The official silver bullion coin of the United States, the American Silver Eagle was first released in November, 1986. The coin is well loved for its beautiful obverse-side embossment of “Walking Liberty”, which was previously used on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar between 1916 and 1947.
The reverse side of the coin reveals its namesake – a heraldic eagle, adorned with a symbolic shield, an olive branch in the right talon, a bundle of arrows in the left, and a ribbon in its beak bearing with the inscription “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one).
The American Silver Eagle is minted of one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver, and is certified by the United States Mint. The Philadelphia and West Point Mints have produced bullion versions, yet there is no mintmark indicated on the coins. The proof versions of the coins have been produced at both San Francisco and Philadelphia mints. These versions bear an “S” and a “P” mintmark, respectively. In addition, the US Mint produced a collectible uncirculated version at West Point, bearing the “W” mintmark.
The value of the coin can vary widely, depending upon a number or factors such as mintages, bullion price and circulation. While the face value of the coin is $1, this does not reflect the coin’s intrinsic value, which is primarily a function of the coin’s troy weight and current market price for silver. As such, the bullion versions of the coin, which have been minted in the millions, sell for about $20 on the market. There are some issues of the coin, such as the 1995-W proof, that have commanded prices as high as $4,500.