Proof American Silver Eagle Coin spotlighted on black

10 Commonly Asked Questions About Silver American Eagles


Written by John Rothans

Sep 17, 2018

Are Silver American Eagle Coins pure silver? How much are Silver Eagles? Why buy them? If you have questions about one of the U.S. Mint’s most popular coin programs, U.S. Money Reserve has answers. We're America's Gold Authority®, but we also know a thing or two about silver. Check out our easy to follow Silver Eagle Q&A to learn more about one of the world’s leading silver bullion coins that is authorized U.S. legal tender and fully backed by the U.S. government for its silver content, weight, and purity. You'll never look at this beautiful bullion coin the same way again.

Silver American Eagle Coin Q&A

1. What is the Silver American Eagle coin?

The Silver American Eagle is an official silver coin of the United States, first minted in 1986 after an amendment in the Liberty Coin Act of 1985. It has proven immensely popular, with tens of millions minted in the years since.

There are three main types of Silver Eagles: bullion, proof and burnished (uncirculated).

Silver Eagle Coin Types
Coin Bullion Silver American Eagle Coin Proof Silver American Eagle Coin Burnished Silver American Eagle Coin
Minting Blanks are “punched” from strips of silver, then cleaned, polished, and struck only once with their design Hand-polished silver blanks are specially treated, struck at least twice, and then carefully packaged to preserve their exceptional finish Burnished silver blanks are hand-loaded into the press and struck once
Mint Mark Not Shown W (on coin's reverse) W (on coin's reverse)
Finish Uniform surface finish that’s neither very matte or very shiny; appears more satin with a slight frost Frosted foreground with glamorous shine, highly-detailed design, and a mirror-like background Soft, matte-like finish; some shine, but not as vibrant as a proof coin
Grade N/A PR-69/PR-70 SP-69/SP-70
Mintages Typically produced in much higher mintages than proof coins, making them easier to find Typically produced in lower mintages than bullion, and not produced at all in some years Typically produced less often and in much lower mintages than both bullion and proof counterparts

2. Are Silver Eagle coins pure silver?

Silver American Eagle coins contain one ounce of 99.9% pure silver plus small amounts of copper. Copper is an alloy added to produce a coin that is more resilient against scratching and other damage.

3. Why do people buy Silver Eagles?

The Silver American Eagle coin provides a practical and affordable starting point for anyone wishing to move into precious metals. This special silver coin offers a convenient method for stockpiling pure silver and is recognized worldwide for its beauty. For new silver buyers and market veterans alike, it’s also an effective way to move away from today's shifting global economy.

4. Who designed the front and back of the Silver American Eagle?

Adolph A. Weinman designed the image adorning the obverse—or front—of the Silver American Eagle coin. “Walking Liberty,” as it’s known, is considered one of the greatest coin designs of all time.

The reverse side of the Silver American Eagle coin displays John Mercanti’s “Heraldic Eagle” image. It shows an eagle with an olive brand in one talon and arrows in the other alongside the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”), a phrase that served as our national motto until 1956. Thirteen stars hover above the eagle's head, symbolizing the 13 original American colonies.

5. How many Silver American Eagles are minted each year?

Mintage numbers for the Silver American Eagle change from year to year and vary based on type. For example, in 1996, 3.6 million Silver Eagle bullion coins were minted, while 2015 saw 47 million Silver American Eagle bullion coins minted (the most ever).

For comparison, only 498,293 Proof Silver Eagle coins were minted in 1996. (Burnished/uncirculated wasn’t issued until 2006.) In 2015, when Silver Eagle bullion production was at its highest, 707,518 Proof Silver Eagle coins and 223,879 Burnished Silver Eagles were minted.

6. Where does the silver for Silver American Eagle coins come from?

Silver’s coinage history in the U.S. is unique. Early Silver Eagles were minted from silver held in the Defense National Stockpile Center. The coins were so popular that the stockpile soon ran low. In 2002, a bill was passed authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to buy silver on the open market when the silver stockpile was depleted. Irrespective of its origin, every Silver American Eagle coin remains one ounce of 99.9% pure silver.

7. Where are Silver American Eagle coins minted?

The lauded West Point Mint produces the bulk of today’s Silver Eagle coins. Two other mints periodically produce them:

  • The San Francisco Mint, whose first location was one of only a few buildings that survived that city's massive 1906 earthquake
  • The Philadelphia Mint, America's first-ever mint

Both are storied facilities. Not to be outdone, the West Point branch offers bona fides of its own. It earned its status as an official branch of the U.S. Mint in 1988 and is still going strong 30 years later. It also serves as the nation’s official production facility for silver, gold, and platinum American Eagle coins, and is used as storage for part of the country's silver bullion reserves.

8. How can I be sure that Silver Eagles deliver on promises of weight and purity?

The U.S. government guarantees Silver American Eagles’ silver content, weight, and purity. It’s a remarkable assurance and one that not all silver products on the market can claim. The U.S. government’s guarantee means that you can be sure Silver American Eagles contain the stated amount of actual silver in troy ounces. Gold American Eagles are backed by the same guarantee.

9. Is now a good time to buy Silver American Eagles?

Many people would say that it's always a good time to buy silver coins, especially a silver coin as popular as the Silver Eagle. To date, the U.S. Mint has sold 10,275,000 2018 American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins, reports CoinWeek.

On September 6, 2018, the Mint announced that it had temporarily sold out of its inventory of 2018 American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins due to recent increased demand.

Visually striking, and with a heft that conveys substance and authority, Silver Eagle Coins continue to attract coin buyers around the world.

10. Where can you buy Silver American Eagle coins?

If you’re ready to buy Silver American Eagle coins, you can order online or call 1-844-307-1589 today. Silver Eagles have long been a popular choice for discerning precious metals buyers.

Do you have any remaining questions about these attractive coins? Their size, history, or something else? If so, we invite you to call. You’ll be able to speak with a knowledgeable Account Executive who will be happy to answer any remaining questions you have.


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