The 2017 American Eagle 1-ounce silver bullion coins have been struck
at the West Point, San Francisco, and Philadelphia Mints.
World has learned that the San Francisco and Philadelphia
Mints also contributed to the West Point Mint’s production of the 2016
American Eagle silver bullion coins.
officials said the San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints were pressed
into production of American Eagle silver bullion coins to augment
stocking an inventory of the coins before sales began in both January
2016 and 2017.
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Just how many silver American Eagles were struck at each of the
facilities for both years is not being disclosed by U.S. Mint
officials. The U.S. Mint reports the sales/production of the American
Eagles silver bullion coins as a single, combined figure.
U.S. Mint officials view the bullion issues as investment coins and
not as collector coins, although collectors do acquire such issues by
date and production facility, if known.
Among the bullion coins, determining which facility struck a
particular coin may be impossible. The bullion coins do not bear the
Mint mark of the facility that produced them. Additionally, as a
cost-cutting measure, the U.S. Mint has converted to a generic UNITED
STATES MINT-imprinted strap for securing the lids on all of the
500-coin green plastic “monster” boxes of tubed coins, regardless of
production facility (before 2017, the Mints used straps bearing an
imprint identifying the production facility).
Nonetheless, Numismatic Guaranty Corp. officials say they
believe they have an idea which coins were struck at which facility,
based partly on the series of numbers that appears on the lid of each
of the monster boxes submitted to the grading service for grading and
encapsulating the coins within.
Coin World forwarded NGC’s information speculating on the
meaning of the numbers on the boxes, but U.S. Mint officials would not
confirm whether the grading service’s hunches are correct.
Coin World has filed Freedom of Information Act requests
seeking disclosure not only of a breakdown in the number of 2016 and
2017 American Eagle silver bullion coins struck at each of the three
Mints, but also a detailed explanation of the numbering system on the boxes.
Max Spiegel, vice president of sales and marketing for NGC’s parent
firm, Certified Collectibles Group, said the grading service developed
its theories based on its observations of coin submissions from boxes
in original packaging from the respective production facilities.
The grading service will identify the Mint of production on the
grading label if definitely known.
Spiegel said the grading service believes the 2017 American Eagle
silver bullion coins with the highest quality were produced at the
West Point Mint, a facility that robotically tubes its coins. Tubes
bearing internal markings suggest the coins were inserted by a robotic
mechanism, he said.
The service speculates that manual tubing of coins accounts for the
tubes with lower quality coins with edge scrapes and other damage, and
the San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints manually tube their coins,
While U.S. Mint officials acknowledge that the silver bullion coins
struck at the West Point Mint are robotically tubed, primarily, they
note that the facility also employs manual tubing.
However, the San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints only tube the
American Eagle silver bullion coins manually, according to U.S. Mint officials.
The American Eagle silver bullion coins are not sold to the public
directly. The U.S. Mint sells the coins through a network of
authorized purchasers that buy the coins based on the closing London
PM spot price of silver per ounce on a given day plus a $2 per coin
premium. The coins are then resold into the marketplace for a small mark-up.
The authorized purchasers are required to arrange for pickup at the
West Point Mint of their orders of the 500-coin boxes.
Coins struck at the San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints, boxed in
tubes and secured with generic U.S. Mint straps, are also shipped from
those two facilities for pickup at the West Point Mint.
Early in 2015, U.S. Mint officials stated that none of the
production of 2015 silver American Eagles was executed anywhere but
the West Point Mint.
That assertion was subsequently modified several weeks later with an
announcement that the Philadelphia Mint had struck 70,000 of the 2015
American Eagle silver bullion coins late in 2014.
The 2014 production of 2015 coins was the first output of American
Eagle silver bullion coins executed at the Philadelphia facility.