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2016 American Gold & Silver Eagles

2016 American Gold & Silver Eagles
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Posted: 12-07-2015 10:03:00 AM

2016 is a very special year for both of the Gold and Silver flagship bullion programs which began in 1986 and which will mark their 30th anniversary in 2016. Collectors are hoping the U.S. Mint will issue a special set for this occasion that includes a new, unique variety of each coin.

An annual tradition

Every January bullion investors and coin collectors look forward with great anticipation to the release of the new American Gold and Silver Eagles. In fact, the annual release of these iconic coins is a major event in numismatics.    

2016 is a very special year for both of these flagship bullion programs which began in 1986 and which will mark their 30th anniversary. Collectors are hoping the U.S. Mint will issue a special set for this occasion that includes a new, unique variety of each coin. Uncirculated and proof 2016 Silver Eagles will carry incused edge inscriptions designating the coins as 30th anniversary issues, as required under legislation that became law on December 4, 2015.

Demand, especially for the Silver Eagles, has been so strong in recent years that a new record in sales has been hit year after year.  Lower silver and gold prices have been a significant catalyst of this impressive performance. On November 30 the U.S. Mint announced that the 2014 record of 44,006,000 coins had been broken since total sales for the 2015 coins by then were 44,666,500.  By the time total sales for 2015 are tallied, it will be well over 45 million coins.

To meet this incredible level of demand for the silver coins the Mint has had to allocate coins to its network of authorized purchasers and suspend sales for brief periods as well. During such periods premiums over melt for these coins go up considerably because fewer coins are available.

Sales of the 2015-dated silver coins from the Mint to dealers will wrap up by mid-December, and most of the 2015 Gold Eagle denominations are already sold out at the Mint. Some years, both these coins are available from dealers in early January. The four sizes of gold coins (1 oz., ½ oz., ¼ oz., and 1/10th oz.) are also available along with graded examples.

Many buyers prefer to get their new eagles as soon as possible after they become available whether it is because they feel metal prices are at a favorable level at that moment, because they want the first coins struck, or just because they have to have them first.

Comments from eagle enthusiasts in the numismatic blogosphere are a good indication of this preference.  When asked in a recent MCM Forum post what coins people plan to buy first this year, virtually everyone said 2016 silver eagles.

High Demand

High demand for American Eagles comes from a variety of factors, including especially:

  • They are official bullion coins of the United States, with the full backing of the U.S. government for their weight and purity, and are legal tender.
  • Their patriotic designs use perhaps the two most beloved classic U.S. coin designs of all time – the Adolph Weinman Walking Liberty half dollar obverse for the obverse of the Silver eagle, and the Augustus Saint Gaudens $20 Double Eagle gold coin obverse for the Gold Eagle obverse – coupled with modern American bald eagle designs for the reverse of each coin.
  • The universal recognition of these coins, which makes it so easy to trade them in the marketplace.
  • Their accessibility since the coins are priced close to their precious metal value and are sold by virtually every coin dealer.

Silver and Gold Eagles are the dominant coins in the American bullion market, and they are also widely collected as numismatic pieces in both raw and certified examples by millions of collectors. Both coins were initially aimed primarily at bullion investors, but within a short period collectors began building date and Mint mark sets of these coins, which have been issued in bullion and proof versions from the beginning. Since 2006 other versions have also been issued for collectors such as reverse proofs.

Silver Eagles are the most widely collected modern U.S. coin of all time and are frequently called the silver dollars of our day, and that is not expected to change.  For many new collectors Silver Eagles are the coins that attract them to numismatics because they are affordable and easy to obtain. 

And no gold coins in the U.S. market are nearly as popular of Gold Eagles, and foreign sales are growing too. 

Graded American Eagles

Graded Eagles are by far the largest component of the certified coin market today since more of these coins are submitted for grading than any other coin. Eagle collectors love building sets of Mint State and Proof 70 coins for registry sets and for the pride and satisfaction of having the best coins.   

High-grade certified examples of some of the earlier issues of both types of eagle coins today sell at auctions for very substantial sums. That is because production standards were not as high back then as they are today, when a much higher percentage of these coins receive 70 grades. 

Some of the Gold Eagle coins tend to have lower sales in certain denominations, which can make them very scarce and desirable down the line. In fact, this happened recently. In 2014 the $25, ½ oz. Gold Eagle came in with a low sales number for that coin. And high-grade certified examples of the lower mintage issues are hard to find and very desirable as collectible coins. 

Since Eagles are produced to demand, there is simply no way to know in advance which coins will have lower sales numbers and become the long-term winners, which is why it is good to be an informed buyer and to follow developments dealing with these coins closely though the MCM Forum and InfoVault articles. 

While there are certainly bullion coins out there that have lower premiums over spot than eagles, buyers, especially within the U.S., are likely for the foreseeable future to prefer Gold and Silver Eagles over any other bullion coins for all the reasons discussed above. Both coins will continue to play a key role in the numismatic market as well.   

Certified Coins from MCM

MCM will carry an extensive and exciting range of NGC and PCGS-certified 2016 Gold and Silver Eagles with various specialty labels available for the silver coins such as first day of issue, 30th anniversary, MCM exclusive, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday labels as well as the regular NGC early and first release and PCGS first strike flag labels.

The Gold Eagles will also be sold in 4-Coin graded sets with both regular and 30th anniversary labels, which are likely to be very popular.

And all of the raw coins can be pre-ordered now individually and in lots of various sizes, rolls, and for the silver coins in 500-coin monster boxes to lock in your price while precious metal values are at levels most experts believe are low.

Don’t miss your chance to purchase these modern classics in whatever form you prefer.    

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About The Author

Louis Golino Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.

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