Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he writes a monthly column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2017, for “Liberty Centennial Designs,” in Elemetal Direct, he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best article in a non-numismatic publication. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.Visit one of our other blogs:
30th Anniversary Deserves Much More
2016-W American Silver Eagle proof coin with incuse edge lettering noting 30th anniversary.
But there are times when constructive criticism is warranted, and this is one of them. The Mint delayed releasing the 2016-W proof and uncirculated versions of the American Silver Eagle for most of the year while they re-tooled their dies to enable them to add incuse edge lettering to the coins noting that this year is the 30th anniversary of the world’s best-selling and most widely traded silver coin.
These coins are usually one of the first products released by the Mint early in the year, and this year buyers had to wait until September 16 to purchase them. But having seen the coins in hand, I and every other collector I know who has also seen them is underwhelmed by the edge lettering with many using that same word to describe their reaction.
For one thing, it is hard to see inside the capsule because the lettering is not very distinctive and appears rather faint. It is hard to understand why it took most of the year for the Mint to produce these pieces, whose edge lettering requirements were part of last December’s FAST Act.
Moreover, if this is all the Mint is planning to do to mark the 30th anniversary of the Silver Eagle, that will be an enormous source of disappointment for most collectors, who are expecting some kind of special coin or set for this important occasion.
Collectors have been quite clear about this in the years leading up to this one with most saying they wanted to see the first high or ultra high-relief coin of the series. With the decision not to issue the recent American Liberty silver medals in high relief, those coins would be the first silver issues produced by the Mint with greater than normal relief since the 1921 Peace Dollar.
I know the Mint regularly surveys its customers and also know that many collectors have specifically requested the high relief eagles in those surveys. With this year also being the 30th birthday for the American Gold Eagle, a two-coin set with a high relief version of each coin would be a huge success.
Even if the high reliefs fail to materialize, some kind of special coin set or sets with at least one unique coin is an absolute minimum. Different finishes and mintmarks have been done, which is why something more different like a high relief would be such a hit.
There is still hope when you consider that the 20th anniversary set was issued in October. Perhaps the Mint will reveal something at the upcoming forum it is holding at the Philadelphia Mint that month.