Uncirculated Silver Eagles were minted at the Philadelphia facility. 1999 – 2000, they were minted in both Philadelphia and West Point, these coins of course have no mint mark.

In 2021 the American Silver Eagle is undergoing a new design, the obverse is scheduled to stay the same, while the reverse is? No one that I’m aware has seen the new reverse design. I have heard, although I can’t verify that due to Covid-19 the design change may be put back another year although I doubt it.

If any of you Guys or Gals know about this design change, “Fess Up”. There are of course supposed design change drawings out there but as for the accuracy, who knows?

In closing I apologize to the purists out there since I did not even touch on half of the information about this coin, since there are dates without various types of sets, dates with extra sets, Mintage figures, the WWII coins coming out this fall, etc.

If you think this might be an area of interest for you, please feel free to investigate further. Most of the coins in this series are available for purchase at reasonable prices and even the high-end coins are still obtainable, although one or two might hurt your wallet. All I can tell you is that to my wife and I this is the most beautiful Silver Dollar coin ever produced. OK, OK, I hear the boos, and hisses from here, but remember everyone has a coin that captivates us, this is ours, my wife’s “Pretty Lady”.


The Official Red Book 2020, 2021, and The Official Red Book, Mega Red, 16th Edition.

Multiple internet sources listed under History of American Eagle Coin



Level 5

Hehe, and pretty ladies they ARE! I love these coins as well.


Level 5

I have always known about the silver eagle, but not in depth. Every coin has a story and history to it. So far I have not started any proof coin collections, though I might start off with this one. Thanks for the great content!


Level 5

Hmm, my wife likes pandas, but I am having a hard time warming up to them. The SAE's over the years have had many different finishes. My favorites are the reverse-proofs and the enhanced uncirculated and proofs. I am glad the obverse is remaining unchanged.


Level 5

Thanks Mike, you and I are in agreement on the difference between MS 69 & 70. Good point about the varieties, there were so many I didn't list em, but the 2019 reverse is definitely one fine coin. You are correct in the fact that if you are going to look at collecting this series a book is a must. Thanks for that, I should have included that. Good looking out. Later!


Level 5

Well, that is more than I knew about ASE's. Thanks for sharing.


Level 6

Very nice, concise blog. You covered a lot of info in a easy to read way. Good for your wife to pick these coins. I collect them as well. Not all, I feel the mint has gone crazy on all type finishes offered now. Good luck.

Beautiful design, an it is nice to see weinman's design with deep cameo contrast. ASE are especially popular right now.


Level 6

Tom Uram, the :Chairman of the CCAC is also the President of PAN. He spoke at our meeting in July and confirmed their recommendation for the reverse of the ASE had been sent to the Secretary of the Treasury for final approval. It is an Eagle of course, but it is a much more realistic Eagle than the one that has been in use. I think you will be very pleased. Look for design 12A if you want to see what it looks like. Look for design 38 for the reverse of our Gold coins.


Level 5

The 2019S Reverse was one of the few coins in the series I was referring to that will hurt your wallet. Depending on grading and vendor, this coin can really cost. Not sure if I want to spend it at this time, although it will most likely not get cheaper. Thanks for the comments.


Level 5

I have some eagles for the silver content, but nothing graded. Eagles are a nice collection to have. I am interested in the 2019 S reverse with the 30k mintage. May have to find one of them and maybe a couple more of the more sought after Eagles.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I buy them. I like the Weinman design. Not my first choice for silver bullions because Canadian SML has more silver at a less expensive price. I buy bullion and it is a gorgeous coin. This year I bought 5 when the ASE came out because it's the last year of the reverse design and by the way, if you haven't checked out the new reverse design, it is very impressive. I'll lay away another 5 next year. I just got an emergency strike ASE from Philadelphia MS69. That one is also going up in the future. I may have to get a few more Other than that one a year is good for me. I buy foreign bullion especially if it's four nine fine. Almost always under ASE prices. I tend to buy about 9 silver coins from all over the world the world with two exceptions. I don't buy coins from China or South Africa. I haven't seen Russian bullion, but wouldn't buy them either. But the rest of the world is fair game! Awesome write-up on a great coin series! Gotta love the pretty ladies! Hope your wife develops interests in other coins too! Will look forward to hearing about that.


Level 7

They are legal tender. The President who signed the bill was Ronald Regan. The burnished coin series was limited in mintage and missed a few years. There were satin eagles. Special eagles.. There are books on the ASE. I recommend you buy one. It will show you all the different ASE out there. There are reverse proofs Enhanced anniversary eagles congratulations eagle's more than I can list. I was lucky to get the 2019 reverse. MS 69. To me a 69 & 70 are so close. There the same. Sometimes you just can't tell!. Thanks.

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