Coins To Collect in 2013
In 1986, the US mint began striking gold and silver bullion coins and it had been quite a while since they had done this. But we’re not interested in the gold bullion coins in this episode, we’re going to be talking about the silver coins, or the American silver eagles.
The American silver eagles real origins began in January 1985 when House of Representative member Frank Annunzio introduced a bill authorizing the minting of commemorative coins for the centennial of the Statue of Liberty. This bill was called the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Commemorative Coin Act. The bill passed the house in March 1985. The real creation of our wonderful American silver eagle came when the bill was sent to the Senate Republican Senator James A McClure from Idaho introduced an amendment to the bill in June 1985. This amendment was called the Liberty Coin Act. The Liberty Coin Act authorized the Secretary of the Mint to issue to the public $1 silver bullion coins.
These coins were not intended for circulation. They were primarily for bullion purposes. But I find a huge gap between times since the last time the US mint made a silver dollar and the last one was the peace dollar and it was issued up until 1935. So you had this huge gap in time, 1935 to 1986 for another real silver dollar. The American silver eagle kind of has a hodgepodge on the design factor. On the obverse is something old and on the reverse is something new. On the obverse is depicted Adolph A Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar design. Now the Walking Liberty half dollar was in circulation from 1916 until 1947. Also located on the obverse are the words “Liberty” across the top, the mint year a the bottom, and the motto, “In God We Trust.”
The reverse shows an eagle with arrows in his right talon and an olive branch in his left. A shield actually drapes the chest of the Eagle. The reserve was designed by US mint sculptor John M Mercanti. Mercanti’s eagle is based on a commemorative gold issue he designed several years back. Located in the lower part of the coin are the words, “1oz Fine Silver – One Dollar.”
The mint mark for the American Silver Eagle is located underneath the olive branch. Above the eagle are thirteen stars. Across the top of the reverse of the coin is United States of America. Now, lets talk about some of the specifics of the American silver eagle. The coin itself has been minted from 1986 until the present. It’s 99.9% silver with a very small amount of copper added to it or its .9993 silver with .0007 copper. And it’s actually one ounce of silver. It’s weigh is 31.101 grams. It’s available to collectors and also bullion as a proof uncirculated and burnished uncirculated. The American silver eagle mintages can kind of be confusing to a lot of different people because they’ve swapped out the different places where they’ve made them.
Now, the proof coins were made from 1986 until 1992 at the San Francisco mint. From 1993 until 2000 they were made at the Philadelphia mint. And from 2000 until currently here in 2009 proofs have been made at the West Point facility. Now let’s talk about the uncirculated coins because they can get even more confusing.
From 1986 until 1988 the Philadelphia mint only made the uncirculated bullion American silver eagles. From 1989 until 2000, both West Point and the Philadelphia mint were making the uncirculated American silver eagles. And since there is no mint mark on the uncirculated coins, it’s impossible to tell whether one coin came from West Point or one came from Philadelphia. But from 2000 until currently in 2009 West Point is the only facility making the uncirculated American silver eagle. Now, West Point is also making the uncirculated burnished coins.
The burnished coins are a little different because they do have a mint mark underneath the olive branch and it’s normally stamped as W. They’ve been making these since 2006.
Let’s move on to talking about collector coins because the American silver eagle series hasn’t been out that long so it’s really hard to determine what will be a collector an what will not. Well, let’s start off with some heavy hitters. And I want to thank APMEX again for sending these coins over for this because without them doing this, I would not have these to show on the show. We’ll talk a little more about APMEX at the end of the show. In 1995 the United States mint decided to release a 10th anniversary proof set commemorating all the American eagles.
The outs, the gold eagle, the factional amounts, and the American silver eagle. But all these coins were minted at the West Point facility. Looking back, all the proof coins that were made for the American silver eagles were made in the Philadelphia mint in 1995. And what did this do. This created a very rare coin out of this because the US mint was only offering the 1995 W proof in this commemorative set. And they did it for about $1000 when they came out and they went very quickly because they only made about 30,000 sets. So this created an extremely rare coin and it’s the most expensive American eagle out there because now I think you can’t find one for less than $4000.
The last of the high end collectible type coins that you might want to look at as a collector is the 2006 20th anniversary of the American eagle program. Why wasn’t this in 2005 since the 10th anniversary was in 1995. Well what they did is they said that the 2006 is when the coin was actually released and they used the 1995 for when the program was actually started.
They make it kind of confusing. But it’s the US government and we might as well expect as much from them. But in the 2006 20th anniversary set, there are three coins.
Three silver American eagles. The proof, a reverse proof, and it also has a burnished uncirculated coin. The really nice thing about American silver eagles is they’re very affordable for collectors and also bullion people that just want to buy bullion to have. Each coin is guaranteed by the United States government, which you do not see that on other silver bullion coins out there.
There have been 180 million Univer States American silver eagle made. That might seem like a lot, but considering the fact that some of these circulated coins go into the billions, it’s really not that much. And they’re also really affordable. Anyone can collect them. You can even get mint state seventy American eagles at a very reasonable price.
Collecting American silver eagles uncirculated you definitely want to go with the lower mintage. Like 1994 uncirculated. They made about 4, almost 4.5 million coins. In 1996 they made about 3.6 million. In 97 they made 4.2 million.
For bullion purposes, 2009 is a great way to go. 2008 coins they actually kind of ran out but they’re still available and they made a whole bunch of those but they’re great to have.
The US mint when they sell these, they don’t sell them directly to collectors, just the bullion coins. What they do is you’ll have to purchase them from a dealer like APMEX. They come in tubes of 20 or you can buy them singly. And if you buy 500 coins they come in this giant thing called a monster green box. Now if you’re like me, I like to collect the American silver eagle proofs because I like the proof coins.
You’re going to want to look for a low mintage on the proof coins. 1994 is going to be a key date. They made about 372,000 that year. Also, 1993 they made about 403,000 I think. 1996 is another low mintage. And 1995 is another low mintage. And of course there’s that 1995 West Point one which they only made about 30,000 sets of those but those might be out of your price range. Well guys, we’ve talked all about the American silver eagle.
We’ve talked about the history and I hope I have enlightened you as to the history behind this coin because there’s not much out there. It’s a relatively new coin but it’s great to know the history behind something when you’re holding this beautiful coin in your hand.
If you are thinking of starting a coin collection plewase stop by at www.towermint.com to view our complete range of bespoke coins and medals including The Queen’s DIamond Jubliee coin.