Tips For Buying Silver Eagle Coins As Bullion Or As Collectible Coins

Silver-Eagle-proof-obverse-photo-public-domain-on-Wikipedia.png United States silver eagles are 1-ounce silver bullion coins that are usually bought, sold, and traded for a price very close to the current metal value.

The first silver eagles are dated 1986 and have been a regular U.S. Mint release since then.

The obverse of the Silver Eagle may look familiar to more seasoned coin collectors.

It’s none other than the widely declared most beautiful design ever placed on a coin: Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty, which graced the half dollar from 1916 to 1947.


Silver Eagle Coin Values

Silver eagles are struck in both uncirculated and proof formats and are sold by the U.S. Mint and private coin dealers.

Silver eagles, as bullion coins, are extremely popular among investors because prices fluctuate very closely with prevailing silver prices. As silver prices have risen in recent years, so have the values of silver eagle bullion coins.

Uncirculated silver eagles are generally less expensive than proof versions and are often favored by investors because their values are much closer to the relative bullion value.

Proof versions of silver eagles, while also popular with investors, have a large following among coin collectors. Some proof issues are relatively scarce, and demand high premiums over the prices of uncirculated specimens from the same year.


Grading Silver Eagle Coins

Many silver eagles have been slabbed by grading services. These silver eagles normally receive grades of Mint-State 67 or Proof-67 and higher.

If you are purchasing silver eagles for bullion investment, you are probably best buying typical-quality uncirculated silver eagles.

Typical, uncirculated silver eagles in grades Mint State-60 through Mint State-63 are those which cost the closest to the silver bullion price (aside from any worn or impaired silver eagles you may find on the market).

Slabbed high-grade examples and proof silver eagles (which are highly desirable collector coins) cost far more than average uncirculated silver eagles. It is fair to say that most high-grade silver eagles and proof silver eagles are priced more accordingly to the coin collector and investor market, rather than the bullion market.

Prices for silver eagles can fluctuate daily. To find current silver values, check out a site like APMEX , which has up-to-date bullion values.


Scarce Silver Eagles

While most silver eagles (especially uncirculated examples) are highly common, there are some scarce dates.

Following are some of the scarce uncirculated and proof dates in the silver eagles series. Prices for these dates tend to follow collector demand rather than direct silver bullion fluctuations.

  • 1996: $57 to $110 in Mint State-63 through Mint State-69
  • 2006-W*: $50 to $575 in Mint State-63 through Mint State-70
  • 2006-W 20th Anniversary: $65 to $2,000 in Mint State-63 through Mint State-70
  • 2006-W 20th Anniversary First Strike: $90 to $3,250 in Mint State-63 through Mint State-70
  • 2008-W Reverse of 2007 $1 Eagle: $375 to $2,100 in Mint State-63 through Mint State-70
  • 2008-W Reverse of 2007 First Strike: $430 to $2,500 in Mint State-63 through Mint State-70
  • 1993-P DCAM Proof**: $100 to $4,500 in Proof-63 through Proof-70
  • 1994-P DCAM Proof: $175 to $3,000 in Proof-63 through Proof-70
  • 1995-P DCAM Proof: $127 to $1,300 in Proof-63 through Proof-70
  • 1995-W DCAM Proof: $3,700 to $35,000 in Proof-63 through Proof-70
  • 1996-P DCAM Proof: $80 to $1,200 in Proof-63 through Proof-70
  • 1997-P DCAM Proof: $80 to $1,275 in Proof-62 through Proof-70
  • 2006-P 20th Anniversary DCAM Proof: $170 to $650 in Proof-63 through Proof-70
  • 2006-P Reverse of 20th Anniversary DCAM Proof: $180 to $1,200 in Proof 63 through Proof-70

*”W” is the mint mark for West Point, New York.

**DCAM is the widely used acronym for Deep Cameo Proof, or a coin with frosted images and mirror-like backgrounds (also called fields).


