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Silver Eagles (1986-Date)

The American Silver Eagle was first issued in 1986 and since then more than 200 million silver eagles have been struck. The Silver Eagle is a very collectible modern issue and it is the most popular category in the NGC Registry. With the recent rise in silver spot prices the coin’s popularity has skyrocketed—ten of millions are struck each year. The American Silver Eagle was the first and, until 2010, the only silver bullion coin issued by the United States. The desired sale of silver from the Defense National Stockpile was the impetus for the creation of the Silver Eagle. After the sale was postponed indefinitely at the behest of politicians from Idaho, a major silver producing state, several proposals were introduced to dispose of the silver through bullion coins issued by the Mint. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Commemorative Coin Act of 1985 contained an amendment that authorized the sale of .999 fine silver one ounce bullion coins. The silver was to be purchased by the Defense National Stockpile, but by 2002 it was clear that the stockpile would soon be depleted. The Support the American Eagle Silver Bullion Program Act of 2002 authorized the Mint to purchase silver on the open market as needed. Uncirculated versions, with the exception of the W-mintmarked “burnished” issues (2006-2008), are sold through the Mint’s Authorized Purchasers programs. Proofs can be purchased directly from the Mint by collectors. From 1986 to 1998 the bullion versions were struck at the San Francisco Mint, in 1999 and 2000 they were struck at Philadelphia and West Point, and from 2001 to 2010 they were struck solely at West Point. Due to increased demand in 2011, the Mint began production at San Francisco to supplement the West Point output. When received in strapped boxes of 500 coins (which specify the Mint), NGC will note on the holder “Struck at San Francisco Mint.” In recent years mintages have numbered in the tens of millions. In 2010 the Mint began issuing five ounce America the Beautiful .999 fine silver bullion coins. These coins can be found under the section titled, “America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Coins”.

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