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A Primer on American Silver Eagles

We regularly help customers understand the differences between certain types of American Silver Eagle coins as the coin is one of the more affordable and popular ways to invest in precious metals. Knowing the difference in strike types, which versions have a mint mark and so on are just a few of the important things you need to keep in mind while selecting your next American Silver Eagle for your collection or portfolio.

Let’s start with the things each type of Silver Eagle has in common. Whether a bullion coin, proof coin or uncirculated coin, all American Silver Eagles are only available in one ounce sizes, are composed of 99.9% silver, weight 1 Troy ounce and have a face value of $1. A small amount of copper is added to each coin to improve its durability.

American Silver Eagle Bullion

An American Silver Eagle bullion coin is the version of the American Silver Eagle purchased by those intending to invest in silver. Each American Silver Eagle bullion coin does not include a mintmark, is not sold directly to consumers by the U.S. Mint and has a value dependent on the market price of silver.

  • Parentheses such as 2013-(S) means the coin was minted in San Francisco but does not bear a mintmark
  • Minted in San Francisco from 1986-1998 and 2011-2013
  • Minted in Philadelphia and West Point from 1999-2000
  • Minted in West Point since 2001 with Philadelphia supplementing production

American Silver Eagle Proofs

An American Silver Eagle proof is a collector version of the official bullion coin, meaning it would not be regularly purchased for investment purposes. The proof in its current form has been minted in West Point since 2010. You’ll be able to confirm this by its “W” mintmark. No American Silver Eagle proofs were minted in 2009.

  • Minted in San Francisco ("S") from 1986-1992
  • Minted in Philadelphia ("P") from 1993-2000
  • Minted in West Point from 2001-2008
  • Minted in West Point since 2010

A proof coin is made through a special minting process with burnished coin banks and presses that are fitted with very high-quality dies. The proof coin is struck multiple times to bring out all the details in the coin’s images, leaving the background with a mirror shine. Once this process is complete, each proof coin goes through careful inspection for impurities before being placed in a protective plastic case inside of a satin display case and finished off with a certificate of authenticity.

Uncirculated (Burnished) American Silver Eagles

An uncirculated collector (burnished) version of the American Silver Eagle is made with high-quality blank coin faces and special dies used solely for uncirculated coins. Similar to the proof version, an uncirculated American Silver Eagle features a “W” mintmark as it is only made at the West Point U.S. Mint. Like the proof version of the coin, an uncirculated American Silver Eagle would predominantly be purchased for numismatic or collecting reasons. No burnished American Silver Eagles were minted in 2009 or 2010.

  • Minted in West Point from 2006-2008
  • Minted in West Point since 2011

Knowing the differences in the types of American Silver Eagles available for purchase will help you better understand your investment and numismatic options. Should you have further questions about our selection of American Silver Eagles, don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable staff!