Home » Precious Metals to Invest In: The American Silver Eagle

Precious Metals to Invest In: The American Silver Eagle

by Paul-Martin Foss

Gold isn’t the only precious metal favored by investors in times of stock market weakness or financial crisis. Silver is still greatly in demand by investors, and it’s often referred to as “poor man’s gold.” Not every person has a few thousand dollars to drop on gold coins, but $50-100 to spend on a few silver coins is well within the financial grasp of many more people.

One of the most popular investments today is the American Silver Eagle bullion coin. With the last US silver dollars having been produced in the mid-1930s (with the exception of some 1964-dated dollars that were all destroyed), Americans hadn’t seen a large format silver coin in decades. With growing interest in gold and silver in the United States, however, Congress directed the US Mint to begin production of gold and silver bullion coins in 1986.

The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States of America. First minted in 1986 and issued by the US Mint, this coin has become the standard by which other silver bullion coins are judged. With over 500 million Silver Eagles having been produced so far, it remains one of the most highly desired silver bullion coins by both investors and numismatists.

The obverse of the Silver Eagle is taken from Adolph A. Weinman’s design for the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Considered one of the most beautiful coin designs in American history and much beloved by the American public, the design features Lady Liberty striding confidently towards the dawn of a new day. In her arms are oak and laurel branches, signifying both civil and military power. The reverse of the Silver Eagle features a design by famed US Mint engraver John Mercanti, featuring a heraldic eagle carrying an olive branch and arrows. Above the eagle are thirteen stars, representing the Thirteen Colonies.

The Silver Eagle contains one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver and has a legal tender face value of $1, although as with any precious metal bullion coin the value of its metal content is worth far more than its face value. Because silver coins are cheaper than gold and thus in high demand from investors, premia are correspondingly higher. Where you could expect to pay about a 5% premium over spot for gold bullion coins, you should expect to pay at least a 25% premium for silver coins.

As with the Gold American Eagle coins, the Silver American Eagle coins are eligible for investment as part of a silver IRA or precious metals IRA. That allows you to use pre-tax dollars or roll over existing retirement assets tax-free in order to invest in silver. You can then benefit from the tax advantages of an IRA account while still investing in silver. And once you decide to or are required to take a distribution, you can take that distribution in cash or in silver coins.

Coin Specifications

  • Weight: 1.00 troy oz (31.103 g)
  • Purity: 0.999
  • Silver Content: 0.999 troy oz
  • Diameter: 40.6 mm
  • Thickness: 2.98 mm

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