American Eagle Silver Coins–A fun way to invest in precious metals

My grandmother was a coin collector. I can remember rummaging through a large jar of coins she kept in a cabinet looking for wheat pennies. She had hundreds of them. And she had a silver dollar from the 1800s. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is older than granny.” Fast forward to today and you’ll find that investments in gold and silver coins have never been more in demand. In fact, the U.S. Mint recently announced that it will ration the production and sale of its famed American Eagle Silver Coins. We’ll come back to that in a minute when we discuss where to buy the silver eagle, but first let’s take a look at this beautiful coin.

I buy gold and silver online from American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX). Having met the owner, I can tell you that APMEX offers competitive prices and excellent service.

American Eagle Silver Dollar

The American Silver Eagle, first released on November 24, 1986, is the official silver bullion coin of the United States. It is struck only in the 1 troy oz denomination, which is slightly heavier (about 10%) than a regular ounce (called a avoirdupois ounce). The coin has a nominal face value of one dollar and is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce of .999 pure silver. Its weight and content is certified by the United States Mint.

The Silver Eagle has been produced at three mints. Coins struck at the Philadelphia mint carry a “P” mintmark. The San Francisco mint issued proofs during the early years of the series and these bear an “S”. Today, the coin is issued from the mint at West Point, New York, and bear a “W” on the reverse.

The design was taken from the classic “Walking Liberty” design by Adolph A. Weinman, which had originally been used on the half-dollar coin of the United States from 1916 to 1947. The reverse portrays a heraldic eagle designed by John Mercanti. The coin is sold in two versions–uncirculated and proof. The proof set is intended for collectors as opposed to those simply interested in investing in silver, and goes through a minting process which gives it a full strike appearance and brilliance.

You should also know that the American Silver Eagle bullion coin is the only silver coin allowed in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Where to buy the American Eagle Silver Coin

As I mentioned at the start of the post, the U.S. Mint is now rationing the number of coins it sells to dealers. The Mint hasn’t explained why, other than to say that the “unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins necessitates our allocating these coins on a weekly basis until we are able to meet demand.” I checked the U.S. Mint website today, and they had both uncirculated and proof coins in stock.

The cost of an American Eagle silver coin is based on the spot price of silver plus a markup to cover the cost of minting and distribution. The US Mint has a list of authorized dealers by state. You can also buy online directly from the U.S. Mint. The uncirculated version currently sells for about $25.50 and the proof for about twice that amount. And, along with just about everything else in the world, yes, you can buy American Eagles on Ebay. If you do buy from Ebay, make sure the seller has a lot of history and favorable ratings selling coins on Ebay.

Published or Updated: July 12, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.


  1. rick bleakley says:

    my dad died a while back and i was given a 2000 American Eagle Silver Dollar the one that was color/ painted on the front. It has no mint markings on the back.. My question is it worth sumthing or is it just a nice keep sake. It is quite pretty in its plastic case n box…. Rick

    • Robert K says:

      The colorized versions are nice to look at but carry no premium, over the value of the silver.

  2. kip caven says:

    where are you getting silver eagles for $31.95?

    “The uncirculated version currently sells for $25.95 and the proof for $31.95”

    • Robert K says:

      Please note the date the blog was posted, The price of silver may fluctuate, and therefore the offering price will also change over time. for the real time spot price of silver

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