By Bullion Shark ……

Since its beginnings in 1986, the American Silver Eagle has become one of the world’s most popular coins. Its stunning design, $1 denomination, recognizably and .999 purity are just a few of the reasons the American Silver Eagle has become a fan favorite.

Over the last 33 years, the numismatic industry has seen this coin take on numerous forms, as bullion, proof, burnished, reversed proof, and enhanced finish versions.

The bullion version is just like a typical coin, the proof version has frosted features/devices with a “shiny” background, the reverse proof has “shiny” features/devices with a frosted background and the enhanced finish is hard to explain without seeing in person… We will be going more into depth on these other finishes in following articles.

However, out of all these different finishes, one should stand out above all others: the Burnished (a.ka. Uncirculated) Silver Eagle.

This coin has flown under the radar since its inception in 2006, and it is time that some light is shed on why this particular silver eagle is so rare.

The answers to this question are: it’s mintage numbers and labor-intensive minting process.

Mintage Figures

Below is a chart indicating Burnished Silver Eagle mintages from 2006-Present day.




















172,802 (as of Dec. 25, 2016)


139,610 (as of Jan. 1, 2018)


~130,996 (as of Dec. 30, 2018)


The above chart speaks for itself. Not a single one of these coins has ever even reached the 700,000 mark.

The U.S. Mint produces about 300,000 Burnished Silver Eagles per year. This is about twice as rare as the Proof Silver Eagles at about 650,000 produced per year and 50 times as rare as the Bullion Strike Silver Eagles at about 15 million per year. These figures are found by taking the average of each type of Silver Eagle.

Only about 4.5 million Burnished Silver Eagles have been minted since 2006. The total mintage of the series is still more than twice as rare as the yearly mintage of its bullion counterparts. This paints a clear picture of just how rare the Burnished Silver Eagle really is.

Furthermore, one should pay particular attention to the 2017 and 2018 Burnished Silver Eagles. These dates barely saw mintages over 100,000 coins making them three times as rare as the typical Burnished Silver Eagles in terms of mintage.

These mintage numbers may very well put these coins in the category of “key date” Silver Eagles. When taking all Silver Eagles into consideration, only the 2015 (P), 1995-W, 2011-S and the 2017-S have lower mintages than the 2017 and 2018 Burnished Silver Eagles.

This puts these two coins in the Top 10 of the lowest mintage Silver Eagles in existence.

How these coins are minted

The U.S. Mint states, “the term ‘uncirculated’ refers to [a] specialized minting process… uncirculated quality coins are distinguished by the presence of a mint mark, indicating their production facility, and by the use of burnished coin blanks, which are hand-fed into specially adapted coining presses one at a time.

The Burnished Silver Eagle is known for its “matte-like” finish. These coins also have a mintmark unlike the traditional Silver Eagles.

This special finish is achieved by rolling the “blanks” of silver in a drum filled with countless tiny balls. This process makes the coin smooth and removes any imperfections and gives the coin its stunning finish.

Lastly, the coin is struck once, and only once, before it is sent off for encapsulation and then shipment to the public.


Not only are the Burnished Silver Eagles stunning and unique, but they pose a very unique opportunity to purchase low-mintage Silver Eagles at an affordable price. For the most part, these coins can all be purchased for less than $200 in perfect grade 70.

In short, these facts indicate that the Burnished Silver Eagle is an overlooked piece that all collectors should pay more attention to.

Click Here to View Bullion Shark’s Inventory of Burnished Silver Eagles


*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.*



  1. Lowest mintage for a burnished eagle is actually 2000 millenium eagle. It was “Uncirculated” which means burnished when mint uses it as a desigination. Highly over looked with only 75k minted. Just ask the mint, they’ll tell you same thing.

    • The Silver Eagle included in the Millennium Coinage and Currency Set is exactly the same as the bullion version of the coin. No difference at all. The 75,000 mintage figure comes from the number of Millennium Coinage and Currency Sets that were put together and sold. The figure 75,000 does not represent the number of “uncirculated/burnished” Silver Eagles produced because the mint was not making the “uncirculated/burnished” Silver Eagles at that time. It solely represents the number of Millennium Coinage and Currency Sets that were put together. There is one interesting feature of the Silver Eagles from this set. If still in the original packaging, the Silver Eagles from this particular set can be traced to the West Point Mint, even though it does not contain a mint mark! The Silver Eagle from this set may not be a burnished Silver Eagle. However, the Sacajawea that is included in this set DOES have a burnished finish and the serial numbers of the dollar bills included in these sets all begin with 2000.

  2. From reading previous articles that estimated that less than 1% of Americans collect or buy coins, and if you match that with the number of Silver Eagles that have been produced, that would allow each collector to own 366 American Silver Eagles.
    None of which have are or have been made for circulation.
    I love the way people use the word Rarity

  3. Yes burnished 2006/current-W silver eagles graded via pcgs can either be graded as MS or SP, my question is what is the difference between the two. Is this just for pcgs marketing tool to get us collectors to purchase more coinage??

  4. The real overlooked modern rarity is the special strike America The Beautiful 5 oz coin. Most have mintages around 20,000 (so over 10x more rare than a burnished eagle), have great variety of scenes, and currently sell for about the cost of 5 regular strike bullion eagles.

  5. I agree with ^ that is exactly why I bought the 2020 salt river (u.s. Virgin Islands) 5oz coin. The thing that made me jump at it was the mint capped it’s final mintage at 13,750 only. Which makes it the #1 5oz coin with the lowest mintage.


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