Building an American Silver Eagle Collection

Learn About American Silver Eagle Dollars

Few coins in America's history can match the beauty of the American Silver Eagle. The official silver bullion coin of the United States, it was first struck by the United States Mint in 1986 and quickly became a favorite among collectors. And little wonder!

Magnificent American Silver Eagles from the U.S. Mint are the world's best-selling bullion coins. They remain in great demand among collectors and silver enthusiasts – and for several good reasons.

First, each American Silver Eagle contains one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. And as the official silver bullion coins of the United States, their weight and purity are backed by the U.S. government. So Silver Eagles enjoy unrivaled prestige and acceptance around the world.

The beautiful Silver American Eagle celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016. And it saw its first major design change when a new reverse debuted for its 35th anniversary in 2021.

Silver American Eagle
Composition:.999 silver, .0007 copper
Weight:31.101 grams (see Composition)
Diameter:40.6 mm
Mints:Philadelphia (P), San Francisco (S), West Point (W)

The American Silver Eagle Design

One reason many collectors choose to build American Silver Eagle collections is the coins' size perfectly showcase their obverse and reverse designs. The obverse bears sculptor A.A. Weinman's cherished "Liberty Walking" design, which graced half dollars of 1916-1947. From 1986-2021, Silver Eagles featured John Mercanti's original Heraldic Eagle reverse. In 2021 a new reverse by Emily Damstra debuted for the series' 35th anniversary, and continues to date. Read more here.

Key Dates

Click here to discover which date and mint mark combinations are sought after by collectors, including interesting and well-known errors.

Coin Checklist

This handy checklist of America's Silver American Eagles will help you begin your collection.


The big and bold Silver American Eagle is America's largest silver dollar. Struck in 99.9% pure silver and 0.1% copper, each coin has a net weight of 1 troy oz. of pure silver. It measures 40.6 millimeters (about 1.6 inches) in diameter, and features a reeded edge (except for a few lettered edge issues).

Ways to Collect

Most people collect the date and mint mark Uncirculated and Proof coins. Proofs were struck in San Francisco from 1986 until 1993, when production moved to Philadelphia. However, this changed again in 2001, when West Point began striking Proof coinage. Philadelphia has struck the Uncirculated versions with no mint mark since the beginning of the series, with West Point taking over in 2001.

To build a quality American Silver Eagle collection it's best to purchase graded coins from a trusted dealer. One of the easiest ways to build your collection is to consider joining Littleton's American Eagle Silver Dollar Club.

Each month, you'll receive a selection of American Silver Eagle dollars to examine for up to 15 days in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Simply pay for any coins you'd like to add to your collection, and return the rest. There's no obligation to buy, and you can stop at any time.

This is a convenient way to see and handle the coins before you buy, and makes a great introduction to the Silver American Eagle series for any collector!

How to Store and Display Your Silver Eagle Collection

A complete Uncirculated and Proof American Silver Eagle collection contains more than 100 coins – a good reason to consider your options for storage and display!

Fortunately, there are several ways to safely store and display your Silver Eagle collection. For the first-time collector, our custom Silver American Eagle Dollar albums for issues 1986-2014 and 2015 to date – may be the easiest and most attractive option. These have labeled spots for each date and mint mark, and hold a complete collection in just two volumes.

However, if you crave freedom and want the other special issues, a portfolio coin album with blank Silver Eagle pages will allow you to tailor your collection however you like.

You could also begin by collecting select dates or issues, such as the first-year 1986 Uncirculated or Proof coins. In that case, direct fit Air-Tite holder and display cases will show off your coins beautifully. And for a sophisticated and stylish method of display, there is always the option of a personal presentation case.

Proper storage is incredibly important – after all, you worked hard on your Silver Eagle collection, and it deserves to be protected and beautifully displayed! Find out more about caring for your coins here.