HomeCollecting StrategiesAmerican Silver Eagle Collecting Strategies

American Silver Eagle Collecting Strategies

By Bullion Shark LLC ……
American Silver Eagles have become one of the most popular silver bullion coins of the modern-day. Although many investors buy Silver Eagles for their precious metal content, many coin collectors are also getting in on the hype. There are a few main ways a numismatic lover can put together a Silver Eagle Collection.


The most affordable way to collect Silver Eagles is to buy them raw, or as they come from the mint. The most common collecting strategy here is to buy one coin from each year of issue starting with a 1986 Silver Eagle up until the modern-day.

American Silver Eagle - Mint StateSpecial collecting books are ideal for this type of collector as they keep the set organized and protected. Now, a collector must keep in mind that both a business strike and Proof Silver Eagle are put forth every year, besides in 2009 when no Proof Silver Eagle was struck.

A business strike set carries less of a price tag, but no one can ignore the tremendous beauty that Proof issues have to offer. The best way to put these sets together is to shop around for the best quality coin possible for each year, even if it means passing on a coin you need until you find one worthy of putting into your set.

American Silver Eagle - ProofWhen purchasing raw Silver Eagles, the best approach to take is to inspect each coin to make sure it is free of milk spots or other major imperfections, as this will ensure the value of the date run set. The biggest issue that collectors run into with these sets is that they tend to develop spots and toning due to reactions with the coin albums, air, and other elements. These spots can be safely removed if proper cleaning techniques are followed. This path of collecting Silver Eagles offers the collector a unique opportunity to invest in numismatics at a very low cost.

Mint State and Proof 69

Arguably the most common and wise Silver Eagle collecting strategies is to put together a date run of MS69 or PF69 issues. As all well-versed coin enthusiasts know, coins designated by the grade “69” are near perfect.

American Silver Eagle - PCGS MS-69To get the best value for your dollar, it is highly advisable to purchase coins that are graded by NGC or PCGS as these are the two most reputable third-party coin grading services. However, one must realize that there have been problems in the past with Silver Eagles graded by PCGS developing unattractive milk spots, so NGC sets are sometimes preferred by collectors.

This set is slightly more expensive to put together than an ungraded one but offers the collector and investor the guarantee that the coin at hand is of the quality stated, therefore holding more numismatic value and a coin that is protected from the elements.

NGC-encapsulated Silver Eagles are sonically sealed in a durable plastic case to protect your investment from drops and developing milk spots.

Depending on your budget and the time period you wish to spend on this set, you can purchase one coin at a time or the whole set outright.

Coin dealers like Bullion Shark carry complete 1986-2016 Silver Eagles in stock at all time to simplify the process for collectors. An MS69 Silver Eagle Set can be put together for $1,300-$1,600 and a PF69 Set for $2,000+. A well-rounded coin collection or portfolio would benefit from an investment in both sets as the sets in perfect grade MS70 or PF70 do not come at such a low price tag.

Mint State and Proof 70

A perfect grade Silver Eagle collection is the most prestigious and expensive modern coin investment a collector can make. For starters, a complete MS70 set graded by PCGS is an impossible feat, as no 1999 Silver Eagle has ever been certified perfect by them, so we typically recommend a put together a set graded by NGC.

american Silver Eagle - NGC MS-70A complete 1986-2021 Silver Eagle set certified MS70 by NGC can run well over $50,000. The reason behind this is the scarcity of perfect grade, back-date American Silver Eagles. For example, a 1999 Silver Eagle in MS70 can run well over $20,000 because there are only 113 in existence.

The Proof Set is much more affordable at near $12,000. No individual coin runs more than $2,000 or so besides the key 1995-W Silver Eagle, which is just an addition to a complete set as it was not the standard Proof issue for that year.

Another collecting method besides a date run is “label collecting”. Grading companies like NGC put special labels in their slabs to make collecting more interesting for some people. This allows people to collect an endless variety of Silver Eagles at a lower price because only modern Silver Eagles have labels like the San Francisco Bridge or the West Point Star.

The price jump from MS69 to MS70 is huge for Silver Eagles, so choose wisely between the two certified options.

These are the three main methods of American Silver Eagle collecting, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Follow whichever strategy best suits your taste and budget.

