Origin of Mintage of 2014 – 2017 American Silver Eagles Discovered Through a Freedom of Information Act Request
Since the beginning of production of American Silver Eagle (ASE) coins in 1986, the United States Mint has minted them at their Philadelphia, San Francisco and West Point facilities. Starting in 2001, the U.S. Mint shifted American Silver Eagle production exclusively to West Point. The American Silver Eagle one ounce bullion coin does not contain a mint mark.
Since 1986 the U.S. Mint has produced proof versions of the American Silver Eagle. These coins contained mint marks on the reverse. From 1986-1992 American Silver Eagle proof coins were minted at the San Francisco Mint and contained the mint mark “S”. From 1993-2000 ASE proofs were minted at Philadelphia and contained the mint mark “P”. (In 1995, the U.S Mint created a special ten year anniversary American Silver Eagle Proof at the West Point Mint with the mint mark ‘W”.) Since 2001, proof and various collector versions of the American Silver Eagle have borne the West Point Mint mark “W”.
While the U.S. Mint had intended to mint ASEs exclusively at its West Point Facilities, excessive demand, especially in January of each year, caused a change of plans and the U.S. Mint also produced ASEs at their Philadelphia and San Francisco mints during that period. Because the standard bullion version of the ASE does not have a mint mark, it was impossible to determine at which mint an ASE bullion coin was produced from 2014-2017. Until now.
Coin World Freedom of Information Act Request
Coin World filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the US Mint seeking information on the mintages of ASE bullion coins from 2014 – 2017. The FOIA request also asked for the Mint for the serial numbers used by the various mints on the boxes in which the coins were shipped. The US Mint provided the information to Coin World last month.
While the bulk of ASE bullion coins were struck at West Point, Coin World learned the break down:
2014 San Francisco: 7,025,000 Philadelphia: 0, West Point: 23,450,000
2015 San Francisco: 0 Philadelphia: 79,640, West Point: 46,920,500 (record year)
2016 San Francisco: 4,650,000 Philadelphia: 1,151,500, West Point: 31,900,000
2017 San Francisco: 3,000,000 Philadelphia: 1,000,000 West Point: 5,425,000
The origin of mintage was determined by the notes the US mint provided on the serial number sequences they used to identify shipments from each mint. The 2014 San Francisco minted coins were identifiable by a red band that wrapped each of the boxes of coins shipped from the city by the bay.
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) will provide mint attribution
PCGS and NGC have indicated that they will now provide mint attributions of “S” “P” and “W” for ASE’s that they grade from mint boxes using the mint indentifying information provided by the US Mint pursuant to Coin World’s FOIA request. NGC has also indicated that from 2011-2013 ASEs were also minted at the San Francisco and West Point Mints as they have been able to identify boxes having either a San Francisco or West Point strap. NGC has been unable to determine the mintage numbers of the San Francisco and West Point ASEs from 2011-2013.