A few notes about the American Silver Eagle By Speedy
This article is just notes I have about the ASE I have put down on paper and made into a article…
This article would not be complete if I didn't talk about the Walking Liberty half dollar. Why? Because the Walking Liberty half dollar is where we get the design for the front of the American Silver Eagles. Adolph A Weinman was the maker of this design and I must say its one of my favorites US Coins.
This design was used on the coin from 1916 to 1947 when the design was changed to the likeness of Franklin. We did not see this design again till 1986 when the American Silver Eagle was minted.
The design for the American Silver eagle show, like the Walking liberty half, a full-length figure of Liberty in full stride, enveloped in folds of the flag, with her right hand extended and branches of laurel and oak in her left.
The Walking Liberty half was a coin that went through both World Wars and was unlike our circulating coins today, silver!
The coin had a good many problems with it one being know for a weak strike and for another one the date would wear somewhat fast.
It is hard to find many Mint State WL Halves from the early years of minting.
This coin was minted for 31 years and is a nice set to work on with only 64 coins to find not counting the varieties!!
The back of the American Silver Eagle was designed by John Mercanti and shows a heraldic Eagle with 13 starts above the eagle in-between its wings it also features a shield, and olive branch in the right talon and arrows in the left.
The American Silver Eagle is 40.6mm around and is composed of 99.93% silver and .07% copper. The coin weighs 31.101 grams and is 1 ounce total. With its reeded edge it looks more like a large Walking Liberty half.
The Walking Liberty is 30.6mm around and is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. The coin weighs 12.50 grams and has a total of .36169 silver, also it has reeded edge.
There are only 3 mints that have minted the Silver eagle
San Francisco, California
West-Point, New York
There are only 3 mints that have minted the Walking Liberty
San Francisco, California
The American Silver Eagle has 2 "key" dates, one in Mint state and the other in Proof.
The 1995-W Proof is considered the "key" of the silver eagle and is worth around $3,000.00. It was only released with the set of 4 gold coin making it a 5 coin set of the 1/10 ounce 1/25 ounce 1/50 ounce and 1 ounce of gold and the 1 ounce of silver.
But it is not hard to find this date at any given time so there would be some debate on using the word "key" on this date.
The other being the 1996 Mint state coin worth about $30.
Again this coin is easy to find in nice Mint State grades--
The Walking Liberty has more then 2 keys, it has 6 keys and semi keys. 1916-P, 1916-S both are hard to come by with the 1916-S being the harder of the two….it's a nice coin to have in any grade. 1921-P, 1921D are both hard and are a little higher price than the 1916P-S…. try to find these in high grades as they always seem to be going up. 1938-D has just become a better date and has also jumped in price…I was able to lay aside a nice one before the price jump but it is a nice coin to have in any grade.
The proofs show a deep cameo look of black and white on the coins that make it even more beautiful.
The Walking Liberty half also had a Mint State and a Proof vision of the coins. Where the Walking Liberty only has 7 proofs the American Silver Eagles has one for each year since 1986. (20)
Both coins have the mintmark on the back (Rev) of the coin and in about the same place where as the WL half mintmark is closer to the edge as the ASE is under the left eagles wing.
ASE is the only silver coin allowed in an IRA and since that is true and if you have a IRA it might pay to look into that. The Walking Liberty was so popular that it was the ONLY design to be brought back to a coin years latter - the designer on the WL also designed the Winged Liberty Head "Mercury" Dime - the dime has no mercury in it but it has the head of what appears to be the goddess Mercury
The mint does not sell Mint State ASE to the public but sells them to a hand full of dealers (No body knows who to the best of my knowledge) that them sells them to dealers who sells them to us. I have seen 2005 ASE sell for under $10 to over $20 for one.
The ASE come from the mint in a green and clear tube that IS NOT air proof - the coins acquire bag marks while being placed in the tubes and sometimes the tubes are not the best way to store them.
There have never been any confirmed varieties and the only error I've been able to find is the strike through errors that happen when there is something in the die (Paper, metal, wire, fingers, etc) and the coin is not fully struck because of that - I have seen these go for under $20 and over $100.
When grading Proof ASE look for "milk" spots, they happen when some sort of condensation reaches the coin (such as sneezing). That will cause the "milk" spots and will hurt the grade.
When grading Mint State coins look for fingerprints, AT, bag marks (Look below for more info) and other damage.
The place to look when looking for bag marks are -
OBV - Lady Liberty's stomach
REV - The eagles Shield
When the coins go through the counting machine that is where the most contact marks would show.
That comes to the end of the little bit of history or compassion of both coins.