American Eagle silver bullion coins, or Silver Eagles, were first released in 1986. Weighing one troy ounce and made of .999 fine silver, the coins have a face value of $1 and can be used as legal tender, but with silver trading at a good deal more than $1 per ounce, they have never been known to sell for that amount. In fact, Silver Eagles are so commonly thought of as an investment, they are the only silver bullion coins accepted in U.S. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
Like gold American Eagles, the silver version incorporates a classic coin design on its obverse, in this case, a slight modification of Adolph Weinman’s Walking Liberty, used on half dollars from 1916 to 1947. Changes to the design include the relocation of Weinman's initials. The coin’s reverse features a familiar-looking, but new, heraldic eagle by John Mercanti.
Uncirculated silver American Eagles have been minted in Philadelphia since 1986 and West Point since 2001. None of these coins have mintmarks, but proofs struck in San Francisco and West Point do. Of the uncirculated coins, those produced in 1996 and 1994 had somewhat lower mintages, which makes those coins more expensive to purchase. The proof year with the lowest mintage is 1995, when just 30,125 Silver Eagle proofs were struck at West Point (most years, more than half a million proofs are minted).
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