The American Silver Eagle may just be the most iconic Bullion coins ever produced. In 1985 Senator McClure created an amendment known as the “Liberty Coin Act” to bill H.R. 47. Included in the bill were instructions for the US Mint to produce a national coin from our silver stockpile.
The Defense National Stockpile was created after WWII to ensure we had enough important materials for our military and industries at times of national emergency. A good amount of the silver was used for advanced Uranium enrichment associated with the Manhattan Project, but that’s a story for another day.
In late 1986 the first Silver Eagle was struck at the San Francisco Mint. It’s debut year saw a mintage of nearly 5.4 Million coins. The coin has been produced every year since then at 3 different Mints. San Francisco was the first, then came Philadelphia and lastly was the West Point Mint.
The obverse of the Eagle depicts the infamous “Walking Liberty”. The design was taken from the 1916-1947 US Half Dollar coin.
The reverse of this coins shows the silver eagle behind a shield, grasping an olive branch in one talon and arrows in the other. The 13 stars above the Eagle represent the original colonies.
All Silver Eagle coins from the US Mint are 1 Troy ounce. A troy ounce is 31.1 grams as opposed to an Avoirdupois ounce which is 28 grams.
Up until 2011 only 1 type of bullion coin was produced. After that they started with different Mints, First Day Issues and many other iterations of the series.
The rarest coin in the series is the 1995-W Proof, with a mintage of only 30,125 pieces. The highest mintage coin was 2015 at over 47 Million.
It comes with a face value of $1 US Dollar. I wish they were only $1 but they are closer to $20.
Something really interesting I just found the other day. 2007 marked the last year the dies were done by hand. Starting in 2008 they were done by laser. It is very subtle but you can see a difference in the font and also the tilde between the SILVER and ONE at the bottom. Here are examples of each year.