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American Silver Eagles (1986-2015) BU / NGC / PGCS + Proofs
Silver collectors and investors alike appreciate the rarity and value of the Silver American Eagle. Read on for information about the coin’s versions, design, history, and present outlook.
Uncirculated vs. Certified Silver Eagles
One common question we receive about our American Silver Eagles is “what is the difference between Uncirculated and Certified Silver Eagles?” Uncirculated coins are shipped to us from the Mint, still in their original packaging. They are always going to be in great shape, and will never have been touched by human hands prior to your order.
Certified Silver Eagles are coins which have been submitted for grading, and are certified with a certain grade by a professional coin rating company like NGC or PCGS. These certified coins have premiums far above normal uncirculated coins, as they are in outstanding shape and retain more value than a loose bullion coin.
The design of the Silver Eagle is one of the most easily identifiable in the world. The Walking Liberty is featured on the obverse side of the coin. This particular illustration was created by Adolph Weinman. An interesting note is that the Walking Liberty was not actually created and used exclusively or even originally for the Silver Eagle. Instead, the coin took this moniker from a coin that was first released nearly 70 years earlier, the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. The text of the obverse includes “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and the year of issue.
The reverse side of the Eagle is just as bold, but does not feature the same aesthetic complexities. A powerful eagle with wings spread out, along with 13 stars for the original 13 states of the United States are the identifiers of a traditional American Eagle coin. Text on the reverse side includes “United States of America,” “1 oz Fine Silver,” and “One Dollar.” Worth noting, however, is that for the 2015 American Silver Eagle there have recently been talks about a possible design change. This would only affect the coin’s reverse side and no new design has been approved yet.
The Silver Eagle comes in two primary forms, bullion and Proof. Bullion coins are by far the most abundant and also the most affordable type of Eagle. Unless otherwise noted, it is safe to assume that any Silver Eagle you run across is bullion. These coins are often times listed as Brilliant Uncirculated.
The more collectible counterpart to bullion Eagles are the Proof coins. Proof coins carry a much higher price tag, are much rarer, and are designed with collectors in mind. Though some investors do buy Proof coins, they tend to be owned primarily by collectors. A Proof coin is more shiny than a standard Eagle because it is struck twice, making its detail more fine.
The original intent of the Silver Eagles was actually to release an abundance of silver into general circulation. As the United States released these coins, the price of silver would go on a downward trend in the mid 1980s, with the reason being the sudden influx of silver in the secondary markets. The production of Silver Eagles in 1987 was roughly double that of any other year from 1986 to 1999. In 2000, production again was ramped up to numbers that more closely mirrored the run of 11.5 million coins in 1987.
Since 2000, the amount of silver coins produced by the US Mint has increased steadily, with new peaks being set or matched from 2008-2010. While between 5 and 10 million coins were produced from the 80’s forward, 2008 saw 20 million, 2009 had over 30 million released, and 2010 surpassed 34 million.
As each year passes, the supply and demand for American Silver Eagles continues to increase. One of the primary reasons for the increase in mintage for the coin has been economic troubles around the world. As recessions have gripped the United States and many other countries, many new buyers and investors of Silver Eagles have been created as investors rush to precious metals as a safe haven from economic worry.