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The Forgotten Eagle

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Mokiechan

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There has been a tremendous amount of excitement associated with the West Point Mint in recent months due to the release of the FIRST EVER W Mint Lincoln Cents and the release, into the general economy, of 10 Million W ATB Quarters.  But there is a largely forgotten W mint product that has been slowly dwindling in mintage.
Back in 2006, the 20th anniversary year of the silver eagle, the mint started producing, what they describe on their website as the American Silver Eagle One Ounce Uncirculated Coin.  This rather generic title implies the coin is no different than the silver eagles you can by in bulk at your local coin dealer.  Why would someone pay a premium for something they can get, in bulk, for spot plus a small %?  

What makes these Silver Eagles so special is their Burnished finish.  Burnished coins have a soft matte finish that harkens back to the Matte Proofs of yesteryear but without the double strike. To produce a burnished finish, the silver blanks are cleaned then polished in a drum, similar to a rock tumbler.  By doing this, the planchets are smoothed and all surface scratches, blemishes, etc. are removed.  This process also gives each planchet the trademark soft matte finish, which remains true after the coins are struck.    The 2019 Burnished Eagles have been released.  I think this special issue deserves attention for both its beautiful appearance as well as its increasing rarity.   Consider buying one for your collection before the coin community catches on.

In 2006 the mint sold 468,000 of these Uncirculated Eagles and mintage peaked the following year but has been in decline since:

2007- 621,333

2008- 533,757

2009 - None Produced

2010- None Produced

2011- 409,776

2012- 226,120

2013- 222,091

2014- 253,169

2015- 223,879

2016- 216,501

2017-176,739

2018- 131,935

2019 -  Still Lower??

burnished eagle.png

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My friend I have been collecting the set since it started. I love the different look of the Burnished coins. I was waiting for them to appear in 2018 it got to December. I knew the mintage would be low. As you see in the list it is the lowest. Now the problem is what is the mint going to do with the rest they ran out of time to sell . If there released the value will drop. So value being a part of collecting I hope they keep  them. Thanks on a great underestimated set of beautiful egles. Mike.

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You're right, Mokie.....the Burnished Eagles kind of have been flying under the radar for a while now.  I've often wondered why they haven't caught on like the Proofs have.  I used to think that it was because you could get Proofs for every year and not the Burnished as they started in 2006, but 2009 killed that theory of mine!  But I think the US Mint has sadly undertaken an action which will hurt these coins more.......the reintroduction of S mint Proof ASE's alongside the W Proofs.  I think that for many collectors who buy two ASE's a year that have to make a choice will choose the S Mint Proofs over the Burnished.  But there does seem to be some sleeper potential with the Burnished ones.  But I'll miss out even if there is.....too many Faustina the Younger coins out there for me to get!

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5 hours ago, Mohawk said:

the Burnished Eagles kind of have been flying under the radar for a while now.  I've often wondered why they haven't caught on like the Proofs have. 

Mohawk, I think it is the thing you alluded to in your complete response, the Burnished Eagles occupy a weird niche between the desirable proofs and the common bullion eagles.   They are poorly presented by the Mint and they remain largely unknown.  I took a few of my older ones to a dealer in the Pittsburgh area and he wanted to offer me silver spot for them, he had know idea that they were a premium product.  But, of course, he is also the one that did not  know the difference between a Newfoundland 20 Cent piece and a Canadian 20 Cent piece so maybe he is a bad example.

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10 hours ago, MIKE BYRNE said:

My friend I have been collecting the set since it started. I love the different look of the Burnished coins. I was waiting for them to appear in 2018 it got to December. I knew the mintage would be low. As you see in the list it is the lowest. Now the problem is what is the mint going to do with the rest they ran out of time to sell . If there released the value will drop. So value being a part of collecting I hope they keep  them. Thanks on a great underestimated set of beautiful egles. Mike.

I am with you Mike, I think the finish is more attractive than the proof finish and I wish more people knew about them. 

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46 minutes ago, Mokiechan said:

Mohawk, I think it is the thing you alluded to in your complete response, the Burnished Eagles occupy a weird niche between the desirable proofs and the common bullion eagles.   They are poorly presented by the Mint and they remain largely unknown.  I took a few of my older ones to a dealer in the Pittsburgh area and he wanted to offer me silver spot for them, he had know idea that they were a premium product.  But, of course, he is also the one that did not  know the difference between a Newfoundland 20 Cent piece and a Canadian 20 Cent piece so maybe he is a bad example.

That they do....they're kind of a weird hybrid, somewhat like the SMS sets of the 1960's, but in a different way.  And we all know how the SMS sets were received at the time.  And the marketing could also be a problem, you're right.  After all, they did decide to make two different proof ASE's now but not two different Burnished.  And, one last thing.....WOW about that dealer.  I don't know how much business I would do with him but........he could be a cherrypicker's dream with that kind of knowledge base!

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15 hours ago, Mohawk said:

That they do....they're kind of a weird hybrid, somewhat like the SMS sets of the 1960's, but in a different way.  And we all know how the SMS sets were received at the time.  And the marketing could also be a problem, you're right.  After all, they did decide to make two different proof ASE's now but not two different Burnished.  And, one last thing.....WOW about that dealer.  I don't know how much business I would do with him but........he could be a cherrypicker's dream with that kind of knowledge base!

I started to patronize his shop when I was 10, His Sons run it now but he still shows up too help out.  Now that I think about it, Dad didn't know the 20 cent difference, His son had know idea about the burnished Eagles.  Even though I was gone from PA for almost 40 years, the business is still doing well.  

Edited by Mokiechan

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21 hours ago, Mokiechan said:

I am with you Mike, I think the finish is more attractive than the proof finish and I wish more people knew about them. 

I agree with that thought as well.....the burnished finish is very nice, especially on the 2006, 2007 and 2008 issues.  Those are some good looking coins for sure.  The first three years seem to have a deeper, more satiny finish to them that's very appealing.  To me, they almost look like matte proofs.

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I was watching Rick Tomaska. I don't buy many of his items are out of my budget. However he was selling eight of them . Eight not even the whole series for 2,500 dollars. That has to tell you something. Actually it was more I just rounded it  off. He also loves the finish. He knows more than I do. I just know what I like. Burnished I like. Thanks. Mike

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