Precious Metals

Proof 1995-W silver American Eagle sets record

A collector paid a record $86,654.70 to acquire this PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar in an online GreatCollections auction March 31. PCGS has assigned the grade to just eight examples.

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A collector paid a record-setting $86,654.70 on March 31 to acquire a Professional Coin Grading Service Proof 70 Deep Cameo 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar in an online auction conducted by GreatCollections.

Ian Russell, president and founder of GreatCollections, said April 1 that the unnamed collector who purchased the coin was not seeking to complete a collection of Proof silver American Eagles. The collector had waited years to find a premium example of the key date for the entire Proof American Eagle silver series and was willing to pay what it would take, Russell said.

“This is what happens when you have an extremely popular series,” Russell said. “This collector was determined to win it.”

The winning bidder was one of 21 bidders who placed a combined 104 bids during the auction. The final closing bid was $78,777. The addition of the 10 percent buyer’s fee brought the final purchase price to $86,654.70.

“The 1995-W is the ultimate key to the series with the lowest mintage and is notorious for imperfections, explaining the low percentage graded at the perfect Proof-70 DCAM grade,” Russell said. “In addition to the technical points about the coin itself, the general market for silver Eagles continues to grow at a fast pace ... probably faster than any other coin series at the moment.”

Eight coins have been assigned the grade Proof 70 Deep Cameo by PCGS, with another almost 1,600 coins graded Proof 69 Deep Cameo by PCGS. The Proof 69 Deep Cameo coins regularly sell for between $3,500 and $4,000 each, Russell said.

The previous record for any silver American Eagle, also a Proof 1995-W coin, according to Russell, was $40,000 paid for a PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo coin offered in a Teletrade auction that closed March 15, 2010.

Part of a set

The Proof 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar was available only in a five-coin 10th Anniversary set. The set also included Proof 1995-W 1-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce gold American Eagles.

The five-coin set was offered at the same price, $999, that was being charged by the Mint for the four-coin gold Proof American Eagle set. Mint marketers promoted the silver dollar as a bonus to collectors who had previously purchased gold Proof American Eagles.

However, some collectors of silver American Eagles voiced complaints about the silver coin from the West Point Mint being made available only in a set that they could not afford. The complaints mostly focused on the point that their collections, inexpensively maintained as complete through 1994, were no longer complete because they could not pay the original or secondary prices for the special coin.

A total of 30,125 of the five-coin sets were recorded sold by the U.S. Mint. In contrast, the Mint sold 438,511 Proof 1995-P American Eagle silver dollars at a price of $23 each.

How many of those 1995 sets remain intact is unknown, as sets have been broken apart over the years, with the gold and silver coins dispersed separately.

At the time of release in 1995, purchasers who acquired a five-coin set solely for the Proof silver American Eagle it contained paid a net cost of roughly $200 for the silver coin. At the time, the gold coins were worth not much more than their melt value of roughly $800.

Although some collectors of silver American Eagles at the time might have been rankled over the net cost of the 1995-W coin being nearly seven times that of the regular Proof 1995-P silver American Eagle, those who paid the price then have reaped the benefits since.

For more information, email Russell at or contact Russell by telephone at 949-679-4180. ¦

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