Silver Eagles

Posted by on October 28, 2011

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
Silver Eagle
(1985-2012)
31.103 99.9% silver
Some Older American Silver Eagles

Some Older American Silver Eagles (photo by somegeekintn*)

Over 230 million American Silver Eagle bullion $1 coins have been minted and sold. Silver Eagles are one troy ounce (31.103 grams) of 99.9% fine silver, with a face value of one dollar. The Silver Eagles are 40.6mm (1.598”) in diameter, 2.98 mm (0.1193”) thick, with a reeded edge.

The obverse is a recreation of Adolph A. Weinman’s 1916 Walking Liberty design from the United State’s silver half dollar minted from 1916 to 1947. This iconic popular image has “LIBERTY” encircling the top half below the rim, “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the lower left of the coin, and the date on the very bottom rim.

The reverse has an eagle with opened wings with a shield and thirteen five-pointed stars designed by John Mercanti in 1986.  “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” encircles the top half on the coin with “1OZ FINE SILVER-ONE DOLLAR” encircling the lower rim subdivided with a point.  The eagle has a flowing ribbon in its beak with the inscription; “E PLURIBUS UNUM”.  The eagle’s left talon holds arrows and the right an olive branch.  If there is a mint mark it’s under the olive branch.

This silver coin’s history begins in the 1970’s.  The executive branch of the United States had been making plans to sell off the United States Defense's National Stockpile of silver.  The reasoning was that domestic silver production was sufficient to meet any national need.  However whenever this was brought up silver future traders would start unloading their futures contracts anticipating such a sale would depress prices.  The idea that the sale of minted silver bullion could help bring down the national debt kept the executive branch interest in coining the silver despite great congressional opposition.  Finally on June 10th of 1981 the House Armed Services Committee decided to approve a Reagan administration request to sell the silver to help offset the 1982 federal budget. 

In July both House and Senate agreed to sell 75% of the silver (105.1 million troy ounces) over the next three years.  When the first lot was going up for bid in October 1981 the price of silver dropped 11% in September 1981.  Silver concerned politicians from Idaho tried to block the action.  On December 3rd, 1981  Senator James A. McClure (R-Idaho) got an amendment attached to a Department of Defense appropriation bill to stop further sales to reconsider the stockpile amount to be reported no later than July 1, 1982.

On May 27, 1982 Senator McClure started up legislation to sell the stockpile again.  The resistance was high and it was not until June 21, 1985 that the silver was released for minting the American Eagle silver coins.  The success of these silver coins was great.  When the stockpile of silver was running low new legislation was passed to continue the American Eagle silver bullion dollar and starting in 2002 allowed the United States’ Secretary of the Treasury to buy silver at market value and continue minting the bullion.

These coins have been minted from 1986 to 1992 in San Francisco with “S”, from 1993 to 2000 in Philadelphia with “P”, and from 2001 to 2008 at West Point showing “W”.   In 2011 minting is continuing from San Francisco and West Point.  There are Proof, and uncirculated American Silver Eagle coins offered beside straight bullion and an interesting variety of specialty pieces and oddities that collectors have found interest in.

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One Response to Silver Eagles

  1. filter fluoride

    Thanks for sharing your great post,wish you have a nice day,happy every day!

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