2012 American Silver Eagles

American Silver Eagle - Click to Enlarge

American Silver Eagle - Click to Enlarge

Continuing a series of coins dating back to 1986, the 2012 American Silver Eagles are among the most popular coins issued in the world. Literally millions of the bullion Silver Eagles are struck and sold annually.

Each American Silver Eagle is composed of one ounce of 99.9 pure silver and features a diameter of 1.598 inches. The strikes appear in bullion, proof and uncirculated conditions - the first of which is struck for investors, the latter two for collectors.

2012 Bullion Eagles

Bullion Silver Eagles are struck by the US Mint for investors and are guaranteed for weight and purity by the government of the United States. They are the only silver coins to have that guarantee. Accordingly, the US government even allows bullion Silver Eagles to be added to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).

The strikes were authorized by Congress under Public Law 99-61. At that time, the coins were required to be struck by the US Mint to meet demand, a fact which caused considerable concern to many beginning in 2009. Demand that year escalated to such a height that the Mint was unable to satisfy it leaving it no choice but to ration the sales (as well as cancel associated Proof Silver Eagle production).

The law has since been changed giving the Secretary of the Treasury the discretion to adjust production on Eagles as needed.

2012 Proof Eagles

Proof Silver Eagles first appeared alongside the bullion Eagles in 1986. They were struck annually until 2009 when their production was cancelled owing to bullion demand, as previously stated. They returned again the following year as the Mint ramped up blank planchet supplies.

Proof Silver Eagles contain the same design as the associated bullion Eagles. However, their proof finish makes them quite distinguishable from the bullion counterparts. Proof production is described by the Mint as a process of "manually feeding burnished coin blanks into presses fitted with special dies. The coin is struck multiple times so the softly frosted, yet detailed images seem to float above a mirror-like field."

Silver Eagle Design

The obverse of each Silver Eagle contains a design many consider to be one of the most beautiful ever used on an American Coin. It is Adolph A. Weinman's Walking Liberty design first seen on the 1916-1947 half dollar. Obverse inscriptions include "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the date.

The reverse of the coin shows a heraldic Eagle with shield as designed by John Mercanti. Reverse inscriptions include "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "1 DOLLAR" and "1 OZ FINE SILVER."

Silver Eagle Values

Bullion Silver Eagles are typically valued for the silver contained within them (although many collectors also seek out the bullion strikes). The bullion Eagles are initially sold through the Mint's network of authorized purchasers who resell the coins to the public for a small premium above the current spot price of the one ounce of silver in each.

Collector Eagles, on the other hand, typically carry a significant numismatic premium above the cost of the silver in them. These strikes are initially sold directly to the public by the Mint.

American Silver Eagle Specifications

Mintmark: W for Uncirculated and Proof, None for bullion
Composition: 99.93% silver, remaining copper
Weight: 31.101 grams or 1.000 ounces
Diameter: 40.6 mm or 1.598 inches
Date of Issue: 2011
Mintages: Based on Demand
Obverse Designer/Sculptor: Adolph A. Weinman
Reverse Designer/Sculptor: John Mercanti

Silver Eagle Resources