Since 1986, the United States has minted one-dollar silver coins called “American Silver Eagles.” Each contains a minimum of one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. With more than 130 millions coins sold since their inception, the Silver Eagle is one of the world’s best-selling silver coins.
Based on Adolph A. Weinman’s 1916 design “Walking Liberty” half dollar, the Silver Eagle is widely considered one of the most beautiful and affordable American coins ever minted. On the obverse side of the coin is the image of the Walking Liberty; the text includes “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and the year of issue.
The reverse side, designed by John Mercanti, showcases an eagle with wings spread against a shield—its right talon grasps an olive branch and arrows in its left, echoing the Great Seal of the United States. It also features the 13 stars for the original 13 colonies of the United States. The text here includes “United States of America,” “1 oz. Fine Silver,” and “One Dollar.”
Uncirculated coins come directly from the US Mint, still in the original packaging.
Certified Silver Eagles have been submitted for grading and certified with a certain grade by a professional coin rating company (such as NGC or PCGS.) These certified coins have premiums far above normal uncirculated coins, as they are in outstanding condition and often retain more value than a loose bullion coin.
American Silver Eagle bullion coins carry a face value of US $1.
Mintages, and thus prices, of bullion, proof, and uncirculated Silver Eagle coins have varied widely. Generally, the bullion versions have been minted in the millions, while the proof and uncirculated versions were issued in the hundreds of thousands each. Most dates of the bullion issue are not particularly expensive (around $50 as of September 2011) and are traded at a premium above the intrinsic value of the silver they contain; most proof versions sell for more.
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