The U.S. Mint began minting the American Silver Eagle dollar in 1986, and went on to release a new issue in the series in every year that followed. The American Silver Eagle is ideally priced to allow the general public an affordable and easy way to invest in silver while giving coin collectors something to look forward to each year. This coin is now the official silver bullion coin of the USA.
To learn about specific year’s mintages or special editions, click the links below:
- 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 Silver Eagles
- 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 Silver Eagles
- 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 Silver Eagles
- 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 Silver Eagles
- 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Silver Eagles
History and Form of the Silver Eagle
The American Silver Eagle coin was original incepted as part of the U.S. government’s plan to sell off the silver stores within the Defense National Stockpile. The initial silver used in the coins in the line was taken from these stockpiles. The stockpiles were depleted by 2002, and all coins minted after that date were made using silver that was purchased on the open market.
Each coin in the series is struck from one troy ounce of silver, and the coins are legal tender with a face value of $1. However, the silver value of the coins is used to establish trading value and sale price. The U.S. government guarantees the purity and weight of the U.S. Silver Eagle dollar coins, and these coins are the only coins on the market to have this distinction. The coins are also the only silver coin investments that are allowed in individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
The obverse of the Silver Eagle dollar features a design by Adolf Weinman that was originally used for U.S. half-dollars that were issued from 1916-47 that is known as “Walking Liberty” along with the motto “In God We Trust” and the word “Liberty”.
The reverse of the Silver Eagle coin was designed by John Mercanti, a U.S. Mint engraver. The design features the heraldic eagle and breast shield. The eagle is holding an olive branch in its left talon and arrows in its right talon. The reverse also features the words “United States of America”, the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum”, the precious metal content, and the coin’s denomination.
Buying Silver Eagles
Bullion silver Eagles are not sold directly to the public by the U.S. Mint. Instead, the U.S. Mint distributes the coins through a network of authorized purchasers. Authorized purchasers must have a net worth of $5 million or more and are subject to annual audits. For this reason, purchasers are usually banks, precious metal dealers, brokerages, and coin dealers as well as other wholesalers, and they purchase lots that number 25K pieces.
The coins are shipped out to authorized purchasers in plastic tubes that are packed twenty-five to the box and that hold twenty coins each for a total of 500 coins in each box. The coins are priced at the daily market value of silver plus $2.00. Both burnished uncirculated coins and proof coins are also available, at respective premiums.
Collectors can purchase the proof coins directly from the U.S. Mint. These proof coins are available in coin shops and through online dealers and auctions. However, if you are not buying in bulk, you will typically find the best deals by going through the Mint for purchase.