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*These are solely the opinions of Bullion Shark, LLC and are not intended to be used as investment advice. Please consult an investment adviser before investing.*


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  1. I had an NGC MS 69 date set that developed milk spots. NGC is not immune. The coins were stored right next to some PCGS coins which did not develop milk spots.

  2. Is it totally a waste of time/money/investment to have a running year of American Eagles 1986-???? of a mixture of NGC PF69 and NGC PF70?

  3. It all depends on which American Silver Eagle, because 69’s are not worth much above spot. I do not know what if any difference there would be in a 69 or a 66.
    The mint makes billions of Silver Eagles. There is no design change, but there was a variety change in which the tilde was changed on the reverse. 2008 saw that change and some from that year have the 2007 reverse (old tilde) and the new 2008 reverse (new tilde), otherwise you need to research dates and mint marks. Suggest you look on pcgs and ngc web site, for census reports. But these two companies try and create hype by offering different label designs and autographs, as well as fake printed autographs.
    2017-S proof is a good one, try and get them for under 150.00 which can be found. 2017-W is another good one. There is money to be made there. Most people just buy the new ones hoping they end up with some sort of a rarity. But the mint also will list what mint marks and mintage numbers prior to release. To build a set, early coins are hard to find in 70 grades and pricey. 3rd party grading was in its infancy and it took years to be accepted, and for some bizarre reason some people (stackers) like to fondle silver bullion surface wear, only shiny and cleaned.
    Unless the mint makes a design change or a major design flaw, there will remain to be not much going on. It is after all only bullion, never meant for commerce – with billions all the same

  4. IMHO it is not worth getting silver eagles graded unless you have some that are rare dates.
    Rule of thumb is if the coin is not worth $100 or more it’s not worth the money spent for grading and shipping.
    Now for the Morgan and Peace dollar series I will probably send them off unless the value of these crash between now and reciept of them in October.
    I got annoyed at NGC because I requested UPS delivery and they shipped USPS. USPS can’t be trusted to deliver in either direction. It took 8 weeks to receive their shipment.

  5. Only question is are you collecting just to have the coins, or do you also have a strategy at some point of selling these coins? If there is a monetary component involved when buying Silver Eagles, and by that I mean a significant value increase over time, then 70-grade coins should be considered. As mentioned above, 69s are affordable and easy on the eyes, but the appreciation in value is very limited. Just make sure why you are collecting and what your end goal is.

  6. I think that the fact that dealers have ALWAYS treated bullion ASEs like they are junk silver or just another silver round made by a private mint is exactly why pre-2008 ASEs in MS69 or MS70 condition and post-2007 ASEs in MS70 condition will continue to gain demand and value.

    I can’t count the number of times I have seen a dealer open a new tube of blast-white ASEs and pour them into their grimy, oily hands and plant their greasy thumb right in the center of the coin!!! Guess what! That coin is AUTOMATICALLY NEVER GOING TO BE AN MS70 NOW!!! And neither will the other 5 or 6 he just put in his oily hand!!! Yes, over 40 million were made in some years. But dealers have always treated them just like a hand-poured bar of silver and NOT A COIN! Ugly, tarnished, culled, scratched, and cleaned ASEs with milk spots or greasy fingerprints on them are common and should command little more than their melt value. But because dealers AND the US Mint have always treated them like junk silver means there aren’t that many left in PERFECT MS70 condition, especially the further back you go. And even if a coin was treated well, there is still the issue of milk spots. There is NO WAY to remove milk spots. And there are COUNTLESS ASEs graded as MS70 that have developed milk spots over the years, thus making them no longer MS70 even though the label says MS70. I personally don’t think a coin should even be considered even an MS69 if it has milk spots on it.

    Because pre-2000 ASEs in MS70 condition sell for ridiculous amounts of money, I have begun putting together a set of 1986-2000 ASEs in MS69 condition with matching NGC holders and traditional brown labels. Even though there are many to choose from graded as MS69 for less than $60 (except for 1986 and 1995-1997), it is surprisingly hard to find them without tarnish or milk spots for this price. NGC and PCGS are also very liberal when it comes to handing out MS69s vs 68s and 67s. I have some MS69s that I can’t figure out why they were not given 70s and others I think to myself, “this should be a 68 or 67.” There is a WIDE degree of variance when it comes to ASEs graded as MS69. I think that as decades go by, many raw ASEs that were graded as 69s or 70s will develop defects (milk spots or tarnish) that will bump them down a grade and we’ll start to see more 68s and 67s. This will increase the value of the ones that remain as 69s and 70s.

