ModernCoinMart is proud to sell the 2016 Proof American Silver Eagles. 2016 is a major year for Proof American Silver Eagle series. Not only does 2016 mark the 30th anniversary, but the "30th ANNIVERSARY" is actually struck onto the coin with incused edge lettering! This unique feature and important date is not something collectors should miss out on.
From 1986, the first year American Silver Eagle coins were struck, both bullion and proof coins aimed at collectors have been issued. Because the Proof American Silver Eagles are primarily purchased by collectors for themselves and as gifts, their sales and mintage numbers have remained much more stable than those of the bullion coins. The mintage numbers on bullion American Silver Eagles have skyrocketed from about 5 million in the first year to almost ten times that number today! That is because the bullion coins are both collectible coins and a common way to stack silver. These bullion coins are popular not only within the U.S., but also with buyers from all over the world.
The proof coins, which typically sell about a million units a year, are very popular because of their highly reflective fields and frosted devices. This finish brings out the beauty of the American design, and has been a collector favorite for quite some time. They are made to extremely high production standards, especially today with the U.S. Mint advanced minting technologies. As a result, not only are Silver Eagle bullion coins the most widely issued and traded silver bullion coins in the world, but the proof examples are the world leader in numismatic silver proof coins as well!
2016 marks the 30th anniversary of this massive coin program. Every year, the production of the American Silver Eagle series is one of the Mint’s top priorities, as well as one of their most challenging undertakings as demand continues to rise. It is a major staple of modern American numismatics, and has a reputation to uphold. Silver Eagles have brought millions of new collectors into the field of numismatics and will continue to bring in more in the future.
In honor of this momentous anniversary for the extremely popular coin series, the U.S. Mint has announced that all of the Proof and Burnished American Silver Eagles issued in 2016 will include incused edge inscriptions noting the 30th anniversary. Instead of the standard reeded edge, the coin will have a smooth edge. The text "30th ANNIVERSARY" will be struck into this edge using a 3-piece collar. This inscription will always appear at the same location - at the 6 o'clock position when viewing the coin from the obverse side.
This is something that has never been used before on this U.S. coin series, although it has been seen on other U.S. coinage such as the 5 oz. Silver America the Beautiful Quarters. This special addition not only honors the series, but also will make the 2016-W Proof American Silver Eagles distinct from every other issue!
Because the U.S. Mint has never issued Silver Eagles with such inscriptions, they had to retool their machinery used to make the coins before any 2016 issues could be struck. As a result the proof coins, which are typically among the first products released by the Mint each year, had to be delayed by several months! Despite this stressful delay, the U.S. Mint finally announced that the release date of the coins was September 16th.
The 30th anniversary of the Silver Eagle program is a good time to review some of the key developments in the evolution of this series since 1986.
Silver Eagles were originally created as a way of disposing of what was perceived at the time as "excess silver stockpiles." The large amount of silver currently in storage was believed to be greater than what the country needed. This process was done in such a way that maximized the revenue from selling the silver, as the coins sold could garner substantial premiums when sold as collectors coins. This approach was intended to reduce the national debt, and to provide an excellent source of bullion to the American precious metals investor.
On June 21, 1985, Senator James McClure and Representative Larry Craig, both of Idaho, introduced the American Liberty Coin Act. This legislation not only authorized the Treasury to Mint and issue the coins, but also specified their design and size, established a formula for pricing the coins, commanded that the American Silver Eagle have both numismatic and legal tender status. Most importantly to many U.S. silver stackers is that it specified that the silver used for every American Silver Eagle struck would come only from the national stockpile of American mined silver.
The phenomenal popularity of these coins is mostly attributed to their gorgeous classic design. With an obverse based on Adolph Weinman’s celebrated Walking Liberty Half Dollar and with a reverse featuring a heraldic eagle designed by John Mercanti, 12th Chief engraver of the U.S. Mint, it is easy to see why the design is so stunning!
Mercanti, as well as Elizabeth Jones, who served in the same position as Mercanti right before he held it, played key roles in supervising the program. Mercanti also made some modifications to the original Weinman design a couple years into the program, by giving greater definition to the various design elements as a result of “fill problems” that developed which obscured some parts of the design.
Other major developments include the issuance of the 2006 10th anniversary set, which introduced the reverse proof example, the 2011 25th anniversary set, and the 2012 and 2013 special two-coin sets that introduced new types of Silver Eagles. Given this history, collectors hope that a 2016 set is offered that also includes a unique and special coin.
One other significant issue worth highlighting is whether the design should be changed now that it has been used for three decades. There has never been much interest in changing the obverse since it is so central to the identity of the series and so widely admire, but there has been growing interest in recent years in changing the reverse to a different eagle design. The legislation that created this series only requires a Liberty design on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. The design can be changed once every 25 years. Since 2011, the members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommended a new reverse design, but in 2014 the U.S. Mint decided against changing it - at least for now.
The 2016 proof coins with their incused edge inscriptions will be a welcome addition to this great modern coin series! ModernCoinMart (MCM), as an industry leader in the field of numismatics, carries a full range of production options for the 2016 proof coins. Coins are available just as the come from the U.S. Mint, but also certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). MCM always has such coins available in a plethora of options. At MCM, even mass produced coins like this are sold in special options to make the coin you buy unique from the rest! Purchase your 2016-W American Silver Eagles now!
||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,” and in August 2021 the column received the NLG award for best column on modern U.S. coins. He has also received other awards for his writing. 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 and other publications. 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 has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|