HomeUS Coins1993 American Silver Eagle : A Collector's Guide

1993 American Silver Eagle : A Collector’s Guide

1993 American Silver Eagle. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1993 American Silver Eagle. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
Silver’s average spot price in 1993 jumped to $4.31, 36¢ higher than the metal averaged in 1992. Demand for the bullion coin was fairly strong, and the United States Mint produced 6,763,762 1993 American Silver Eagles – an increase of more than a million coins year-to-year. Mint forecasters and metals dealers couldn’t have predicted it, but this would be the peak of demand for the coin through most of the remaining years of the 1990s. In 1999, enthusiasm for the coin returned, and the mintage that year surpassed 7.4 million coins. The millennium and the years that followed would bring increased demand.

At some point in the future, maybe 10 or 20 years from now, American Silver Eagle bullion strikes dated 1986-1998 will stand out as dated coins, worth more than the 2000 issues and certainly more than the current Type 2 design.

Wide Disparity in Third-Party Submissions Reveals Truth About the Market

Through 2014, PCGS had certified only 3,863 1993 American Silver Eagles in MS69, with none finer. By contrast, NGC’s census boasted 95,676 MS69s and 154 MS70s. Why the disparity? Did submitters at the time feel that NGC had the better product? It’s an interesting question to ponder, but understanding the psychology of the market at the time is essential to understanding the market forces at play today.

Simply put, the majority of American Silver Eagles submitted to the grading services come from volume dealers and marketing companies, not individual collectors. These dealers invest in large quantities of coins and then in the cost of encapsulation, novelty labels, and marketing the coins as graded collectibles.

The MS69/MS70 grading dichotomy, which has developed with modern issues like the American Silver Eagle, gives these market makers two distinct price points. In a perfect system, the Mint produces nice coins, and the submitters get a good volume of “perfect coins” to sell at a moderate markup. The nearly perfect coins sell for less. We have discussed our concept of Terminal Point many times in our write-ups, but it bears repeating that when grades become unprofitable for the submitter, it has the effect of stifling submissions.

The grading services noticed this effect and developed a system whereby submitters could state a minimum grade on their order. The grading services then would only grade (and charge submitters for) the coins that hit that minimum. In the case of the American Silver Eagle, if the minimum grade were set at MS69, then no coin failing to make that grade would be encapsulated. The problem with having only two grades is that it limits the arbitrage between MS69 and MS70 and, over time, eats into the market value of the 70 coins.

Since bulk submitters understood that PCGS was not prepared to grade any coin as MS70 (due to its ongoing concern about coins developing milk spots in the holder), the only option they had to market MS69 and MS70 coins was through NGC.

PCGS’s policy has changed. The grading services better understand the milk spotting problem, and we assume they have developed a solution to remedy the problem of coins turning in their holders. Because of this, the service has seen an increase in the number of submissions of this date, as well as other problematic early dates. The MS70 population at PCGS has risen from zero to 114 as of April 29, 2024, while the MS69 population has increased by 6,617 coins over the same period.

Submissions at NGC continue at an even faster clip, with 33,399 new coins graded 69 within the past 10 years and 461 new MS70s. The ratio of MS69:MS70 at PCGS since 2014 is 58.04:1, while NGC’s data indicates a ratio of 72.44:1. Note: through 2014, NGC’s ratio was 621.27:1.

CAC, a new grading service, reports 18 coins graded with seven in MS70. The total certified population of this issue now stands at 148,086, or 2.18% of the mintage.

* * *

Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top PopulationPCGS MS70 (114, 5/2024), NGC MS70 (617, 5/2024), and CAC MS70 (7, 5/2024).

  • NGC MS70 #4655338-102: Stack’s Bowers, March 28, 2024, Lot 7778 – $1,980. Discoloration on the sun.
  • NGC MS70 #1567301-010: Heritage Auctions, March 13, 2023,  Lot 51260 – $2,520.
  • PCGS MS70 #40700022: Heritage Auctions, October 9, 2023, Lot 51374 – $2,880.
  • PCGS MS70 #40489948: Heritage Auctions, May 9, 2022, Lot 92085 – $3,120.
  • NGC MS70 #1861855-003: Heritage Auctions, April 22, 2021, Lot 91083 – $2,880. John Mercanti signed insert.
  • NGC MS70 #186399-036: Heritage Auctions, October 18, 2020, Lot 7534 – $1,680.
  • PCGS MS70 #36482092: Heritage Auctions, December 6, 2019, Lot 4521 – $3,360.
  • NGC MS70 #100025-007: Heritage Auctions, October 12, 2018, Lot 4152 – $1,320.
  • NGC MS70 #1541437-002: Stack’s Bowers, November 10, 2017, Lot 3721 – $5,400. First Strikes insert.
  • NGC MS70 #100025-010: Heritage Auctions, January 6, 2016, Lot 3462 – $3,760.
  • NGC MS70 #3292600-004: Stack’s Bowers, February 2014, Lot 3401 – $3,525.
  • NGC MS70 #100025-005: Heritage Auctions, May 31, 2009, Lot 9287 – $3,220.
  • NGC MS70 #113291-001: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2006, Lot 28280 – $1,380.

* * *

Design

Obverse:

Artist Adolph A. Weinman’s Lady Liberty is depicted mid-stride. She is seen as a full-body figure, dressed in a flowing gown, and draped with a large billowing American flag. She holds laurel and oak branches in her left hand that symbolize the civil and military glories of America, respectively. As Liberty strides confidently towards the rising sun, she also reaches out and presents a welcoming and open hand. So large is Lady Liberty that she is superimposed over the obverse legend LIBERTY ringing the obverse – in fact, she obscures half of the “BE” and almost the entire “R”. Above Liberty’s outstretched rear foot is IN GOD WE TRUST, and below her is the date 1993.

The design bears a notable resemblance to sculptor Oscar Roty’s The Sower, a common image on French coins. Numismatist Roger Burdette posited in his book Renaissance of American Coinage (2007) that this was not a coincidence and while Adolph Weinman did not directly copy, he did derive significant inspiration from Roty’s work. Weinman’s Liberty Walking design quickly became one of America’s most iconic numismatic images and would be used with minor modifications on the American Silver Eagle bullion coin starting in 1986.

Reverse:

United States Mint Chief Engraver John Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle is positioned at the center of the reverse. Clutched in its beak is a ribbon bearing the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Above its head is a constellation of 13 stars configured in an upside-down pyramid formation. The legend (top) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is wrapped around the design and the fineness and denomination (bottom) 1 OZ. FINE SILVER. ONE DOLLAR.

Edge:

The edge of the 1993 American Silver Eagle bullion coin is reeded.

Coin Specifications

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coin
Year Of Issue: 1993
Mintage: 6,763,762
Alloy: 99.9% silver
Weight: 31.1 g
Diameter: 40.6 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
REV Designer: John M. Mercanti

 

* * *

CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stacks Bowers Auction

AU Capital Management US gold Coins

Professional Coin Grading Service