The Proof Silver Eagle is a collectible version of the popular bullion coins produced by the United States Mint. The coins have been issued each year from 1986 to 2008, and then from 2010 to present. The coins have become a favorite of coin collectors. Many have assembled complete collections of the series by date and eagerly await the each year’s release.
The coins contain one ounce of .999 fine silver and are struck through a specialized minting process. Burnished coin blanks are fed into presses fitted with special dies. The coins are struck multiple times to bring up the full details of the coins. Like all modern proof coins, the Proof Silver Eagles feature frosted raised design elements over mirrored backgrounds. This creates a cameo effect where the design seems to float on a liquid-like field.
The American Silver Eagle Proof Coins are sold directly by the United States Mint to the public. The coins have been packaged in protective capsules and placed within velvet, satin lined cases with a certificate of authenticity. The issue price of the coins has varied with the prevailing price of silver. For some years, a maximum authorized mintage level was established.
Regular issue Proof Silver Eagles were produced at the San Francisco Mint from 1986 to 1992, at the Philadelphia Mint from 1993 to 2000, and at the West Point Mint from 2001 to present. In 1995, a special version of the coin was produced at the West Point Mint for inclusion within the 10th Anniversary Gold Eagle Proof Set. This coin carries the “W” mint mark as opposed to the standard issues which carries the “P” mint mark. The 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle represents the key date of the series with a mintage of just 30,125 coins.