American Silver Eagles are coins produced from pure silver by the United States Government. Their silver content is guaranteed to be at least 99.9% pure according to Wikipedia, and their value is $1.
Some coins are circulated, while others are kept pure for collectors and not entered into circulation. The coins feature two figures. One is a walking statue of liberty with a setting sun, LIBERTY above her head, and the year of minting below her feet.
The other side shows an eagle (hence the name). This eagle holds a banner in its beak. The inscription reads ‘E Pluribus Unum.’ The words ‘In God We Trust,’ ‘United States of America,’ and ‘1oz. Fine Silver – One Dollar’ are inscribed here also. The eagle holds a shield and an olive branch while above his head are thirteen stars representing the thirteen U.S. colonies.
Right now, consumers are planning to use their silver coins to invest in retirement savings. In fact, demand began to outweigh supply during the recession so that Silver Eagle coins were hard to come by and their distribution was ‘rationed.’
Originally, the sale of these coins was seen as a type of governmental fundraising plan to reduce the national debt. Three mints have produced the coins so far: Philadelphia, San Francisco and West Point. They bear a ‘P,’ ‘S,’ or ‘W’ respectively to prove what they are and where they came from if they were produced during certain years. There are also years where no proof mark is present.
During many times in history, American coinage has followed the influences of the nation’s political climate. Few pieces model this trend with greater detail than the Standing Liberty Quarters issued by the US Mint between 1916 and 1930. Originally cast during the height of the First World War — but before the US committed soldiers to the conflict — they envisage an America ready and willing to defend and protect herself, as the ancient Greek figure of Liberty holds a shield in one hand with an olive branch in the other. Today, this set of quarters is highly desired by collectors for not only its reflection on the Republic’s attitude towards conflict but also due to a certain minting error that has created a sub-set of rare coins.
Just as in the case of stamps printed upside-down having more value than their straight-forward counterparts, coins that have been subject to improper manufacturing possess more value for their rarity. The quarters that have the 1918/7-S overdate, as such, are some of the more valuable pieces in the entire 20th century coin collecting world, each one worth upwards of three thousand dollars. The overdate resulted from two separate printing types overlapping on the coin’s date, so that it appears jumbled. This overdate is only one of several key quarters that have printing errors, with coins like the 1920-S and the 1927-S (the latter of which being nearly impossible to find with a struck head upon the statue of Liberty) also worth far more than the standard issue coins.
Experts who inspect these rare coins to determine the veracity of their value have several points to look for. For instance, the right knee of the statue has a different angle, while the left side of the eagle opposite the statue will show wear due to the printing process. The “full head” coins that are worth the most must have at least three visible olive leaves in Liberty’s hair, while the indentation of the statue’s ear must be present.
These quarters lasted up until the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. The quarter we use today replaced the Liberty design.
The Draped Bust Silver Dollar was first minted in 1795 and continued to be produced through the turn of the century. The silver coin is named after the image of an unknown model with a partially draped bust prominently featured.
This silver coin was designed by Gilbert Stuart in an attempt to show the maturing of the United States. The coin was meant to depict the maturation of a young Lady Liberty from the previous Flowing Hair coin. In addition, the original one donned a smaller eagle that was changed to a larger sized eagle in 1798. Along with maturity, the country made a statement about the stance on war as well by placing an arrow in the right claw, leaving the olive branch for peace to be on the less honorable side.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, silver had become rare for the U.S. mint and thus in the early 1800’s there was a stop in the production of these silver coins. While the last year these coins were minted was 1806, it was believed that the last date was 1804, making this year the most rare and valuable of the series. This coin was actually minted several decades later through a series of fortuitous circumstances that created a curiosity and a significant rarity.
Coin collectors who own examples from the earliest years of American money making are very fortunate. Items such as the silver Flowing Hair Half Dimes are associated with legends and history from the beginning of American independence. There were fewer than 8,000 of these half dimes struck bearing the date 1794, all of them made in 1795. Roughly ten times as many 1795-dated coins were also struck. Many of them are not very distinct owing to minting equipment of the time. To find any quality of 1794 coin is extremely fortunate as they are exceedingly rare.
It is typical for half dimes to lack the distinct detail of coins minted less than 40 years later. Their features tend to flatten, so that the locks of Liberty’s hair, the fifteen stars around her head, or the feathers on the Eagle underneath the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are not as feathery as they are in more recently minted coins. It is typical to see filing marks on these coins since they had to be adjusted to meet weight requirements.
Just making the coins in the first place was considered a symbol of liberation from colonial control. Simply rejecting the confusing English system of coinage was an act of political importance. When the coins were first designed in 1792, there was not even a mint in America. Those designed by Robert Scot and produced in 1795 were struck in Philadelphia. They are an inexpensive start to a new coin collection.
Junk silver often describes the coins that come with no numismatic monetary value. The worth of these coins is based on the composition of metal that makes them up. Years ago, dimes and quarters were made of silver and copper. Since silver is considered a precious metal, the coins are worth their equal value in this metal.
Today, investors understand that junk silver can find a home in their portfolios. When the economy is suffering, people usually invest in gold and silver coins. The current price of silver is on the rise, making these coins valuable. To compare, the US dollar has almost lost all of its value in the last century. This decline makes it simple to comprehend why investors buy these silver coins.
There are various methods that an investor can purchase these coins. Some buy real coins while others choose paper investments. People choosing mutual investments should talk with an expert adviser. Even though silver is a safe investment, mutual funds come with a higher risk. Investors must be aware of all options and possible downfalls, before doing business with mutual funds. In the end, junk coins may be a hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered.