American Silver Eagle coins are unquestionably the most popular silver products in the world today. In spite of the high premiums associated with these sovereign mint coins, they remain a coveted piece among investors and collectors alike. Whether you’re interested in purchasing an American Silver Eagle from the bullion, proof, or burnished lineup, you’ll find a number of these coins available from JM Bullion as NGC Certified American Silver Eagle coins.
Certification from the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), one of the world’s highest authorities in coin certification, adds inherent value to the American Silver Eagle you are considering purchasing. For those who are new to the precious metals industry, NGC Certified American Silver Eagle coins often come with terms that are unfamiliar. In the following paragraphs you’ll find all the information you need to decipher the terminology and value of NGC Certified American Silver Eagle coins.
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, or NGC for short, was founded in 1987 as a third-party coin grading service that is independent of any private or sovereign mint. Currently, the NGC employs 30 full-time coin certifiers who are prohibited by contract from buying or selling coins commercially to ensure they remain impartial graders of coins.
Along with the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the NGC is one of the world’s two most highly regarded certification companies. The NGC holds the distinction of being the world’s largest third-party coin grading company, having certified more than 33 million coins in total. The American Numismatic Association and Professional Numismatists Guild both use the NGC as their official grading service.
When you see NGC Certified American Silver Eagles in the JM Bullion catalog, you are viewing and considering for purchase coins that have gone through an extensive and highly regarding grading process. There is a general three-step process included in the NGC grading process, and are broken down into the following categories:
Like the PCGS and other major grading services, all NGC Certified American Silver Eagle coins receive a grade between 1 and 70 on the Sheldon Numeric Scale. Developed in 1948 by Dr. William Sheldon, this scale helps to identify the specific condition of individual coins in a very detailed manner.
Prior to the development of the Sheldon Scale, coins were graded on physical condition and placed into one of three categories: Good, Fine, and Uncirculated. It was quickly discovered that any two coins within the same category could feature meaningful differences in value and condition, even if they were of the same general condition. For example, some Fine coins were in better condition than other Fine coins.
Today, the NGC uses the 1 to 70 Sheldon Scale to certify the condition of all coins it grades. Each grade starts with a strike type, which includes the following options:
A full listing of NGC numeric grades is available here, but the most common NGC Certified American Silver Eagle coins have the grades of MS/PF 70 and MS/PF 69. These grades identify coins as follows:
Additionally, the NGC uses a handful of other certification and designation terms for its NGC Certified American Silver Eagle coins that identify special visual characteristics or unique designations in production. These include the following:
Introduced in 1986, the American Silver Eagle was authorized by Congressional passage of the Liberty Coin Act of 1985. The program features only a 1 oz. coin, and was originally available in the bullion and proof versions alone, with the aforementioned burnished coin added specifically for collectors in 2006.
On the obverse of all coins you’ll find the image of Walking Liberty. Created in 1916 by Adolph A. Weinman, this image is considered one of the finest in American coinage history. It appeared on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar from 1916 to 1947. In the design, Liberty is featured walking toward the setting sun with the American flag draped across her shoulders. Her outstretched hand reaches for a brighter future, while her left arm clutches the oak and laurel branches representing the nation’s civic and military accomplishments.
The reverse of all PCGS Certified American Silver Eagle coins include the heraldic eagle of the United States. First used on American coinage in 1794, the heraldic eagle design has been modified several times during the course of American history to modernize its appearance. This latest design of the bald eagle with its wings spread wide, clutching arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other, is set behind the nation’s heraldic shield and was created in 1986 by John Mercanti. At the time, Mercanti was the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint.
Generally speaking, the American Silver Eagle coins have no additional value based upon the production site of the coins. When the coin series was introduced, the American Silver Eagle was produced by the San Francisco Mint in both the bullion and proof version. From 1986 to 1998, the San Francisco Mint remained the home of the bullion version of the coin, while the proof specimens were shifted to the Philadelphia Mint starting in 1993.
From 1993 to 2000, the Philadelphia Mint struck the proof American Silver Eagle coin. In 1999 and 2000, the Philadelphia Mint was responsible for the production of both the bullion and proof versions of the coin. Since 2001, the bullion and proof coins have been struck by the West Point Mint. The addition of the burnished version of the coin came in 2006, and has been struck only by the West Point Mint since that time.
The production of bullion American Silver Eagle coins is done to meet the demand from investors, and as such the coin’s mintage ebbs and flows with the rise and fall of silver prices. The lowest mintage point in the coin’s history came during the 1990s when the stock markets were soaring and silver prices were low.
With the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, stock markets tumbled and silver surged higher, sending American Silver Eagle production to all-new highs. From 2008 to 2011, the American Silver Eagle record all-time highs in mintage figures, break records in each of those four years. In 2014, the US Mint saw records break again with 44.1 million coins sold, and that was again broken in 2015 with 47.3 million coins sold.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to JM Bullion with any questions that arise when you buy online. Our customer service team is available at 800-276-6508, online through our live chat, and via our email address feature. You can also visit our Payment Methods FAQ page to find answers to basic questions regarding acceptable payment options and any applicable purchasing minimums. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.