None of the major grading services will be encapsulating 2015
American Eagle silver bullion coins as Philadelphia Mint strikes without concrete
evidence that the coins were actually struck there.
Currently, no such supporting documentation is known.
All of the American Eagle silver bullion coins struck with the 2015
date are reported as West Point Mint strikes, even though U.S. Mint
officials acknowledge a few silver American Eagles were struck at Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Mint strikes were shipped to authorized purchasers
in boxes with straps labeled as West Point Mint production.
While no 2015 silver bullion coins were being offered with grading
service labels indicating a Philadelphia Mint origin, one longtime
collector of silver American Eagles asked Coin World how any of the
grading services can label which facility struck a specific coin. He
had purchased a 2015 example with a label indicating a West Point Mint
origin, prompting his questions.
“Why isn’t anyone asking third party graders the tough questions
about the introduction of Philadelphia struck ASE bullion coins, and
if they plan to stop offering this service because they cannot
guarantee the mint of origin,” the collector asked Coin World
“It’s my understanding that the (P) struck ASE bullion coins were
sent out with straps that identified them as (W) West Point minted
coins and then delivered to West Point for distribution elsewhere. If
these were delivered to third party graders, they were being certified
as (W) minted coins when they were not!
“I’m an avid collector of ASEs and have already purchased an NGC
graded 2015 (W) ASE bullion coin. How does NGC or any other grader
know if this is really a West Point coin — it could very well be a
(P). Doesn’t this compromise the integrity of their product? Shouldn’t
they stop offering this particular designation?”
In response to the reader’s questions, Coin World queried
representatives of Professional Coin Grading Service, Numismatic Guaranty
and Independent Coin
Graders as to how they are grading and encapsulating the 2015
American Eagle silver bullion coins.
Max Spiegel, vice president of sales and marketing for Certified
Collectibles Group, Numismatic Guaranty Corp.’s parent, said NGC is
grading and encapsulating 2015 American Eagle silver bullion coins
according to the U.S. Mint’s documentation.
“All of the Silver Eagle monster boxes are sealed with straps that
say ‘WEST POINT MINT’ and the stickers on the box also indicate West
Point as the mint of origin,” Spiegel said via email.
“If the U.S. Mint treats these coins as West Point issues, we
believe that it is similarly appropriate to attribute these as West
Point on the label,” Spiegel added.
Miles Standish, senior grader and vice president for PCGS, said via
email the grading service is not certifying any of the 2015 American
Eagle silver bullion coin production as Philadelphia Mint strikes
because the U.S. Mint is not providing any supporting documentation.
ICG numismatist F. Michael “Skip” Fazzari said via email: “We slab
them as generic 2015 silver Eagles UNLESS they come in a sealed box
with known Mint source.”
Fazzari suggests the collector who queried Coin World do a die study
to attempt to prove where each coin was actually minted.
Paul DeFelice, ANACS’s vice president of marketing and client
relations, said by phone March 2 that ANACS has been labeling the
silver American Eagles it grades with a standard label inside the
holder that does not indicate Mint of origin. Customers have requested
designations as either (W) or (P), DeFelice said, but the grading
service is not doing so unless there is definitive proof of the Mint
that produced them.
DeFelice said he does not foresee ANACS grading and encapsulating
any of the 2015 American Eagle silver bullion coins with a label
reading (P) since the U.S. Mint has not released any supporting documentation.
Silver Eagle output
On Jan. 20, U.S. Mint officials announced that 2015 American Eagle
silver bullion coin production was being executed solely at the West
Point Mint, with no output coming from the Philadelphia or San
United States Mint
officials did an about-face on Feb. 6 when they announced that 2015
American Eagle silver bullion coins produced to that date included
70,000 coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint.
American Eagle silver bullion coins are struck without Mint mark,
which means that an individual coin’s Mint of origin cannot be
determined without some sort of additional evidence.
The coins are packaged in plastic “monster” boxes containing 500
coins each that are secured inside 25 tubes of 20 coins each.
The boxes are secured shut with straps, which generally are
imprinted with the Mint of origin.
In the case of the 70,000 Philadelphia Mint strikes, West Point
Mint-imprinted straps were sent from West Point to Philadelphia. The
Philadelphia Mint-struck coins were packaged in boxes secured with
West Point Mint straps.
The Philadelphia Mint coins were then shipped from the Philadelphia
facility to the West Point Mint for eventual pickup at the New York
facility by authorized purchasers.
The Philadelphia Mint-struck coins were among the first 2015 silver
American Eagles to leave the West Point Mint in the hands of
The Philadelphia Mint strikes were also the first silver bullion
American Eagles struck there since the bullion coins were introduced
in November 1986.
The United States Mint does not sell silver American Eagle bullion
coins directly to the public. The coins are sold to a network of authorized purchasers who offer a two-way market.
The coins are purchased based on the closing London PM spot price on
a given day plus a premium of $2 per coin.
The coins may then be resold at a further premium to other dealers
and the public.
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