US Coins

Day 1 sales: 2016 silver Eagle with edge inscription

The United States Mint reported first-day sales Sept. 16 for the Proof 2016-W American Eagle 30th Anniversary silver dollar totaled 262,816 coins.

The total, at $53.95 per coin, combines orders placed beginning at noon Eastern Time and orders placed through the Mint's Enrollment or subscription program. The latter program allows customers to place orders ahead of time for annual products, which are filled when the product is officially released.

Mint officials indicate the first-day sales represent orders from 80,883 individual customers.

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The 30th Anniversary coins bear an otherwise plain edge marked incuse with the inscription 30TH ANNIVERSARY.

Mandated edge

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.

Edge device

The mandate for the edge design required special edge collar dies and tooling to be fabricated at the Philadelphia Mint to impart the edge inscription.

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 per strike. 

The die faces are periodically wiped to remove any built up grime or debris.

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