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Legal Tender Status of American Eagle Coins

What’s the scoop on the American Eagle Gold coins and 2008 Silver Eagle coins?   

American Eagle Silver Coins and Gold Eagle coins are distributed through the United States mint. The US Mint produces the common coins that we handle in change every day, as well as collector and investor coins sold at premiums over their face value.  American Eagle coins fall into this second category.

American Silver Eagle Dollar coin proof version

    Covering their cost of production (and adding in a profit) the USMint promotes eagle bullion coins to dealers and coin collectors. The US mint sells them at a price set above the silver or gold that is in the coin, which is also well above the coin’s denomination (or face value).  

For example, 2008 American Silver Eagle dollars contain 1 troy ounce of silver.  Each coin has a $1 face value and this is inscribed on the coin’s reverse.  The mint offers silver eagle dollars for sale in quantity uncirculated bullion rolls (or tubes), and also individually as proof and mint uncirculated coins. 

At the time of this writing silver eagle 2008 $1 coin prices range from about $20 per coin to twice that, depending on which type of silver eagle you purchase. 

All American silver eagle dollars and gold eagle coins have a face value denomination on the coin’s reverse.  Platinum Eagle coins are the same. 


Since they don’t circulate and weren’t issued through banks, are silver eagle coins “legal tender” for all debts public and private, like paper money? 

According to research done by Numismatic News*, even though the face value is well below the market price of US eagle coins, these coins are ‘legal tender’ for all debts public and private.  The legal tender value is the amount printed on the coin (not the metallic value). 

American Eagle coins are legal tender  

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In today’s market a person would be considered foolish to spend a silver eagle  dollar for its $1.00 face value, although you could technically do so.  However, why spend a silver eagle dollar for $1.00 when you could sell it for many times that for the silver that it contains? 

 [  End  ]

*- Reference: Numismatic News – coin magazine – September 30, 2008 issue.



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