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Order your 2018-S Proof American Silver Eagle today and choose from a wide selection of detailed labels and high grades awarded by premier third-party grading services, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and Professional Coin Grading Service!
San Francisco Proof Silver Eagles
To understand why the 2018-S Proof Silver Eagle is so eagerly sought-after by collectors, it is helpful to be familiar with the history of the Silver Eagle program, especially with those Proof coins made at the San Francisco Mint.
When the American Silver Eagle was launched in 1986, it was issued in two versions – a business strike bullion coin and a Proof piece aimed at collectors. Initially, the bullion coins were a way to stack silver that had the additional benefit of being legal tender U.S. currency that carried the backing of the U.S. government as to its weight of 1 oz (31.1032 grams) and purity of .999 fine silver.
Over time the bullion coins became as widely collected as the Proofs and various special versions with different finishes and limited mintages were issued later, sometimes in special anniversary sets.
Until 1992, the Proofs were produced at the San Francisco Mint, then they shifted production to the Philadelphia Mint from 1993 to 2000, and since 2001 the coins have been made at the West Point Mint. In addition, coins with an “S” mintmark were also part of the 2011 and 2012 anniversary sets, including the 2011-S burnished uncirculated coin and 2012-S Reverse Proof.
The 2018-S Proof coin is the first Proof coin to be offered individually since 1992, which is part of what made it one of the most anticipated releases of the year.
The coin is also offered in the 2018 Limited Edition Proof Set, which includes all the silver Proof coins issued this year, and should have a maximum mintage of 50,000 sets, if it is the same as previous sets of this type.
Last year the Mint also offered a Proof struck at San Francisco as part of the 2017 Congratulations Set, limited to 75,000 units, and the 2017 Limited Edition Proof Set, the first of those sets to include a Proof Eagle produced at the San Francisco Mint, which had sales of 48,906 sets.
The 2017-S, with a mintage of 123,906, is already one of the keys to the series as one of the lowest Proof issues.
ModernCoinMart still has some of the 2017-S coins graded Proof 70 by NGC with the signature of former Chief Engraver Elizabeth Jones, who was at the Mint when the Silver Eagle program was launched and supervised the first few years of the program:
This year collectors are eager to find out how many of the 2018-S Proofs will be sold, which is expected to have an impact on the market value of the 2017-S Proof.
Today about half a billion Silver Eagle coins exist, which means the coin has surpassed the mighty Morgan dollar as the most widely-struck American coin ever.
The remarkable success of the Silver Eagle and its prominent place in modern numismatics has a great deal to do with the widely-admired design of the coin that combines something old and something new.
The obverse of the coin features what is probably the most popular design to appear on a classic American silver coin: the image of a confident, striding, full-length Lady Liberty carrying a bouquet of laurel and oak in one hand and draped in the American flag, walking toward the rising sun, representing the dawn of a new day. Her other hand is outstretched, as if to bestow freedom.
This iconic numismatic masterpiece is the creation of Adolph Weinman, one of the greatest American sculptors, also known for his architectural and monumental works.
Weinman’s defiant and patriotic Lady Liberty first appeared in 1916 on the Walking Liberty half dollar, which was issued through 1947. It was issued as Europe was at war, while the U.S. remained neutral until 1917, when it entered the war.
For the first few years Weinman’s Liberty, which the artist created on a six-inch diameter master plaster, much smaller than what is used today, was used on the Silver Eagle without modifications.
But after some years, the Mint told sculptor-engraver John Mercanti (who would become Chief Engraver in 2006) that they needed to see more detail on the coin due to fill problems, which relate to modeling the design.
Detail modifications were made by Mercanti by defining the stars in the flag, the oak leaves, the lines in Liberty’s skirt, and her sandals. To add those details Mercanti had to enlarge Weinman’s plaster model using modern techniques, which resulted in some technical challenges.
The reverse, the design that Mercanti is best known for, shows what he calls “a formal, forward-facing” heraldic eagle with its wings spread that is reminiscent of the presidential seal. He created this design as well as one in which the eagle was turned slightly to the right, but the first one was selected and required no modifications.
He also says that he chose this eagle so that it would be different from the types of eagle designs that had appeared on American coins previously, which often were soaring or flying eagles.
Over time, with the introduction of digital technology and later laser proof polishing, the quality of the strikes of the coin improved, which is why there is such a difference between the population of top-graded Mint State and Proof 70 coins from the earlier years (which are very scarce) and those of more recent years, which are seen more often.
The U.S. Mint released the 2018-S American Silver Eagle Proof coin on August 14, so order your selection now from ModernCoinMart!