No Philadelphia Mint labels on certified 2015 American Eagle silver bullion coins without documentation

Supporting evidence currently unknown
By , Coin World
Published : 03/12/15
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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 via email. 

“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?”

Grading services

In response to the reader’s questions, Coin World queried representatives of Professional Coin Grading Service, Numismatic Guaranty Corp., ANACS 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 Francisco Mints.

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 authorized purchasers.

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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