An article elsewhere in this issue announces the new 4th Edition of American Silver Eagles from Whitman Publishing.
Republished with permission is this article by Doug Nyholm in the January 2022 issue of The Mint Master from the Utah Numismatic Society.
Recently I met with a friend of mine who collects U.S. Silver Eagles by date, mint, and variety. Most people, collectors or otherwise I believe collect Silver Eagles, or for that matter other silver bullion issues for their silver content first, and then possibly, by their designs. Many countries or private mints produce many issues with a myriad of designs. Again, most are valued at their silver content or a slight premium above melt.
My friend had let his collection lapse for several years and wanted help inventorying what he had, and what was needed to complete his collection. We sat down with the current Red Book, the 3rd edition of the Whitman book published in 2017/18 on
American Silver Eagles, and several price lists. The announced 4th edition will be available later this month.
The American Silver Eagle which turned 35 in 2021 is one of the most popular and collected series of U.S. modern coins. The reverse design was changed mid-year 2021 and along with the present high demand for silver their popularity has taken a leap. There are about 100 different issues which one can collect which for a modern series makes collecting a complete set not only a challenge but an expensive endeavor, especially if one thinks that a MS or PR-70 set of modern coins is easy. Even in the more collectable grade of 69 one is looking at a price tag that can easily exceed $20,000!
Recently an article was published by
Bullion Shark LLC regarding the five rarest Silver Eagles. The first issue mentioned is of course the 1995-W Proof. This was originally available only as part of the 4 piece gold bullion set and was minted to extant of only 30,125 coins. Presently this coin is individually the highest priced issue which in Proof 69 reaches $3,500 but in Proof 70 can easily escalate to $15,000 or $20,000. When the first example graded PR-70 appeared it topped $50,000 but since then several other 70's have come forward somewhat reducing that price but with current interest in the set I would not be surprised to see the PF-70 price to increase.
Before commenting on the other rarities something needs to be said regarding certain condition rarities. With the onset of the series in 1986 and continuing through the year 2000 there are several very expensive and rare issues in Proof 70. The costliest dates are the 1993-P listed at $1,500 in
Coin World Trends while the 1994-P issue in PF-70 is not far behind at $1,250. Other issues during this period in PF-70 are routinely traded in the $300 to $600 range. Therefore if a collector is striving for a set in 70, it is possible, but somewhat expensive and your search will take some time.
Getting back to the classic rarities, following the 1995-W comes the rather recent issue of the 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof coin. This special finish coins mintage is actually less than the 1995-W and comes in at a mere 29,910 coins minted. The value of this issue in PF-69 comes in at $1,500 and escalates to $2,500 in PF-70. This coin may be a sleeper and could easily increase as more collectors strive to complete a variety set. It does currently have the lowest mintage of any Silver Eagle.
The next coin on the rarity list is the 2008-W Reverse of 2007. Since this is a variety no official mintage is listed but according to the
Freedom of Information Act information from the mint has its reported mintage of 46,318. MS-70 examples can exceed $1000. Next is the 2020-W V75 Privy Mark coin. This is the first and only Silver Eagle to carry a Privy Mark. The
V75 was used to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II. This coin can also top $1000 in PF-70
In 2019 there were two Enhanced Reverse Proof coins issued. As earlier noted the 2019-S has the lowest mintage but the 2019-W Enhanced coin mintage is a low 99,675 which brings this issue to command a price of $250 in PF-70. It was issued as part of the
US-Canada Price of Two Nations Set.
There are several other lower mintage issues which may pose a challenge to collectors but with a bit of patience they can be obtained. It may be time for collectors to stop looking at the U.S. Silver Eagles series as simply bullion issues and contemplate assembling a set. It appears that interest will continue to increase both collectability and value.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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