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History of the Silver Eagle Dollar

 

When discussing the American Silver Eagle dollar, the conversation most often comes around to the beautiful coin's design.

 

Where did the silver eagle coin design come from?

 

In 1916 the US government changed the US half dollar to a design featuring a "walking liberty".  Adolph A. Weinman stylized Walking-Liberty design was chosen and it remained on US silver half dollars until 1947. Coin collectors and the US public fell in love with this beautiful 50 cent coin.

    

 

1943 walking liberty half dollar

Walking Liberty silver half dollars 1916-1947

 

The public loved the walking liberty design 

Years after the silver half dollars ceased production, collectors were still  fascinated by the beauty of the design.  Perhaps it was the liberty herself that attracted collectors.  Or, maybe it was the fact that liberty was "in motion".  Whatever the reasoning, collectors love the design.

 

In the mid-1980's the US government decided bullion silver and bullion silver coins were something that the US should be selling.  At this time the US government had hundreds of millions of ounces of silver sitting in vaults.  Issuing coins would be a good way to sell the silver without depressing the silver bullion market price. 

 

After much discussion and thought the government decided on using Adolph Weinman's walking liberty design on on the face of the new bullion coin.  This would assure the coin was well received.  An Eagle design would be used for the reverse.  The new coins would contain 1 ounce of 99.9% solid silver and would be called the American Silver Eagle dollar. 

 

1986 proof silver eagle dollar 

First Year of the US Silver Eagle dollars

Minted 1986 to the present

 

reverse of US silver eagle dollar

Reverse eagle design of American Silver Eagle dollar

The $1 Silver Eagles are one ounce bullion coins with a face value of one US dollar.  Made in both uncirculated and proof condition.  Although having a one dollar face value, the uncirculated bullion version sells at a reasonable premium over the silver content.  Proof versions are sold by the US mint at a higher premium over the silver content.

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Obverse design uses Adolph A Wienman's Libery Walking design.  The reverse design shows a heraldic eagle with a shield in the center, designed by John Mercanti.

 

Composition is 99.93% silver purity, with a trace of copper (.07%).  Net weight is 1 troy ounce of pure silver, equal to 31.101 grams.  Diameter is 40.6 mm. Coin's thickness is 3.1mm, or .122 inches.


American Silver eagle dollars have been minted at US government mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco, West Point. Coins without a mintmark were minted at the Philadelphia mint.

 

Mint mark location is on the reverse below the eagle, right above the words "fine silver".

 

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