It is authorized by Title II of Public Law 99-61 (Liberty Coin Act, approved July 9, 1985) and codified as 31 U.S.C. Â§ 5112(e)-(h). Its content, weight, and purity are certified by the United States Mint. In addition to the bullion version, the United States Mint has produced a proof version and an uncirculated version for coin collectors. The Silver Eagle has been produced at three mints: the Philadelphia Mint, the San Francisco Mint, and the West Point Mint. The American Silver Eagle bullion coin may be used to fund Individual Retirement Account investments.
The first American Silver Eagle coin was struck in San Francisco on October 29, 1986. Secretary of the Treasury James A. Baker III presided over the striking ceremony held at the San Francisco Assay Office. According to a Chicago Sun-Times article, as Baker “reached for the electronic button on press No. 105, he turned to the audience and said, ‘I don’t need a pick and shovel to start the San Francisco Silver Rush of 1986.'”
Bullion Silver Eagle coins do not have mintmarks. From 1986 to 1998, they were minted at San Francisco. From 1999 to 2000, they were minted at Philadelphia and West Point. Since 2001, they have been minted only at West Point along with San Francisco supplementing the production.
In March 2011, the San Francisco Mint conducted trial strikes of bullion Silver Eagle coins in preparation for the resumption of full production later in the spring. The added production capacity provided by the San Francisco Mint supplements the output of the West Point Mint.