1995-W Silver Eagle
To mark the 10th year of production of the U.S. Mint’s flagship silver bullion and collector coin program known as the American Silver Eagle in 2005 the Mint decided to issue a special set that is different from other anniversary sets in this program. It included the four denominations and sizes of American Gold Eagles ($50 or one-ounce, $25 or half-ounce, $10 or quarter-ounce, and $5 or tenth-ounce coins) as well as a special 1995 proof Silver Eagle with a “W” mintmark for West Point, which was only included in this set.
That year the Mint also issued a separate 1995-P proof Silver Eagle sold at the normal price in this case of $23, while the five-coin set costed a whopping $999, which was too much for most collectors of the proof series, who were used to purchasing coins in the $20 or so range. The set had a maximum authorized mintage of 45,000 sets, but the high cost deterred so many buyers that only 30,125 sets were sold, while 438,511 of the 1995-P proof coins were sold.
Many of the thousands of collectors of proof American Silver Eagles were annoyed at the idea of having to spend so much money and be forced to purchase the gold set, when it was the silver proof coin that really interested them.
In the long run those buyers who bought the sets were handsomely rewarded as gold rise over the years and the gold set could have been sold at various points for a substantial profit, and the 1995-W proof coin was free.
Because so many people collect American Silver Eagles and want a complete set of the proof coins, and because 30,125 coins is the lowest mintage of any type of coin in the series by far, this coin has emerged over the years as the undisputed key to series, or as what is often called “The King of American Silver Eagles.” In 100 Greatest Modern U.S. Coins Jeff Garrett and Scott Schechter rank the coin #4 on their list and note that the desirability of the coin has only grown over time, and that the large growth in the number of collectors of these coins has only increased demand for the coin.
Why purchase this NGC PF69 UC example of the 1995-W proof Silver Eagle?
An important fact regarding this coin is that few examples have been graded proof 70 over the past 20n years. NGC has graded only 383 as proof 70, which is 8% of the 4,570 coins they have graded, and 3,867, or 85% have been graded proof 69. There is an enormous difference in the cost of this coin in the two grades. It is already a coin that is costly in 69, while the 70 coins are simply prohibitively expensive for most buyers. That makes this 69 example a good value for those looking for the key coin.