Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Clearing Up the Mystery...How do I Identify a burnished Silver Eagle?

When the Mint started using burnished blanks and individual, manual hand setting at West Point Mint, there was a built in confusion over what was, and what was not, a burnished coin.

The burnished versions are much lower in mintage than the normal silver eagles, but that doesn’t help in identifying the true burnished coins.
You can make the determination pretty easily:
  1. It must have been struck at West Point, and
  2. It must have the “W” mint mark on the reverse.
Grading companies make it easy for the collector by representing the burnished coins as 2013 W Silver Eagle, or 2012 W Silver Eagle, etc. Those struck at West Point that are NOT burnished are represented as 2013 (W) Silver Eagle, using parens around the W to easily spot the difference. NGC will also use the term “Struck at West Point”, which is NOT burnished, but simply a designation of the mint where it was created.

Burnished coins came out in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013, all from West Point Mint. I also believe that 2011 had some burnished coins from San Francisco Mint, around 100,000. I am not sure the designation using parens around the “S” differentiated the burnished coins from that Mint in 2011, so please be aware to do your homework.

Since the burnished versions are much scarcer, the price is much higher than the standard Silver Eagle. These burnished coins look to be very good investments based on the mintage numbers, so be smart and make sure you buy burnished coins. And start doing it now before they really catch on!
Below are the estimated mintages on burnished Silver Eagles.

Burnished Silver Eagle Mintage Totals
2006 W468,020
2007 W621,333
2008 W533,757
2011 W309,927
2011 S100,000
2012 W230,872
2013 is yet unknown