What You Need to Know Before You Sell Silver Eagles

What You Need to Know Before You Sell Silver Eagles

American silver eagles are some of the most recognized and desirable pure silver coins available in the market today. That said, before you sell silver eagles, there are some things that you should know, as not all silver eagles are created alike.

In fact, there are three varieties of American silver eagles and some dates that are worth a premium above and beyond the spot price or the silver value of the coins. We’ll discuss each of the three varieties of silver eagles and will share some of the history and specifications of the coins.

History of Silver Eagles

Sell Silver Eagles
American Silver Eagle

We’ll first begin with the history of the coins. Title II of Public Law 99-61, which was known as the Liberty Coin Act, was approved by Congress on July 9, 1985. The act authorized the issuance of American gold and silver eagle coins, which were first produced by the United States Mint in 1986, and have been issued annually since that time. To this day, American silver eagle coins are still the only official silver bullion coin of the United States.

The coins depict an image of Walking Liberty on the obverse and a Heraldic eagle on the reverse side of the coin. They contain exactly one troy ounce of silver and have a face value of $1, which means that they’re considered U.S. legal tender. Furthermore, they’re guaranteed by the U.S. government to contain the specified purity and weight of the coins.

Types of Silver Eagles

Beginning in the first year of issuance, the U.S. Mint also issued a proof version of the American silver eagle. While standard uncirculated versions of the coin are considered bullion coins, which means that the value of the coins is based on their precious metals content, proof American silver eagles trade for more than their underlying silver content. They are viewed as numismatic or collectible coins.

Numismatic means that they’re bought and sold not only for their silver content, but also for the collectible value of the coins. These coins are especially popular among coin collectors. The lowest mintage bullion silver eagle was minted in 1996, while the lowest minted proof silver eagle was minted in 1995 by the West Point Mint.

The 1995-W silver eagle proof only had a mintage of approximately 30,000 coins, and has a value that exceeds $2,000. Certified versions of this coin can reach the five figures. Other lower mintage proof silver eagles are the:

  • 2011-P reverse proof silver eagles with a mintage of 99,882
  • 2006-P reverse proof silver eagle with a mintage of 248,000
  • 1994-P proof silver eagle with a mintage of 372,000.

You’ll notice that each of the coins noted above are followed by a letter. The letter signifies where the coin was minted. Silver eagles have been issued at three mints, including:

  1. Philadelphia Mint (P)
  2. San Francisco Mint (S)
  3. West Point Mint (W)

In addition to the varieties noted above, another variety of the silver eagle has been minted from 2006 through current, with the exception of 2009 and 2010. These variety coins are referred to as “burnished” coins, which means that a special dye was prepared, giving them a matte-like finish.

Due to the process of creating a burnished coin being more time intensive, as well as, mintage runs of these coins are less than standard American silver eagle bullion coins, they are bought and sold at slightly higher prices than bullion silver eagles.

How Silver Eagles are Packaged

The three varieties of American silver eagles noted above are packaged and shipped from the mint in three ways. Standard silver eagle bullion coins are packaged in U.S. Mint coin tubes, which hold 20 coins each. Oftentimes, the coins are purchased in what is referred to as “monster boxes,” which contain 25 rolls of 20 coins each.

Monster boxes that come directly from the U.S. Mint are sealed or strapped. The boxes should have a strap lengthwise and widthwise. If sealed, they typically carry a slightly higher premium than boxes that aren’t sealed.

The burnished and proof coins are packaged individually in boxes with a certificate of authenticity. The packaging of the proof silver eagles is more elaborate, as they contain velvet protective cases in which the coins are kept.


If you’re in the market to sell silver eagles, the above information should help you to receive more value for your coins. As a reminder, proof silver eagles are the most valuable of the three varieties of silver eagles. The 1995-W and the 2006-P and 2011-P reverse proof silver eagles contain the highest premiums.

Burnished silver eagles are bought and sold for less than proof silver eagles, but more than bullion silver eagles. Out of the three years minted, the 2006-W burnished silver eagle is the most valuable.

Last but not least, most standard bullion American eagle coins are bought and sold primarily for their silver content and trade near the price of silver. However, the 1996 American silver eagle, which had a mintage of 3.6 million, carries a higher premium than other bullion coins, so be careful to not sell this coin as a standard silver dollar.

Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell American silver eagles, Atlanta Gold & Coin should be your one-stop destination. We regularly deal in all three types of American eagle silver coins that we highlighted above and have the expertise to guide you in your purchases and to help you realize the most value when selling silver eagles. Call us at 404-236-9744, email sales@atlantagoldandcoin.com or reach out to us through our contact form.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis