The American Silver Eagle is arguably one of the most popular coins in the United States of America. We have spoken about the key American Eagles to collect (Click here for that post) from 1986 to 2014. But the 2015 American Eagle has become one of the most sought after coin now in the last 31 years it has been minted.
The U.S. Mint facilities
Before we go into why the 2015 American Eagle is the most valuable, we need to understand a bit of the general background of the different U.S mints and their functions. There are four U.S. mint facilities; Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver and West point. Fort Knox is also a mint facility but there is no coin production done there. Washington, D.C. mint facility is the U.S. mint headquarters.
The Philadelphia mint is the oldest mint and produces circulating coins, commemorative coins, and the Uncirculated coins with the P mint mark. The San Francisco mint produces Proof coins (sets) and commemorative coins. It doesn't mint circulating coins as of now. Denver mint produces all circulating coins, commemorative coins and the Uncirculated coins with the D mint mark. Denver mint also acts as a storage facility for silver bullion. The U.S. mint in West Point mints all American Eagle Proof and Uncirculated coins in Gold, Silver and Platinum. It also produces 1 oz Platinum and Silver bullion coins.
2015 American Silver Eagle
The American Silver Eagle coins have been released every year from 1986 through this year 2017. The San Francisco mint was the first to mint bullion coins from 1986 to 1999. The West Point mint also produced the coins from 1988 to 1998. From 2001, they have been minted only in the West Point mint. Or so it was thought!
The recent Freedom of Information Act filed by NGC and the Coin World, has brought forth information that the San Francisco and Philadelphia mints have also produced the American Silver Eagle coins between 2014 and 2017. The U.S mint revealed that almost 17 million American Silver Eagles have been minted in Philadelphia from 2014 to 2017, out of which only 79,640 were minted in 2015. The only distinguishing factor for these coins (as they don't sport a Mint mark!) are their 5-digit serial numbers on the green monster boxes beginning with the number 1. The only way to confirm if it is an authentic Philadelphia mint Silver Eagle is to send in one of these sealed monster boxes to a grading service. Once the sealed strap is broken, however, the Silver Eagles become indistinguishable and can no longer be certified authentic.
In the last 31 years, the ASE mint state coins have never been minted in such small numbers. Understandably, the 2015 American Silver Eagles from the Philadelphia mint are really hot now and certified authentic versions are being sold at a premium.