silver eagle american flag

The American Silver Eagle

By: Adhitri Sethuraghavan

The American Silver Eagle is a silver bullion coin made in the United States of America. It was first released on November 24, 1986. The coin has one dollar face value and is guaranteed to be composed of 99.9% pure silver one troy ounce. There are proof and uncirculated versions of these coins available to collectors.

These coins in their bullion, uncirculated version was first minted in 1986. They were minted from 1986 to 2008, 2010 to present-day for the proof version and 2006 to 2008, 2011 to present-day for the uncirculated coin. The first American Silver Eagle coin was minted in San Francisco. The coin is now being produced at the Philadelphia mint, San Francisco mint and the West Point mint. 

The coin design has the Walking Liberty on the obverse, and the design of a heritage eagle with shield and 13 five-pointed stars on the reverse. This obverse for a Walking Liberty was made by Adolph A. Weinman and the reverse design was made by John Mercanti. The obverse has the year of minting, the word LIBERTY, and the phrase IN GOD WE TRUST. As of 2021, a new reverse design of a bald eagle landing on a branch has been introduced; it was designed by Emily Damstra. This is much like the reverse of the 1971 Eisenhower dollar coin. The reverse is inscribed with the phrases UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1 OZ. FINE SILVER~ONE DOLLAR and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

The Liberty Coin Act of 1985 authorized the issue of the American Silver Eagle bullion program. It was implemented by President Reagan to dispose of excess silver reserves the U.S. had through the National Defense Stockpile. Bullion Silver Eagle coins do not have mintmarks.

From 1986 to 1998, coins were produced at the San Francisco Mint. From 1999 to 2000, these coins were produced at the Philadelphia Mint and West Point Mint. The American Silver Eagle coins are famous among collectors and hobbyists. Over 10 million Silver Eagles have been graded by Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) and over four million by Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS). Given the interest among collectors, a new reverse design of the American Silver Eagle was released this year. 

Special collecting books are available for this type of coin as it helps keep the set organized and protected. These coins easily develop spots and toning when exposed to the environment. The CoinWeek website states that an MS69 American Silver Eagle set can be put together for $1,300-$1,600 and a PF69 set for $2,000+. The Mint State 69 is a near perfect coin.

The coin at the top of the article is a 1992 American Silver Eagle coin in my collection. According to “A Guide Book of United States Coins,” the estimated value of a 1992-P American Silver Eagle is worth $31 or more in Uncirculated (MS+) Mint Condition. My coin has toning and only recently I put it in a coin flip.


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