If you are trying to buy or sell the 1986 American Silver Eagle, you probably know it has a dual value. This coin, also known as the ASE is valuable to numismatic and silver bullion coin collectors. Precious metals coin collectors love this bullion coin because it is composed of 99,93% silver and 0,07% copper.
The 1986 American Silver Eagle value depends on different factors like authenticity, condition, minted quantity, mintmarks, and the current value of the silver. If you set the certification and condition aside the minimum value of this coin is $23.96 as the current silver spot price per ounce. Therefore, even if the declared value of the 1986 Silver Eagle is $1 you will have to pay at least the recent spot price of silver. And that is just the initial price! So far, the highest price of a 1986 Silver Eagle has reached an astonishing $21,150 on an auction in February 2023.
To understand the true value of the 1986 Silver Eagle you need as much information as possible. We have conducted extensive research to help you gather the necessary information. Read on to find out more about this bullion coin’s history, features, and varieties along with a list of factors affecting the coins’ value and a table of some of the most valuable 1986 Silver Eagle coins.
History and Mintage of 1986 Silver Eagle
Released on November 24, 1986, the 1986 Silver Eagle represented the fresh new era of bullion coins in America. At the time of issue, the 1986 Silver Eagle value was around $6.50 to $7 a piece due to the silver’s trading value of around $5.26.
On July 9, 1985, President Ronald Reagan signed the American Eagle bullion coin plan, and in a few months, the final version of the 1986 Silver Eagle designed by John Mercanti was ready. On the obverse side, he revived the walking liberty design of Adolph A. Weinman from the half dollars (from 1916 to 1947) to this silver bullion coin with a nominal value of $1. The reverse side has an original motive portraying a modern heraldic eagle. The following three mints produced the American Silver Eagle:
- The San Francisco Mint produced the bullion Silver Eagle from 1986 to 1998. Also, from 1986 to 1992, the proofSilver Eagle coins were minted here with their distinguish “S” mintmark, and in March 2011 a trial strike of the coin was produced for a later full production preparation. The same year this mint produced an “S Uncirculated” also known as “Burnished Uncirculated” coins (struck on specifically burnished blanks) for the “American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin Set”;
- The Philadelphia Mint produced the bullion Silver Eagle from 1999 to 2000. From 1993 to 2000 the proof Silver Eagle coins with the “P” mintmarks were produced;
- The West Point Mint also produced the bullion Silver Eagle from 1999 to 2000. From 2001 to 2008 the coins with the “W” mintmarks were minted. Two years later (no proof coin versions were produced in 2009), more proof coins with the “W” mintmarks were produced. Uncirculated collectible Silver Eagle coins were produced here between 2006 and 2008, and in 2011 with the “W” mintmark.
While the World Mints had been selling silver bullion-related coins in the early 1980’s the U.S. Mints couldn’t compete because they did not have Congress authorization. Once the Mints received approval from Congress to strike the 1986 Silver Eagles, the coins became an instant hit, and over five million coins were sold only in the first year of the Silver Eagle program presentation.
Main Features of 1986 Silver Eagle
Type: American Silver Eagle
Design: Adolph A. Weinman (front), John Mercanti (back)
Mint Mark: none (bullion), S (proof)
Bullion Mintage: 5,393,005
Proof Mintage: 1,446,778
Face value: $1.00
Metal: 99.93% silver, and 0.07% copper
Total Weight: 1 troy oz. or 31.10 grams
Diameter: 40.6 mm (1.598 inches)
Thickness: 2.98 mm (0.117 inches)
Silver Bullion Value: $23.96 (5/14/2023)
It is easy to recognize the 1986 Silver Eagle coin by the following writings:
- On the front side: LIBERTY – IN GOD WE TRUST –1986, portraying Lady Liberty with the sun behind her;
- On the back side: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – 1 OZ. – FINE SILVER- ONE DOLLAR- E PLURIBUS UNUM(on the banner that the eagle holds in its beak)- MINTMARKS (if applicable), portraying the eagle, shield, banner, and thirteen stars.
