Why Should You Collect Graded Silver American Eagles?
In the 1980s, the U.S. government assessed what minerals were in the U.S. Strategic Stockpile, which contains materials the country would need in case of a national emergency. Up until 1985, the Strategic Stockpile contained about 140 million ounces of Silver. But the government realized industrial uses of Silver were on the decline, Silver mining technology was improving and there was more Silver available than was actually necessary to maintain the national security.
So what could be done with 140 million ounces of Silver? By 1985, we had an answer. Congress approved the Liberty Coin Act, authorizing both Gold and Silver bullion coins to be struck. The Silver would come from the Strategic Stockpile.
Silver American Eagle bullion coins have been struck every year since 1986. These coins incorporate the historic Adolph Weinman Walking Liberty design on the obverse and an American eagle motif on the reverse. Nearly 7 million Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof coins were struck during that first year in 1986.
In the last 33 years, Silver American Eagle bullion coins have become very widely collected thanks to the collecting interests of both bullion collectors and coin collectors. Complete sets of Silver Eagles are popular and not too challenging to complete.
There are two basic Silver Eagle coins:
- An Uncirculated coin is struck by the U.S. Mint without any special handling. These may sometimes be difficult to find in the highest grades.
- A Proof coin is one struck by the mint using highly polished blanks. Proof coins receive special handling and are generally available in higher grades.
An important variation to collecting Silver Eagles is to complete a certified Silver American Eagle set. Silver Eagle coins graded by either the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) have the greatest demand. PCGS and NGC are considered the two top-tier, independent, third-party grading services in the world. Only NGC and PCGS have strong dealer networks that support the two-way market for these coins. Both companies grade their coins to specific published grading standards and their grading standards are accepted world-wide.
NGC- and PCGS-graded Silver American Eagle coins are easy to collect and very easy to liquidate. Populations of each date and mintmark in each grade are published online by both NGC and PCGS.
Collectors and investors routinely assemble sets of graded coins. MS-67, MS-68 and MS-69 sets can be challenging but not impossible to compile. Perfect MS-70 sets are more difficult to complete as there are several dates that are rare and difficult to find in MS-70 grade. You can also collect Proof coins in all grades up to and including Proof-70.
Immediate liquidity, consistent grading and the security of knowing you have coins graded by one of the world’s premier grading services are all excellent reasons to consider acquiring several choice specimens or assembling a complete set for yourself.