The United States Mint first released the American Silver Eagle on November 24, 1986. As the official bullion of the U.S., this shiny coin was struck only in the one troy ounce size. Since their launch in 1986, American Eagle Silver coins have been produced and sold in both proof and bullion finishes. Today, Silver Eagles are among the leading bullion coin investment products in the country.
The Silver Eagle was inspired from the “Walking Liberty” designed by Adolph A. Weinman. Weinman originally used the design on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar coin of the U.S. from 1916 to 1947. This iconic design quickly gained popularity in the country and is still one of the most beloved designs of any U.S. coinage of modern times.
The reverse side of the Silver Eagle portrays a heraldic eagle behind a shield. Designed by John Mercanti, the eagle grasps an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left, echoing the Great Seal of the U.S. Above the eagle are 13 five-pointed stars, which embody the original Thirteen Colonies. As the national bird, the eagle has appeared on all official seals of the U.S.
The U.S. Mint certifies the Silver Eagle content, weight and purity. While the face value of this coin is one dollar, its metal value is far more valuable. Guaranteed to contain one troy ounce of 99.9 percent pure silver, this coin is worth between $26-40 dollars depending on the current market. Collectors can purchase Silver Eagles on our website or directly from the U.S. Mint.
In 2006, the U.S. Mint added another member to the American Silver Eagle family, the uncirculated version. The term “uncirculated” refers to the process by which the coin is made. Although it looks similar to Silver Eagle bullion coin, the uncirculated coin is distinguished by a mint mark, which indicates its production facility, and the use of burnished coin blanks, which are hand-fed into specially adapted coining presses one at a time.
Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.