Buying Silver Eagle Coins

American-Silver-Eagle-proof-reverse-photo-public-domain-on-Wikimedia.jpgMost coin dealers sell both uncirculated and proof versions of silver eagles. There are also many bullion brokers who sell and help facilitate the sale of silver eagles.

The United States Mint sells uncirculated and proof versions of current silver eagles. You can visit the U.S. Mint’s site.

To find out more about silver eagle prices, check out the Professional Coin Grading Service‘s price guide.

More About Silver Coins

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, and living green with others.

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Fun From Around the Web

  • Brian Curran

    Do you have an article on selling back 1 oz silve eagles and silver bars? I’m wondering what I could expect to get paid over spot for each of these standard types of silver bullion. Ultimately I’m trying to determine the best return on my investment in silver bullion, for future purchases.



    • Anonymous

      Hi, Brian —

      Unfortunately we don’t yet have an article specifically focusing on the sale of silver bars and bullion coins to coin dealers.

      While I can’t provide any investment advice, I can say anecdotally that silver bullion coins generally bring somewhere between 3 to 10% return over spot, as I have witnessed both from my personal experience and in hearing about what others have gotten when selling bullion coins. Though, those amounts vary both on the dealer and, in many cases, the number of pieces being sold at one time.

      Are your coins proofs or uncirculated? Proofs tend to bring a slightly higher return over spot than uncirculated (but proof bullion coins also cost more to buy).

      Silver bars will probably be bought for at spot or just a tad above. That’s because silver bars are usually the most efficient way to buy, store, and sell bullion; it, however, also lacks the collector market bullion coins have.

      I hope this helps at least a bit.

      • james

        Thank you for the information, im just getting started in this new hobby /investment.what is the value of a Burnished coin over the rest though?

  • Marian Timmons

    I have a 2004 1oz fine silver one dollar coin in the case, want to know it’s value.

    • Anonymous


      Your 2004 1-ounce silver coin is worth around $35 to $40.

  • Ron

    I’ve noticed many arguents over the slabbed MS69 and MS70 25th Anniversary Silver Eagles lately…which year is the REAL 25th? 2010 or 2011? Many companys selling both years as the 25th! Pls advise…

    • Anonymous


      Great question! The answer comes in knowing this: the FIRST American Silver Eagle was dated 1986. Now, technically, the 2010 ASE is the twenty-fifth consecutive year of the series — just like an annual event that first started in 1986 would have held its 25th gathering in 2010. However, a child born in 1986 would be celebrating a 25th birthday in 2011…

      In other words, the 2010 is the 25th ASE, but 2011 marks the 25th ANNIVERSARY of the ASE program.

      I hope this makes sense.

      If you want my answer, I’d probably buy the 2010, because that year marks the striking of the 25th coin in the annual ASE series.

  • Ron

    Regarding slabbed silver eagles…pls explain the differences between all the different/meanings importance if any of the colored labels…red, blue, black brown etc.

    • Anonymous

      Are you referring to the silver eagles that come in packages from the U.S. Mint or those which have grades listed on the labels (like Ms-69, PF-68, etc.)?

      In either case, if it’s what I think you’re referring to (the color of the presentation box in the case of coins straight from the Mint), over the course of many years, the U.S. Mint had different color presentation cases for coins in proof condition.

      Please let me know if this is what you’re referring to or not so I can further clarify if necessary…

  • Ron

    I’m trying to figure out why some slabbed graded coins have red labels, some have blue labels and some have black or brown? Is there a guide we can all referr to? Would be nice to know WHY the labels/inserts are different colors. I see them on various slabs…anniversary, as well as first strikes or first issue…so what determines which coin gets what color? Some even have yellow or green and there is no special event happening…pls clarify.

    • Anonymous


      The “first strike” or “first issue” designation you see on certain slabs refers to a group of coins that is claimed to have been among the first struck of the design during a certain year. However, it’s important to know that there is a lot of hype built around coins billed as first strikes, and any additional value these coins may have is really only because of the supposed novelty of having a coin that may have been among the first 10,000 or even 100,000 (or more) struck in a year.

