The individual Proof 2016-W American Eagle silver dollar will go on
sale at noon ET Sept. 16, making one of the U.S. Mint's most popular
annual products finally available to collectors, months later than is
typical for the coin.
The U.S. Mint’s
release dates for the Proof and Uncirculated 2016 coins were pushed
back, much later than normal, to enable Mint officials to meet the
requirements of legislation passed in December 2015 requiring special
edge treatment for the coins. The legislation mandates the coins bear
a special edge inscription denoting the series’ 30th anniversary (the
coin typically carries a reeded edge).
Typically, the Proof American Eagle silver dollar is one of the
first products offered by the Mint each year. In 2015, for example,
the 2015-W edition went on sale Jan. 2, the first day of business in
the calendar year for the Mint. The Uncirculated 2015-W American Eagle
silver dollar went on sale March 26.
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Mint officials announced the mid-September sales date for the Proof
version on Aug. 1. No date is yet announced for the Uncirculated
coin's release. Pricing also is not yet announced for either version.
Neither product has a mintage limit, and no household ordering limits
will be set
The required 30TH ANNIVERSARY edge device is to appear only on the
edge of the Proof and Uncirculated coins, and only for the two 2016
issues. The anniversary edge device does not appear on the 2016
American Eagle silver bullion coins. The bullion strikes retain the
standard reeded edge.
In addition to being offered individually, the Proof version is also
to be included in the 2016 Congratulations set. That coin, too, will
have the anniversary edge.
An edge device marking the program's 30th anniversary was required
under provisions of The Bullion and Collectible Coin Production and
Efficiency and Cost Savings Act, signed into law Dec. 4.
Introduced by Rep. William P. Huizenga, R-Mich., chairman of the
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade,
the measure also grants the Treasury some discretion in changing the
composition of 90 percent silver coins.
The mandate for the edge design required special edge collar dies
and tooling to be fabricated at the Philadelphia Mint to impart the
Coin World traveled to the West Point Mint to document
production June 9 of Proof versions. The details of that visit that
follow were embargoed by U.S. Mint officials until a release date for
the coin could be announced.
The edge inscription marking the 30th anniversary says just that —
30th ANNIVERSARY — and with a lowercase "th." The lettering
is raised in the collar die, making it incuse on the coin. The
inscription is imparted on the plain edge during the striking process,
from one section of a tripartite, or three-piece, segmented collar.
The three pieces of the collar engage together at the same time that
the obverse and reverse dies come together with a blank planchet
already fed between. The metal flows from the striking pressure into
the edge collar, where the edge of the coin receives the imprint of
the edge design, before the dies and edge collar retract.
West Point Mint press operator Jumel Alston said the die alignment
is such that the celebratory wording will appear in the same location
on each coin struck — at the 6 o’clock position, relative to the date
viewed on the coin's obverse. The other two segments impart a plain edge.
The obverse and reverse dies are oriented with the obverse, or
Walking Liberty side, as the upper or hammer die, and the reverse, the
Heraldic Eagle side, as the lower, or anvil die. Alston randomly pulls
struck coins after production for further examination, to ensure the
dies are aligned properly and there is no rotation.
The tripartite collar has the inscription centered in the edge
segment on which it appears. The edge on a struck coin also exhibits
three single vertical lines of raised metal, from where the silver in
the planchet was forced into the minuscule gap between the collar segments.
The Proof and Uncirculated versions both are struck three times on a
Gräbener GMP 360 press under 225 tons of pressure
The die faces are periodically wiped to remove any built up grime or debris.