Once you know how to recognize the 1986 Silver Eagle you should know the following versions of the coin:
- The 1986 bullion Silver Eagle
This is a well-known investment coin usually sold in 20 coin tubes. If you are interested in buying you can contact local dealers or official providers because you can’t buy them directly from the U.S. Mint. The 1986 bullion Silver Eagles along with the ones from 1994 and 1994 have a higher value than the coins from other years;
- The 1986 proof Silver Eagle
This counterpart of the bullion Silver Eagle was produced at a much lower quantity and can be bought directly from the U.S. Mint. If you would like to own a proof Silver Eagle, you can also try the secondary market where most people buy them.
Generally speaking, the basic difference between the bullion and proof Silver Eagle is that the latter is a numismatic coin with collectible value as opposed to its silver content. The 1986-proof Silver Eagle is very popular among numismatists. Most of them try to gather the entire collection of these coins because they have been issued annually since 1986, except in 2009. If you want to purchase a 1986-poof Silver Eagle, make sure to look for the S mintmark under the left side of the eagle which proves that the coin was produced in the San Francisco Mint. This coin is also called 1986-S ASEs by numismatists and is more valuable than the usual strikes.
Varieties of 1986 Silver Eagle
There are many varieties within the 1986 Silver Eagle series with different populations and prices. These are some of the most popular ones you should be familiar with:
PCGS population of the MS69s: 126;
PCGS price of the MS69s: $100;
PCGS population of the MS70s: 3;
PCGS price of the MS70s: $3000.
PCGS population of the MS69s: 888;
PCGS price of the MS69s: $200;
PCGS population of the MS70s: 93;
PCGS price of the MS70s: $6,850.
PCGS population of the MS70s: 1.
PCGS population of the MS69s: 1;
PCGS population of the MS70s: 480.
PCGS population of the MS69s: 50;
PCGS population of the MS70s: 19.
PCGS population of the MS68: 1.
PCGS population of the MS70: 1.
PCGS population of the MS70s: 50.
PCGS population of the MS70s: 113.
PCGS population of the MS70s: 103.
There is a difference in the value of these 1986 Silver Eagle varieties. So, to have a more accurate insight into the value of these coins check the PCGS Silver Eagle price guide.
List of Factors Affecting the Value of 1986 Silver Eagle
There are many factors affecting the value of the 1986 Silver Eagle that you should take into consideration. Besides the coin’s grade (MS70, MS69…) there is the mintage, condition, and rarity of the coin. To understand why some 1986 Silver Eagles are sold for the spot value of silver, and some are sold for over $10,000 it is important to go over each factor before concluding the value of these popular $1 silver coins. Here is the list of the most common factors that affect the value of the 1986 Silver Eagle:
The mintage of coins is very important when determining its value. The lower the mintage the higher the value due to its rarity. When it comes to the Silver Eagle series the 1986 mintage is not the lowest one. That title goes to the Silver Eagle coins that were minted ten years later in only 3,603,386 examples. However, some knowledgeable numismatists discovered that around 79,000 Silver Eagle coins were minted at the Philadelphia Mint in 2015. Still, if you collect the Silver Eagle coins from every mint location in 2015, then you will realize that the lowest mintage series was in 1996.
2. Condition and Certification
Another factor that works in favor of the rarity and value of the 1986 Silver Eagle is its condition and certification. Most numismatics go for the perfect condition (MS70) or nearly perfect condition (MS69) coins which is natural, knowing that the higher the grade, the higher the value. For example, a flaw in one of the Silver Eagle series in the form of “milky spots” prevented the MS70 grading which significantly decreased the value of the coins. Another important factor affecting the coins’ condition is the toning. There is an attractive (rainbow and gold) toning, and unattractive (black and brown) toning that appear on silver coins over time if they haven’t been stored properly. Naturally, the Silver Eagles with attractive toning have a higher value than the unattractive ones.
Certification is also very important for collectors because it means that the 1986 Silver Eagle is genuine. The certification process has a few stages like receiving, grading, encapsulating, and shipping the coin to the owner. The PSGS, NGS, the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS), and other certification services receive millions of coins yearly to inspect the quality and condition of the 1986 Silver Eagle to put collectors at ease.
3. 1986 Silver Eagle Time Value
This factor seems quite obvious, the older the coin the more valuable it is. If that is the case, then the 1986 Silver Eagle time value has no competition. However, there are particular examples when the time value changes due to other factors like mintage or grading. For example, the 1999 Silver Eagle NGC MS70 has a higher value than the 1986 Silver Eagle NGC MS70. This coin has a higher value in comparison to its older counterpart because there are only a few coins with a perfect MS70 grade in 1999 as opposed to the perfect MS70s from 1986.