      As for colored inserts, there isn’t a particular industry-wide standard used for deciding what coins get what color labels; such things are usually dictated within a given company and, for example a blue label on a coin from company X may not mean the same thing as a blue label from company Y.

      In fact, you may be surprised to learn that even the grade one coin receives can be different between company X and company y.

  • Mote Motola

    Hi, I just purchased 10 new 2014 silver eagles from apmex and they all have some strange semi frosted circular patterns to them on both sides mostly visible and blending with the shiny portions in the fields. Is this considered normal variations from the mint and is this good or bad on the future value.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Mote –

      The frosty patches are often resultant from the striking of the coin and indicate that they are uncirculated, but perhaps you have something a little more eye catching than usual?

      If you’d like to submit a photo as an example I’ll be glad to look at it and see if it is just luster or something else.


  • Jessica Phillips Borkowski

    I have been buying the american eagle silver dollars for my daughter as an annual christmas gift. I have been getting the proof graded 70 mostly for a cool collection for her in time. My question is…Does it matter from a value or collectable standpoint if I buy them from the us mint itself vs a private dealer who has graded it? I have seen this years mint price is 59$ (today) but some private vendors have them for 45-50$; are these different some how? does the label matter for value or validity–star vs bald eagle label etc… I dont know much about it so any basic info is very helpful.

    Thanks so much

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Great question, Jessica –

      The short answer is that a Proof 70 American silver eagle has the same value no matter from whom you buy it or where you found it. In recent years, there has been a push to sell so-called “First Strike” silver eagles, which are purported to be rare or somehow more valuable than later strikes, but in reality the U.S. Mint may strike 50,000 to 100,000 silver eagles on the first day of production for a given year, so there are many, many “First Strike” coins out there; the same goes for similar coins packaged by the U.S. Mint.

      I’d suggest that if you want to buy your daughter high-grade silver eagles on an annual basis (and that’s a wonderful thing to do, by the way), buying them graded from a private coin dealer is just fine. If you want to ensure you’re buying a high-grade piece, many dealers offer silver eagles encapsulated by coin grading firms such as PCGS and NGC. These are HIGHLY reputable coin certification companies, and I’d take their word any day that the “Proof 70″ coin inside their holders really is a “Proof 70.”

      Good luck!

  • Nick

    Joshua, Thanks for all the information. I am curious to know the difference and any value impact it might have for a Silver Eagle and one listed as a “Reverse”?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Nick –

      You’re welcome, and yes, there is a value difference between a “regular proof” silver eagle and one listed as a “reverse proof.” The reverse proof specimens were made via a special process that creates frosted fields and mirror-like design devices. Based on the year, the reverse silver eagles are worth $100 to $300 or more, versus $50 to $70 for a more typical proof silver eagle.


  • Elaine

    I’m new to collecting but want to do it for long term investment. Which silver coins do you recommend for this investment? I started collecting Morgan dollars and 2014 silver eagle dollars non graded. Is this a good start?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Elaine —

      Investing in coins can be a great way to hopefully pickup profits over the longterm, but I always advise caution when using coins solely for investment purposes. In my lifetime I’ve lived through two huge silver busts (In the 1980s, and 2011-present).

      Rare coins depreciated quickly in the 1990s after a huge run in the 1980s. So, what I will say is this — Morgan dollars are a classic series with an always present collector/investor market, but they, too, have seen declines over the years (notably late-1989 through 2001).

      You might find this link VERY helpful; it covers historical values of Morgan dollars going back to the 1960s. You’ll see the highs, lows, and how certain dates have performed over the course of time:

      If you like Morgan dollars, by all means buy them with the hope of seeing profits. But realize that losses can and do happen in the rare coin market as the economy experiences highs and lows.

      I hope find this reply helpful!

      • Elaine

        Thanks for getting back to me with my questions. My goal is to buy a portfolio of silver besides Morgan dollars do you think silver bars would be a wise investment?