Mar 29th 2020
Posted by LCR Coin
The United States Mint has announced new reverse designs will be coming to the popular American Silver Eagle coin in 2021. The other side to this story is 2020 represents the last ever John Mercanti Heraldic Reverse Silver Eagle.
The silver eagles began in 1986 as the first silver coin of the United States Mint American Eagle bullion coin program and has retained the same design since its inception.
The obverses of the American Silver Eagle coin features a timeless design that many consider among the most beautiful ever produced by the United States Mint, Adolph A. Weinman’s famous “Walking Liberty” as originally seen on the half dollar from 1916 through 1947.
When the American Eagle silver debuted in 1986, the classic Weinman obverse was paired with modern design from U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver John Mercanti who created a stylized Heraldic Eagle design for the American Silver Eagle reverse.
Only the reverse designs will be changing, the classic obverse design is staying put.
Perhaps the most important numismatic effect of new reverse design for the silver coin is a numismatic book-ending for the earlier span of issues in the series, creating a tidy “finish” line for individuals who wish to terminate their collections of American Silver Eagle coinage at a preset point. Countless collectors assemble sets of American Silver Eagles by year.
It’s reasonable to believe that the promise of a coming design change for the American Silver Eagle series will help usher in a wave of new collector interest for the coin. This may in turn help propagate more collector demand for the scarcer issues in those series which boasts several legitimately scarce issues.
Most notably those scarce American Silver Eagles include the 1994-P Proof Silver Eagle, the 1996 Bullion Strike Silver Eagle, the Burnished 2008-W Reverse of 2007 Silver Eagle, and the low-mintage 2011-W Proof Silver Eagle and 2011-W Reverse Proof strikes. The indisputable key issue of the entire American Silver Eagle series is the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle, which has a mintage of just 30,125 pieces and was included as a free bonus offering in the 1995 10th Anniversary Five-Piece Gold & Silver American Eagle Proof Set and the most recent release, the 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof Silver Eagle with a mintage of 30,000 making it an "Instant Rarity".
What will be most important for the newly designed 2021 American Silver Eagle coins will be that 2020 will represent the last-ever silver eagles bearing Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle reverse before we begin the new designs.
In the long term, collectors will see at least two new types of set collections unfold for the American Silver Eagle, the 1986 - 2020 Heraldic Eagle reverse set and another collection of American Silver Eagles on the new yet-unnamed reverse design type.
In our opinion, this will also add even more value to the original set which will be known going forward as the Heraldic Silver Eagle series of 1986 - 2020. Certainly all the key dates from the Heraldic coins will be sound investments going forward.