HomeUS Coins1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof : A Collector's Guide

1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof : A Collector’s Guide

1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..

The United States Mint set the production limit for the 1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof at 500,000 pieces and sold through that number. Although the mintage was lower than in several of the preceding years, it was the first time that the Mint sold through its preset product limit. The retail price remained the same $23 that the Mint had set for Proofs since 1987. This price might seem low now, but silver averaged just $5.20 an ounce in 1996 and had remained between $4 and $5.50 an ounce for most of the decade.

In 1993, American Silver Eagle Proof production shifted from San Francisco to Philadelphia. Except for the specially produced 1995-W American Silver Eagle Proof, Proof production for this series would remain at Philadelphia through 2000. In 2001, the West Point Mint became the regular producer of American Silver Eagle Proofs.

What Is the 1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof Worth?

In its raw form, the 1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof sells on sites like eBay for about $70 each. A secondary market price for the same coin at a local coin shop will likely fall in this range, but the price a coin dealer would be willing to pay to purchase a coin from a collector falls within $5 to $10 of the prevailing spot price, which at the time of this writing is just under $30 an ounce.

The most commonly encountered certified grades of the 1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof are Proof 69 and Proof 70 with Deep Cameo/Ultra Cameo (NGC and CAC/PCGS use slightly different nomenclature for thick cameo frost). In the 69 grade, there is very little price differential between a raw coin and a certified example.

Premiums of $200 or more are paid in 2024 for coins graded Proof 70. Here, unlike for many other dates in this series, PCGS has graded the most 70s. Ten years ago, the certified population of Proof 70 coins stood at 1,377 for PCGS and 777 for NGC. Then, the prices realized at auction were between $300 and $400 ($403 to $537 in 2024 inflation-adjusted dollars). Today, the 70 population has increased dramatically, as one can see in our data below. American Silver Eagles are heavily marketed and wildly popular, so it is unsurprising that large quantities would be submitted for certification each year. This has a real impact on the coin’s value in the marketplace, as Proof 70 1996-P American Silver Eagles have lost about half of their value over the past 10 years.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top PopulationPCGS PR70DCAM (3,871, 6/2024), NGC PF70UCAM (3,076, 6/2024), and CAC PR70DCAM (36, 6/2024).

  • PCGS PR70DCAM #46588550: eBay, June 22, 2024 – $216.50.
  • PCGS PR70DCAM #41781135: eBay, June 15, 2024 – $450. Eagle novelty insert label.
  • PCGS PR70DCAM #49553922: eBay, June 2, 2024 – $229.50.
  • NGC PF70UCAM #4654048-036: Stack’s Bowers, April 3, 2024, Lot 13536 – $216.
  • PCGS PR70DCAM #18607641: Stack’s Bowers, March 13, 2024, Lot 92595 – $312.
  • PCGS PR70DCAM #82118076: Stack’s Bowers, November 15, 2022, Lot 91246 – $264.

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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 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 the motto IN GOD WE TRUST, and below her is the date 1996.

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.


The Heraldic Eagle of United States Mint Chief Engraver John Mercanti is positioned at the center. 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.


The edge of the 1996-P American Silver Eagle Proof coin is reeded.

Coin Specifications

American Silver Eagle
Year of Issue: 1996
Mintage: 500,000
Alloy: 99.9% silver
Weight: 31.1 g
Diameter: 40.6 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
REV Designer: John M. Mercanti


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

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