Fun Facts about the American Silver Eagle Coin

The American Silver Eagle is considered the United States’ official silver bullion coin, and it’s one of the most popular silver bullion coins worldwide. Its budget-friendly price makes it an excellent choice for young coin collectors to begin investing in precious metals.

Let’s explore facts about this majestic-looking coin.

Coin Type

The American Silver Eagle is a silver bullion coin, uncirculated. Bullion essentially means it’s mainly purchased as an investment, rather than as a collectors’ item (numismatic). Its value is based more on metal content rather than rarity, where as a numismatic’s value is based more on rarity. The Silver Eagle is 99.9% pure silver.

“Uncirculated” means that this coin is not used to publicly buy things, but rather, its purpose is strictly for precious metals investing. Although the Silver Eagle is manufactured by the U.S. Government, it’s not legal tender like a 10 dollar bill.


The U.S. Mint has produced the American Silver Eagle coin yearly since 1986.

Coin Weight and Face Value

Made of 99.9% pure silver bullion, the coin weighs 1 troy ounce and has a $1 face value.

Coin Front Design

Adolph A. Weinman created the beautiful front design for the original Walking Liberty Half Dollar made of 90% silver that was minted from 1916 to 1947. Known as “Walking Liberty” the design features Lady Liberty walking confidently toward the sun with her arm outstretched and dress flowing in the wind. The design has always been a collector favorite.

Coin Rear Design

Sculptor John Mercanti designed the rear image of the coin. It shows a handsome heraldic eagle with a shield clutching arrows and an olive branch in its talons—copying the Great Seal of the United States. Thirteen stars above the eagle represent America’s original 13 colonies.

Brief History of the American Silver Eagle Coin

Our country’s federal government has a Defense National Stockpile Center (DNSC), which is a branch of the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. The National Stockpile was created after World War II to make sure we had enough important materials to for our military and industries at times of national emergency, such as war. It stores and secures diamonds, silver, platinum group metals, zinc and other raw materials. It’s like our nation’s treasure chest.

When our government has a lot of one material in the stockpile that’s not being used and they need money for other things, like defense programs, they sell it. In the case of the American Silver Eagle coin, there was more silver than needed so our National Stockpile decided to sell.

In 1985, U.S. Senator McClure created an amendment known as the “Liberty Coin Act” to bill H.R. 47, the “Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Commemorative Coin Act” which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue silver bullion coins by purchasing from the stockpile. The Senate agreed to his amendment, and the first American Silver Eagle coin was struck in San Francisco on October 29, 1986.

Why Kids Want to Buy an American Silver Eagle Coin

American Eagle silver bullion coins are an affordable way for kids to invest in precious metals. Later in life, children can include these coins in an IRA retirement account and gain tax benefits, too.

The silver coins can be purchased individually or in what’s called a monster box of 500.