Important 1995-W $1 Silver Eagle Realizes $17,000 at GreatCollections

On Sunday, February 13, an example of the controversial 1995-W Silver Eagle, graded PR-70 DCAM by PCGS, realized a solid price of $19,125 USD after strong bidding between 15 bidders.

The 1995-W

Today, the American Silver Eagle stands as one of the world’s most-collected modern silver bullion coins. With the first examples struck in 1986, America’s preeminent silver bullion coin has been issued in standard Uncirculated, Proof, Burnished, and Reverse Proof finishes.

And out of 34 years’ worth of varieties that attract collectors and investors alike, the 1995-W American Silver Eagle Proof coin is widely considered the key to the entire series. However, this well could change as a result of the United States Mint’s limited release of the 2020-W privy mark Silver Eagle on the 75th anniversary of World War II. While the 2020-W type had a mintage of 154,864, far outstripping the 1995-W, the privy marked version had a mintage of 75,000 and sold out within seconds of release. This sparked a thriving, if frustrating, secondary resale demand for the coin, which may contribute to it overtaking the 1995-W and becoming the next key date in a collectors American Silver Eagle set.

The 1995-W was available only as part of a limited-edition set of Proof 1995 American Gold Eagle coins, released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the American Eagle bullion program that was signed into law in 1985. The set included the $1 1-ounce Silver Eagle, as well as the $5 1/10th-ounce, $10 1/4-ounce, $25 1/2-ounce, and $50 1-ounce gold coins. The Silver Eagle’s mintage was tied to the number of sets sold. With a price tag of $999, these sets were likely too expensive for the market to withstand. Consequently, only 30,125 sets were sold, even though Congress authorized 45,000 to be produced.

This means that only 30,125 1995-W American Silver Eagle coins were ever struck.

The issue has always been known as a condition rarity, but ever since the record-breaking 1995-W PCGS PR70 DCAM coin that sold at GreatCollections in 2013 set the highly publicized record price of $86,654.70, the PCGS certified population of PR70 DCAMs of the 1995-W has exploded from eight to the present census of 449 pieces. This number has steadily increased from 381 in 2018, 413 in 2019, 424 in mid-2021, and will probably continue rising.

An astute collector may ask: How did this happen? Is it possible that lower grade coins are being reconsidered for high grades? On a few occasions, yes. However, it is much more likely that, due to the record auction price, these coins are simply coming out of the woodwork. Coins with much lower mintages have similarly large populations in high grades, and it is not surprising that this is happening. Will the current $19,125 level hold? That depends on whether we are nearing the end of the surge in populations or still have a long ways to go.

Design

U.S. Mint Director Donna Pope chose the Liberty Walking design of sculptor Adolph A. Weinman for the obverse of the coin. Weinman originally created this design for the Walking Liberty half dollar in 1916. Liberty is shown striding to the left with her right arm outstretched and holding a large olive branch in the crook of her left. She wears the Phrygian cap symbolizing freedom and is draped in the American flag. She is partially blocking the large legend LIBERTY, which rings the top of the coin’s edge. There is a star with 13 rays rising in the lower left field. The legend IN GOD WE TRUST is above her right heel and the date 1995 below her left foot.

The famous reverse depicts the American seal with 13 stars above the eagle. The W mint mark of the West Point Mint is beneath the eagle’s left talon and the designer John Mercanti’s initials (JM) are beneath its right. Mercanti served as the 12th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1974 to 2010. The legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and 1 OZ. FINE SILVER – ONE DOLLAR around the entire rim, which is ridged.

To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The article is incorrect. The Privy Silver Proof Eagle mintage was originally set at 75,000. It was the Privy Gold Proof Eagle that had a mintage of only 1945 coins.

  2. I think the article omitted the 2019s enhanced reverse proof silver eagle at 29,000 minted as possibly overtaking the 1995w silver eagle as the key to the set. As with any rarity it depends on demand . One need not look any further than the first spouse gold $10 series where many of the mintages are at 1,500 and the pricing is barley above $1200-$1500 on secondary markets.

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