In 2006, the U.S. Mint introduced an entirely new finish to their renowned 1 Troy oz., .999 fine American Silver Eagle coin series. Dubbed “Uncirculated” Silver Eagles by the Mint, the finishing process that involves polishing the silver planchets in a vat of steel beads before striking them soon had the coins known as “Burnished” Silver Eagles. While their soft, matte surfaces make them very similar in appearance to the standard bullion version, Burnished Silver Eagles are minted and handled with the utmost care. They are easily distinguished by the presence of Mint marks on their reverse.
As with all different versions of the American Silver Eagle, the designs on these burnished coins mirror those struck when the series was introduced in 1986.
The face, or obverse, of the coin depicts Lady Liberty walking with the sun in the background. This motif was originally created for the 1916 half dollar coin by Adolf Weinman, and is one of the most popular vintage U.S. coin designs around. It was adapted for the American Silver Eagle to bring a bit of history into the new bullion coin series.
The reverse was designed by the now-legendary John M. Mercanti. Based on the Great Seal of the U.S., it depicts a heraldic eagle surrounded by several inscriptions. This design helped push Mercanti’s career towards his former position as 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, and the image is now instantly recognizable by collectors around the world as the reverse of the American Silver Eagle.