4. Supply and Demand
Just like in any other trading, 1986 Silver Eagle supply and demand is an important factor that along with the others determines the value of the coins. The more numismatists demand for a particular type of Silver Eagle the more valuable it becomes. However, let’s not forget the cases when there is not that much demand for the 1986 Silver Eagle but there is not enough supply. Supply and demand go hand in hand with the other factors on our list in determining the final value of the silver coins.
These are not the sole factors affecting the value of the 1986 Silver Eagle but some of the major ones you should take into consideration when buying or pricing your Silver Eagle.
Most Valuable 1986 Silver Eagles from Auctions
It is really difficult to find the “perfect” 1986 Silver Eagles graded MS70 that has no scratches, traces of wear, or contact with other coins. To this date, the Professional Coin Grading Service (PSGS) has graded less than a thousand MS70 Silver Eagles, while the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) awarded just 1.1% of the coins submitted the highest MS70 grade. Comparing this number with the tens of thousands of approved “almost perfect” MS69 Silver Eagles proves once more the rarity and value of the MS70s. According to the PCGS Price Guide the 1986 uncirculated (now called “bullion”) MS70 Silver Eagle’s value is around $1,050. However, such a coin was sold for an amazing sum of $21,150 back in 2013. Unlike the 1986 bullion Silver Eagle, the proof MS70 counterpart is far less hard to get a hold of. Therefore, it can be found for a price of around $350, while the MS69 is cheaper and can be bought for $100. Again there is an exception to the rule because a 1986-S Silver Eagle was sold for $16,115.
As you can see there are many variations in the 1986 Silver Eagle coins’ price. To find out their true value check out our table of some of the most valuable 1986 Silver Eagles from different auctions:
|Grade||Silver caches (SVC)||Firm||Sale||Date||Price|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction||February 2013||$21,150|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2015 August 12-16 ANA U.S. Coins Signature||August 2015||$7,638|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||Houston Money Show US Coins Signature||December 2015||$4,465|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2016 January 6-11 FUN U.S. Coins||January 2016||$3,290|
|MS69PL||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2021 April 22 Modern Collectible U.S. Coins & Bullion||April 2021||$2,400|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2017 February 16-19 Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins||February 2017||$2,056|
|MS70||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2021 June 29 Modern Collectible and Bullion U.S. Coins Showcase||June 2021||$1,920|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2016 September 7-11 Long Beach Expo||September 2016||$1,645|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2017 August 2-6 ANA U.S. Coins||August 2017||$1,645|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2016 September 7-11 Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction||September 2016||$1,528|
|MS70||NGC||Heritage Auctions||Internet U.S. Coin Auction #132131||August 2021||$1,500|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2018 April 25-29 CSNS U.S. Coins Signature Auction||April 2018||$1,440|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2017 September 7-10 Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction||September 2017||$1,380|
|MS70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2017 September 7-10 Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction||September 2017||$1,320|
|MS70||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2018 April 25-29 CSNS U.S. Coins Signature||April 2018||$1,200|
The 1986 Silver Eagle series are one of the most popular ones compared with the later series. That is quite common among collectors because they value the first strikes of a coin. Another plus to its value is the variety of coins within the 1986 Silver Eagle issue. Even though all 1986 bullion Silver Eagles are popular amongst numismatists the MS70s are especially rare, and as you can see from the auction table quite expensive.
The 1986 Silver Eagle $1 coins are very valuable and popular among collectors, especially the extremely rare ones in mint state 70 (MS70). There is a 1986 bullion Silver Eagle and a 1986 proof Silver Eagle produced in one of the three U.S. Mints (San Francisco, Philadelphia, and West Point) as well as other special edition varieties.
To determine the 1986 Silver Eagle value, you have to consider different factors like mintage, condition, certification, grade, and more. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the value of the 1986 Silver Eagle you possess or you try to acquire. Use this information before you buy or sell your precious 1986 Silver Eagle especially if you are new in the numismatic world. Check and compare auction prices and make sure the 1986 Silver Eagle is certified before you start bidding!