On October 29, 1986, then-U.S. Treasury Secretary James A. Baker famously quipped that he didn’t “need a pick and shovel to start the San Francisco Silver Rush of 1986.” Baker was referring to the S Mint Silver American Eagle, which was being struck for the first time that day. This new piece, designed to compete with popular world coins of the day, quickly rose to the top of investment markets and endured to present day as one of the most renowned coin series offered by the U.S. Mint.
S Mint Silver American Eagle History
The Silver American Eagle was initially authorized by the U.S. Congress in Summer 1985 and released by the U.S. Mint the following year. The coin’s first six years of production were carried out at the San Francisco Mint, followed by a seven-year run at the Philadelphia Mint. Eventually, production transferred to the West Point Mint, where the coin is struck almost exclusively today.
Despite this coastal shift, affinity for the original S Mint coins – those struck at the Eagle’s first home in San Francisco – has not subsided. On the contrary, demand has grown dramatically in recent years, leading to S Mint Eagles often being regarded as the U.S. Mint’s premiere proof coin offerings.
The coin’s undeniable appeal has not gone unnoticed. In 2012, the U.S. Mint issued a limited-run reboot of the beloved S Mint Silver Eagles, which were offered as part of a set commemorating the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco Mint’s present-day location.
Re-releasing the S Mint Silver Eagle
Five years later in 2017, the U.S. Mint released two more limited-run series of S Mint Silver Eagles. The first batch was offered as part of the annual “Congratulations Set,” which to that point had only ever included West Point issues of the coin. Later that year, the second batch was released as part of the 2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set.
Enthusiasm for the 2017 S Mint Eagles was so great that the Congratulations Set’s entire 75,000-quantity mintage sold out within two minutes of release!
Hot off the heels of this incredible fanfare, the U.S. Mint is doing it all again with a 2018 release of S Mint Silver Eagles. For the first time since 1992, the coins will be offered as standalone items rather than only coming in multi-piece sets, further adding to their unique appeal and undeniable investment or interest.
Given that the 2018 release is happening in the last half of this year, we expect mintage figures to be relatively low. Such limited availability of a special-release, one-of-a-kind piece, coupled with the exceptionally high demand we’ve come to expect of S Mint coins puts the 2018 issues on track to be truly solid hard asset pieces!
Invest in the 2018 Silver American Eagle S Mint Proof Coin
The United State Gold Bureau is excited to offer our clients the opportunity to get in on the action and add this exceptionally appealing coin to their own investment portfolios. Each 2018 S Mint Silver American Eagle offered by the U.S. Gold Bureau will come in perfect Proof 70 condition, as deemed by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). In addition, each S-Mint Silver Eagle offered through us will be accompanied by a one-of-a-kind certification label hand-signed by former U.S. Mint Director, Ed C. Moy, a unique value-add only available through our firm.
What is the S Mint Mark? - The San Francisco Mint
The U.S. Mint’s San Francisco branch opened its doors in 1854 to service West Coast gold mines during California’s Gold Rush. This new branch quickly outgrew its original building, and after a mere 20 years, moved into its second home in the city. This second location, affectionately dubbed the “Old United States Mint” or “The Granite Lady,” was designed by Alfred B. Mullett, who called on the aesthetics of classical Greece architecture to complete the build. After temporarily shuttering in 1906 because of a fire, the San Francisco Mint operated in this second home until 1937 when it relocated to its third and present-day location, known as “The New Mint.”
For just over a century, from its initial opening to the mid-1950s, the San Francisco Mint produced circulating coins for the American public. In 1955, this duty was halted in a production suspension that would last 13 years. During this time, the Mint was officially deemed an assay office, set up to test the purity of precious metals in support of consumer protection efforts. It wouldn’t enjoy Mint status again until 1988.
Exclusively Minting Proof Coins
In 1968, when production from the 1955 suspension resumed, the San Francisco Mint acquired most of the Proof coin striking responsibility previously fulfilled by the Philadelphia Mint. It simultaneously resumed striking circulating coinage – albeit on a supplemental level – through 1974. In 1975, the San Francisco Mint shifted exclusively to minting Proof coins, a practice that has continued into the 21st century with only two exceptions: the Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979 to 1981) and a portion of the country’s early-1980s U.S. cent coins.
In 2012, the San Francisco Mint began striking “America the Beautiful” series quarters, but these S-Mint issues were released only as collector items.
Because of the San Francisco Mint’s unique and storied history, along with its eventual shift to exclusively producing collector and investment pieces, Proof coins bearing the “S” mint mark are highly sought after today and often viewed as more collectible than other coins.