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The 10th Anniversary 1995-W Silver American Eagle

Shown here is a 10th Anniversary 1995-W Silver American Eagle Proof. Images courtesy of
Heritage Auctions

It was a single special silver American Eagle and as such, it was expected to attract a lot of attention, but when the 1995-W silver American Eagle was offered, it did not result in the sort of sales which might have been expected. This has resulted in the 1995-W silver American Eagle becoming an extraordinary coin today and one which seems to keep looking better and better with the passage of time.

It was very easy back in 1995 to simply dismiss the 1995-W silver American Eagle as a special coin designed only to separate collectors from their money. During the 10th anniversary in 2005 of the American Eagle silver and gold, a special silver American Eagle was struck at West Point. There were no special activities involving the gold coins and just striking a coin at a different facility is not by definition reason for any special prices or attention.

Under some circumstances, a special 10th anniversary silver American Eagle might have received a bit more attention, but this was 1995. In addition to the regular and proof American Eagles in gold and silver as well as the regular proof and mint sets, it was a year when there were commemorative offerings dropping from the sky or at least filling up every collector’s mailbox.

Adding in yet another special issue was just not likely to get much response from many and that was the problem with the 1995-W silver American Eagle or at least part of the problem. The other part might well have been that, when it hit its 10th anniversary, many collectors were still unsure just what to make of silver American Eagles as a collection. Ten years is not a long time for a coin to be in production or for a program to be in operation as the notion of silver proof sets, for example, took about a decade before many started taking them seriously. In 1995, many were probably just beginning to think that a complete set of proofs issued during the ten years would be a good idea.

Whatever the reasons, the 1995-W 10th Anniversary coin did not exactly set sales records. The total turned out to be 30,125 which is not all that bad for a one-time coin but by the same token, it is far below the potential demand. It is especially below for a silver coin, as we see commemorative silver dollars routinely topping that total by ten times.

The problem (at least initially) with the 1995-W, was the continuing uncertainty from collectors. This particular 1995-W was by far the lowest mintage silver American Eagle. The real question is: did that matter and was anyone attempting to collect silver American Eagles? No matter how low the mintage, if there were no collectors, the price was not going far.

By the late 1990s, the 10th Anniversary 1995-W was up to about $650. For a silver American Eagle, (which were not otherwise even above $100 for the proofs), that was a very strong price. It was just the beginning, however, as by 2002 the 1995-W was at $2,250 and then in 2004, it jumped again to $3,000.

At $3,000, the 1995-W 10th Anniversary coin deserves a second look to consider how far it has come and how far it might still go in price. The first obvious point is that the direction is clearly up for the 1995-W which suggests that interest is growing not only in the 1995-W but also silver American Eagles in general. We see additional proof in the fact that $100 proofs have become $200 proofs also in the past year.

Certainly, to go from $650 to $3,000 in a short period of time suggests very good things for the 1995-W. With very little fanfare it has become the most expensive modern issue passing even the BU Jackie Robinson $5 gold and that takes some doing.

One of the great questions surrounding this particular 1995-W now that it is sitting at $3,600, is what next?

Even without any special attention, silver American Eagles are a somewhat overlooked collection with a lot to offer. After all, they are silver dollars and they are in most cases inexpensive. It does not require a huge flood of interest at the moment to potentially push prices even higher for most dates and the 1995-W has a great position as the key date which is unlikely to change. It may well have even more than normal demand and that could also make it go even higher.

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