The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the US. The pattern was unchanged from the first mintage in 1986 until 2008, when the “2007 W Reverse” variety was struck. It is struck in one troy ounce size and has a nominal face value of $1. It is authorized by Title II of Public Law 99-61 (Liberty Coin Act, approved July 9, 1985) and codified as 31 U.S.C. § 5112(e)-(h).
On the front of the coin, Liberty is shown walking with a rising sun behind her (it can also be read as a setting sun, if you’re a pessimist). This pattern was created in 1916 by Adolph A. Weinman and is the same as that found on Walking Liberty Half Dollars. On the silver dollars, it is much larger and clearer. The legend “Liberty” dominates the top edge of the coin from 5 o’clock to 4 o’clock. The date is inscribed at Liberty’s feet.
On the reverse, an eagle is shown with its wings raised around a triangular array of 13 stars. In the eagle’s beak is a banner reading “E Pluribus Unum”. The legend in the upper register reads “United States of America” and the lower register reads “1 Oz. Fine Silver – One Dollar”. This design dates to 1986, and the artist was John Mercanti.
Mintage: 10,539,026 struck in uncirculated (94.21% of this coin were issued in uncirculated instead of proof)
Mint Mark: (W): no mint mark, produced at West Point Mint
Country of origin: United States
Composition: 99.9% silver
Size: 40.6mm (1.598 in) in diameter
Other details: This silver dollar is slabbed by National Numismatic Corporation (NNC) and graded MS-69 with Rainbow Toning. In my opinion, NNC is not one of the top tier grading services, so that grade is more than a little suspect.
The toning on this coin is very dark – while there is a hint of rainbow at the edges of the toned areas, the coin instead seems to be heavily tarnished. Since some “rainbow toned” coins sell at a premium, I’m afraid that this coin may have been intentionally exposed to some chemicals to try and get an aesthetically pleasing effect. In the time that I’ve had the coin, there doesn’t seem to have been any further color change, but I’m keeping an eye on that.
Estimated value: $40-45 with silver at ~$30/ounce