Precious Metals

Silver Eagle bullion coin production includes Philadelphia Mint

Some production of 2015 American Eagle silver bullion coins was executed at the Philadelphia Mint, the first time the facility has done so.

Images courtesy of APMEX.

The production of 2015-dated silver American Eagle bullion coin includes, for the first time in the series' history, output from the Philadelphia Mint.

Collectors, however, will have no way of knowing which 2015-dated coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint and which at the West Point Mint, since the Philadelphia Mint strikes were mixed with West Point Mint output before final shipment to authorized purchasers for market distribution.

All silver American Eagle bullion coins, regardless of their Mint of production, bear no Mint mark.

As of Feb. 6, the U.S. Mint had recorded sales of 6,140,500 silver American Eagle bullion coins to authorized purchasers.

Adam Stump, deputy director for the U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, explained to Coin World Feb. 6 that the Philadelphia Mint conducted a “process validation run” of 2015-dated silver American Eagles late in 2014. That production totaled 70,000 coins, he said.

“The 70,000 bullion coins made were shipped to West Point for final packaging and palletized for shipment to authorized purchasers,” Stump said. “The packaging and banding is the same between the facilities, and bullion coins have no Mint mark. These coins have already been issued to authorized purchasers.”

After striking, American Eagles silver bullion coins are usually mechanically placed into 20-coin tubes, 25 of which are placed into 500-coin green plastic “monster boxes” that are secured shut with criss-crossed straps imprinted with the name of the production facility of origin.

However, for the limited Philadelphia Mint production, the West Point Mint sent West Point Mint-imprinted straps for the Philadelphia Mint to use to secure the 500-coin monster boxes of coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

The Philadelphia Mint-struck coins with the West Point Mint banding were then shipped to the West Point Mint, for eventual distribution to authorized purchasers who placed orders for 2015-dated silver American Eagles.

Stump said although collectors may collect American Eagle silver bullion coins by date and Mint of origin, if known, the Mint considers the silver bullion coins to be sold for their melt value, not as a numismatic product as the Mint-marked versions are.

Since the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Program was introduced in November 1986, three of the four coin production facilities have now struck the silver bullion coins. Only the Denver Mint has not. In some years, more than one facility struck the silver American Eagle bullion coins to meet public demand.

Here are the dates of production for American Eagle silver bullion coins, and the Mints that struck the coins:

1986 – 1987, San Francisco Mint

1988 – 1998, San Francisco and West Point

1999 – 2010, West Point

2011 – 2014, West Point and San Francisco

2015, West Point and Philadelphia, which struck 2015-dated coins in late 2014

In May 2011, after a decade-long hiatus, San Francisco had returned to silver Eagle production to meet record demand. In 2014, the San Francisco Mint production banded with San Francisco Mint-imprinted straps was ship to West Point where the authorized purchasers were required to pick up the boxed coins.

The authorized purchasers were not allowed to specify which Mint production should fill their orders.

American Eagle bullion coins are not sold directly to the public. Instead, they are sold to a network of authorized purchasers who offer a two-way market for the coins. The authorized purchasers acquire the coins from the U.S. Mint based on the closing London PM price per troy ounce for the respective precious metal plus a small premium. The coins are then sold for a small markup to collectors, investors and other dealers.

While primarily sold as an investment vehicle, the American Eagle bullion coins are also sought after by collectors assembling collections by date.

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