The Silver Half Dollar's Blog

13 Oct 2016

The American Eagle Program

Young Numismatists Exchange | The Silver Half Dollar

            The American Eagle Program contains gold, silver, and platinum coins.  American Eagle coins provide investments, beautiful coins, and a way to easily own precious metals.  American Eagle coins are not the same as the quarter-eagles ($2.50), half-eagles ($5.00), eagles ($10), and double-eagles ($20).   Even though these coins are legal-tender they typically sell at a high premium above their melt and face value combined. 

            These beautiful coins used to be minted in Philadelphia, but are currently minted in West Point, New York.  American Eagles are usually graded MS or PF (PR for PCGS) 69-70.

            In 1985, Congress authorized the minting of Silver and Gold Eagles.  The first Silver and Gold Eagles were minted in 1986.  In 1995, Congress authorized the mintage of Platinum Eagles.  Two years later, the first Platinum Eagle was minted.

            Silver Eagles were authorized by Title II of Public Law 99-61 (Liberty Coin Act) which was approved on July 9, 1985.  They were codified as 31 U.S.C. § 5112(e)-(h).         

              The obverse shows the Walking Liberty design, which was originally created by Adolph A. Weinman.  The obverse also shows the year of striking, the word LIBERTY, and the phrase IN GOD WE TRUST. 

The reverse, which depicts a detailed eagle behind a shield, was designed by John Mercanti.  On the eagle's wings, there are two banners that say E PLURIBUS UNUM.  In one talon is an olive branch. Below the olive branch is the mint mark. In the other talon there are six arrows.  Under the six arrows are the designer's initials, JM.  Above the eagle's head are 13 stars in an inverted triangular shape, representing the 13 original colonies.  Around the outside of this great coin are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and 1 OZ. FINE SILVER - ONE DOLLAR.

Gold Eagles were authorized by the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985.  The mint makes Gold eagles in tenth-ounce (face value of $5), quarter-ounce ($10), half-ounce ($25), and one ounce ($50). 

            The 1 ounce Gold Eagle's obverse shows Lady Liberty walking over the Capital building, and holding a torch and an olive branch. Around the outside of the coin's obverse there are 50 stars representing the 50 states.  The obverse also has the word LIBERTY, year of mintage, W (West Point mint mark), and rays.  It is made in uncirculated and proof finishes.

            The reverse shows an eagle with an olive branch in its talons flying above its nest.  The nest contains a second eagle and an eaglet.  At the top of the reverse, there are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Also on the coin are the words IN GOD WE TRUST, E PLURIBUS UNUM, and 1 OZ. FINE GOLD ~ 50 DOLLARS.  Under the nest, there are the initials JW and MB. 

            The Platinum Eagle is issued in $10 tenth-ounce, $25 quarter-ounce, $50 half-ounce, and $100 one-ounce denominations. 

            The one-ounce coin always has the same obverse (besides the year), but changes its reverse every year.  The reverse always reads UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, W (mint mark), $100, .9995 PLATINUM, and 1 oz.

            The coins always share the same obverse and reverse of the corresponding year (other than denomination and size.)

            It is expensive to collect the Gold and Platinum Eagles (even in low grades), while non-key Silver Eagles are inexpensive.  American Eagles are popular bullion for many people.  There are many reasons to own an American Eagle coin. 






A Guide Book of United States Coins 2016, 69th Edition by R.S. Yeoman, Kenneth Bressett, Q. David Bowers, and Jeff Garrett

Note: I was unable to get a consistent font size when I posted this.  I originally wrote this article in Microsoft Word for the YN Literary contest, and copied the text to the blog.  The font was consistent in Microsoft Word, however the it did not stay consistent after copying and pasting.


Tincup 2019

Level 2

I really enjoyed this article. Thanks for taking the time to post it.


Level 6

Very nice to own. I like the silver eagles myself.


Level 6

I know I have my fair share of American Silver Eagles! : ) Great blog! Thanks!


Level 4

Thanks for posting this info.


Level 7

Nice information however the eagle program is a bullion program. I don't believe there legal tender. Wikapida articles are sometimes out of date books are better. Good research though thanks.


Level 5

Nice article. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight.

Interesting article. Did you write this for the YN Literary Contest this year?


Level 7

Always liked them there in a class by themselves thanks.


Level 6

Nice research. They are beautiful coins.


Level 6

Great blog. I personally enjoy collecting Silver American Eagles, SAE. Well researched and sourced. Sourcing is always a good idea. Otherwise some people think you just copy/pasted. I know, but it happens a lot! Just my opinion, I could be wrong! Thanks!!

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