    NGC and PCGS argue that tarnish is a natural part of coins aging and should not be “frowned upon.” But let’s face it; if you have the choice between 2 coins that are exactly the same, and the same price, but one is developing yellow tarnish and the other is still blast-white, which do you want? Perhaps NGC and PCGS need to develop new grading methods to distinguish between an ASE that looks like it was minted yesterday and has a scuff on the rim that takes 5x magnification to see thus making it an MS69 vs a tarnished MS70 that has less “eye appeal” but is technically flawless. Or the same brilliant MS69 vs an MS69 with a ding on the sun and milk spots.

    Another thing to consider with graded ASEs is the premium, or lack thereof. As of 4/19/22 with silver spot at around $25.50, new, raw, 2021 and 2022 ASEs are selling for $40+/ea (best price) if you just want 1 or 2 from every major online distributor. But one major dealer is selling NGC graded “Early Release T-1 2021(P) MS69” ASEs for just $43.74 using a credit card with only a $99 purchase for free shipping!! They want $41.08 for a plain old 2021 T-1 that comes in a flip! And once it is shipped across the country in a coin flip it will almost certainly wear against the flip enough that it would be in no better condition than MS69. AND, it’s NOT in a slab, graded, or certified “P” which makes it 1 of less than 500,000 ASEs. And you can pick up 2021 T-1 and T-2s graded as MS69 for $45 or less from countless sellers on eBay. So why not pay an extra $3-$4 and get a graded MS69 rather than a raw coin that could have countless problems with it? If raw ASEs were selling for $3-$5 over spot (as they should be) then paying an extra $15 to get a coin that is certified as not perfect (MS69) would be different. But for just $2.66 more to get a certified “(P)”, why not get a graded one? Or pick up a blast white 1992 MS69 for just $55.

    • This is the Numismatic equivalent of whistling past the ASE graveyard. For the record, currently, there are very sharp price increases for attractively toned ASE’s. Whether they are actually worth it is another story.

  7. As in all collectible markets, value is created 1st & foremost by rarity. In all things numismatic, rarity is chiefly driven by mintage numbers. It’s really that simple. And sometimes, even that’s not enough to drive prices higher..(example; check current prices on Lincoln Wheat Cent Proofs..They have miniscule mintage numbers, many under 100K, some of them much lower than that, and nobody wants them) Their prices remain and have remained cheap for decades…

    Every year since 1986 the US Mint has minted hundreds of thousands of ASE’s. Most of them are business strikes. None of them ever see actual circulation. A much smaller number of them are what we collectors refer to as Proofs. Somewhere around 60-70% of all business strike ASE’s grade between MS-68 & MS-70. That is not rarity, not by any measure. Hawking these “coins” as rarities, in any grade, is a false narrative created by Coin Dealers & the US Mint in order to hype a product and push prices higher than they should be. I don’t care whose label is on it or who’s fake autograph they put on the “special label”. The hard truth is… NO BUSINESS STRIKE ASE SHOULD EVER SELL FOR MORE THAN $10 OVER CURRENT SPOT VALUE….Full Stop…Period. You’re free to collect whatever trips your trigger and pay whatever price you want for these, but don’t ever be fooled by these Snake Oil Salesmen into believing you’re going to make money on the other end, outside of what Spot Silver is trending at. It’s a lie, it’s always been a lie, and intelligent informed people should know better. ASE Proofs are a different story and dynamic. Mintage numbers for some of these collectibles are quite low and as long as there is demand for them, they will enjoy the same steady rise in price they have been enjoying for the last several years. If demand ever drops out, so will their trade/sell value. BTW, if you want to see an example of the value dynamics I talk about here, try taking the Silver Eagle Proof you just paid $200 for back to the same Dealer you bought it from and see what He offers you. I guarantee it will be somewhere around half what you paid for it.
    Investments like ASE Proofs need TIME to find their center of gravity. How much Time?…Good Question..You can still buy MS-60 Morgan & Peace Dollars just about anywhere for under $150. Some of them have had 150 years to find their center of gravity and multitudes of them have been melted over the decades. ASE Business strikes, regardless of what you’ve been told, will NEVER make money on resale, beyond their Spot Value.
    Smart Collectors should conduct themselves accordingly..


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