Silver Eagles

Silver Eagles (1986 – Present) 

Starting in 1986 with the Gold and Silver Eagle, these coins have remained a staple of U.S. Mint offerings and a favorite among both coin collectors and investors. Silver American Eagle coins are the only Silver bullion coin whose weight, content, and purity are all guaranteed by the United States Government. 

All Silver Eagles feature the historic Walking Liberty design on the obverse side of the coin, this design was also featured on the half-dollar coin from 1916 to 1947. Designed by Adolph A. Weinman, the Walking Liberty design is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful designs ever to grace American coinage. Silver American Eagles feature this same iconic design on the obverse side each year, making them unique among other Silver coins which often feature new and changing designs. 

Silver Eagles are popular not only for their beauty but also for their Silver content and status as legal tender. Silver American Eagles are the official Silver bullion coin of the United States and are an easy way to invest in Silver. Silver Eagles are also IRA eligible, making them a popular choice for Silver investors. 

History of American Eagles 

The American Eagle coin program came about after the reinstitution of private Gold ownership in the United States. Before this point, from the time of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6192 in 1933, private Gold ownership had been banned by the U.S. government. There were a few exceptions, such as Gold coins with numismatic value being exempt. In contrast, industrial Gold and jewelry were allowed, permitting up to five ounces of Gold bullion coins for each person. But such restrictions were severe and had the effect of drastically curtailing U.S. private Gold holdings. 

President Gerald Ford lifted these restrictions on December 31, 1974, and soon after that point, the U.S. Mint began exploring programs to offer Treasury-owned Precious Metals to the public. The first was the failed American Arts Gold Medallion program, which ran from 1980 to 1984. In 1985 Congress passed a law allowing for the striking of Gold coins, followed rapidly by another act authorizing Silver. 1986 saw the first new Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins minted, followed by Platinum struck in 1997 and Palladium in 2017. 

Plans for the Silver Eagle came about because the Defense National Stockpile had been growing to a point where there was no strategic need for that much Silver. Efforts to sell it impacted mining interests, and the government could not break the deadlock. Finally, the Liberty Coin Act of June 21, 1985, authorized a bullion coin. At the time, the Silver came from the stockpile until 2002, when other sources were allowed. 

These bullion coins were initially struck at the Philadelphia Mint but have been struck at the West Point Mint since 2000 for bullion strikes, with proofs following in 2001. The U.S. Mint expanded its Eagles series to include burnished coins in 2006 and bullion coins at the San Francisco Mint in 2012. 

Significance & Impact of Silver Eagles 

The Silver Eagle has been a force in the Precious Metals market for over three decades. It was the first Silver bullion coin from the United States Mint and remains one of the most popular Silver coins on the market today. 

The Silver Eagle was not without its critics when it debuted in 1986. Some saw it as too similar to other American Eagles released in the prior years, while others thought the prices were too high given the state of the Silver market at the time. However, these criticisms did little to damper the collector and investor interest in the new coin. The Silver Eagle became one of the most successful coin programs in U.S. Mint history, with more than 500 million coins sold since its inception. 

The Silver Eagle has profoundly impacted the Precious Metals market, and its success has paved the way for other Silver bullion coins such as the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf and the Chinese Silver Panda. The Silver Eagle has also been a driving force behind Silver ETFs such as the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) and the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD). These funds have enabled investors to access Precious Metals without purchasing or storing physical coins or bars. 

The Silver Eagle has significantly impacted the Precious Metals market and remains one of the most popular Silver coins today. 

Numismatic Value 

Silver American Eagle coins were initially created for their bullion value but have also grown to hold a collectible and numismatic value once they are graded. Certified Silver Eagles are coins that have been authenticated, graded, and encapsulated by a third-party grading service such as PCGS or NGC. These services provide an unbiased assessment of a coin’s condition and assign it a grade on a scale from 1 to 70. A coin with a grade of 60 or higher is considered to be in Mint State condition, which is the highest grade a coin can receive. 

The condition is the most important factor in determining a Silver Eagle’s numismatic value. A coin in pristine condition will always be worth more than a coin that has been circulated. The second most important factor is the year of the coin. Some years are more popular than others, which can impact a coin’s value, like the 1995-W Proof is a key date for Silver Eagles and the regular issue for the 1996 Silver Eagle. 

The Silver Eagle has a long and storied history, and its numismatic value will continue to grow as more collectors take an interest in the coin. It is an essential part of any well-rounded investment portfolio. 


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