Posted on April 07, 2017
When the American Silver Eagle coin was first struck by the United States Mint on October 29, 1986, then-Secretary of the Treasure James A. Baker III was present during the striking ceremony and made a poignant remark that he “didn’t need a pick and shovel to start the San Francisco Silver Rush of 1986.”
Those very first American Silver Eagle coins in both bullion and proof were struck at the San Francisco Mint facility for the first several years of availability. The bullion American Silver Eagle was produced in San Francisco from 1986 until 1998, with a two-year striking (1999 and 2000) at the Philadelphia Mint before shifting to the West Point Mint from 2001 onward.
However, Proof American Silver Eagle coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint for a much shorter period of time. The proof coins were produced there only until 1992, and shifted to the Philadelphia Mint from 1993 until 2000. Since 2001, the Proof Silver Eagle has also been produced at the West Point Mint.
For 2017, a special series of standard-issue 2017 Proof American Silver Eagle coins are being struck at the San Francisco Mint and feature the “S” mint mark. These coins are available from the United States Mint as part of the Congratulations Set. This coin set, available since 2013, has typically included the standard Proof Silver Eagle with a “W” mint mark. Mintage for these sets has declined since the 18,347 sold in 2013, falling to just 2,374 in 2016.
The addition of a special S Proof American Silver Eagle, however, is expected to change demand for the Congratulations Set, as buyers look to purchase these coins not only for gifts, but also to keep for themselves because of the rare inclusion of the S Proof Silver Eagle. The United States Mint is confident in the demand, because it has set the maximum mintage for the set at 75,000 coins.
The 2017-S Proof American Silver Eagle Coins will also be available to purchase as part of the 2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set. No mintage limit has been established for that collection, but last year it had sales of 39,166, so you can expect the maximum mintage for this year to be set above that mark given the inclusion of the S Proof Silver Eagle.
The 2017-S Proof American Silver Eagle coins from the United States Mint are designed for gift-giving occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, retirement, graduations, or birthdays. The set features a presentation folder that is white with black text, and includes wrap-around streamers printed on the design with silver, black, and gold. The front of the sleeve for the set reads ‘Congratulations!” “2017 United States Mint Congratulations Set,” and “American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coin.”
When opened, the set features the new S Proof American Silver Eagle on the right-hand side with its obverse design of Walking Liberty visible. There is space on the left-hand side of the sleeve to write a personal message.
Close the presentation packaging and you’ll see the reverse side of the American Silver Eagle coin, complete with the “S” mint mark to the bottom-left of the Heraldic Eagle of the United States. A Certificate of Authenticity is printed on the back along with the official seal of the US Department of the Treasury and the coin specifications.
As mentioned earlier, the 2017-S Proof American Silver Eagle coin is an exciting surprise offering from the United States Mint this year. It is the first time a coin other than the standard W Proof American Silver Eagle has featured in the Congratulations Set, and the first time a standard S Proof American Silver Eagle coin has been struck since 1992.
However, this is not the first time since 1992 the San Francisco Mint has resumed a role in the production of the nation’s official silver bullion collection. In 2011, a Burnished American Silver Eagle coin was produced at the San Francisco Mint for inclusion in the American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin Set.
In 2012, the San Francisco American Silver Eagle Two-Coin Proof Set was struck to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco Mint. The set featured a 2012 Proof American Silver Eagle coin and a 2012-S Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle coin. Additional S Proof American Silver Eagles that year were included in the Making American History Coin and Currency Set to celebrate the 220th anniversary of the Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s 150th anniversary.
As for the bullion American Silver Eagle coin, the San Francisco Mint began conducting trial strikings of the coin in March 2011 as preparation for the resumption of full production later in the year. Since then, the San Francisco Mint has regularly provided supplemental production capacity for the American Silver Eagle to ensure the US Mint system meets the high demand for those coins.
If demand for the S Proof American Silver Eagle is anything like that of the 2017-W Proof American Silver Eagle, these coins could sell out fast. The 2017 Proof Silver Eagles went on sale at the US Mint on March 23rd, and more than 233,000 sold in the first day.